Saturday, December 22, 2007

You can't hurry art

After a couple of futile days in the studio, I gave up and stopped trying to force things. I Christmas-shopped and gift-wrapped, watched a couple of movies with my husband, and curled up next to the cat to do some reading (Dorothy Hamill’s autobiography, and a fascinating new biography of Louisa May Alcott and her father called “Eden’s Outcasts”). Got my mind off of art for a few days.

Then yesterday I returned to the studio, and everything was back in the groove again! My brain was clear, my hands and my attitude felt relaxed. At first I put together a real clunker of a collage. But this time, rather than obsessing, I calmly moved on and made a nice one, then another nice one (pictured above and below).

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I am really enjoying working on these small ready-made stretchers and cradled boards. They are like sketchbook pages, really, a chance to try different combinations without the pressure and commitment of working big. And it’s SO nice not to have to stop and stretch a canvas, once I’m all warmed up. Now I can just grab a ready-and-waiting surface and run with a new idea.

So the lesson here is, if the art thing isn’t happening, you can’t force it. Sometimes the best thing to do is stop and come back when your Muse is ready. Not that you should quit just because a work of art isn’t going your way; often, pushing through a bad patch yields unexpected and amazing results.

But if you’re honestly trying and trying and nothing is happening, maybe a change of pace or a change of scenery is just the ticket.

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