This is a wordy post while I reset what I’m doing, so apologies in advance.
I’m sure everybody gets them. The project that just won’t gel, that you really aren’t enjoying.
Mine at the moment is ‘Break’. I’ve thought about embossing and collagraph, I’ve tried drypoint and monoprint (not good - I’m not showing the results). I can’t make the artwork and then digitally print because it needs to be lined up perfectly on both sides of the paper and I can’t make my printer do that accurately.
Sometimes you just have to give up and move on.
And deciding to do that made me consider the rest of the work I was struggling with.
I think part of the problem is that at the beginning of this new normal I grabbed at loads of projects to keep myself busy. Deadlines made me go and do in the studio (I’ve upgraded the back bedroom!).
The trouble is I’ve started to work back to front. Grabbing at a theme or title, deciding on a structure and how an end product should look and just heading straight for it. For some things this works but as a general way of working it has left me feeling stale and uninspired.
So I’ve decided I need to slow down, play and explore materials and imagery more, and let the artwork dictate what the end product will be. I also need to select and set manageable goals for some of the things I had lined up and let the rest go. I’ve chosen four.
I’ll carry on with ‘Isolation,’ eventually, although it is suffering from the same problem as ‘Break’. I’ll leave it alone for a week or two and then I’ll rethink but I’m considering the idea of the medieval garden, an enclosed place of beauty, order and sanctuary surrounded by the wildness of the surrounding forest.
‘An inch a mile’, a NWBA group project, needs blocking out to show when the ships were at sea, by various coasts or on land, so that’s some rereading of notes and stitching markers onto the rolls of fabric for later use. That will make a good counterpoint to the exploratory play that I want to do.
And the final project I’m going to carry on with is the next NWBA theme which is ‘Collect’. This is the one to start experimenting with. I’m going to use museum collections as a springboard (though it might morph into working from collections of objects from round the house if I want to work from life). I have images that I’ve taken over the years in various museums that I can work from. At least if I can’t go out it’s a good excuse for working from photos.
I’ve been reading Shelly Rhodes Sketchbook Explorations which has inspired me, although I won’t actually be using a sketchbook. I find new books inhibiting and a book with a few good pieces in it even more so. I also like to spread things out and be able to see different things side by side as they develop. But I will begin by working on standard sized paper (I’m starting on A5) with a view to possibly binding them after the fact. I’ll give myself a fortnight to focus mainly on this project and then see where I am.
A new start?