Sunday, December 14, 2014

And The Artist Says: OOH! That Looks Like Fun....

As many know, I have to spend time daily lying on the bed because of my illness. As Adrian Monk was fond of saying, "It's a blessing and a curse." I often use the time to process some of my photography backlog, catch up on emails, or simply lie with my eyes closed and rest my brain. But, I also find myself exploring new ideas for art creations.

Researching new ideas in itself is not a problem, but if you don't know your limits, you will find yourself trying too many things, and becoming overwhelmed. Some artists are quite happy doing one thing, be it watercolors, making jewelry, or any other medium. But many artists, and I'm one of them, like to explore as many possibilities as possible. And the Internet for us can be like drugs to a junkie - one site gives you ideas, leads to another site where details are given, then off to another site where the beautiful creations beckon you to jump in and pursue this unique opportunity. Often we who are tempted that way are the ones who find interesting things on the street, whether it's manmade or produced by nature, and can't throw them away. So we have stacks, jars and drawers full of stuff. We just know we are going to use it!

Now true, we often do. But lately I find that I am having to take a hard look at all of my resources. I have a very small studio, and I am now tripping over things. Personally that's not good for me because I have balance issues, but globally it's a killer of creativity. So, I have had to sit down and study and think just where I want to go. I've been sifting through the stacks, asking myself "Am I REALLY going to use these particular papers? Do they appeal to me? How long have I had them and have just been moving them around? How much space are they taking up?" Those questions apply to many things, not just papers.

A couple of years ago, I was doing one type of art and it led me to another, which I have found more fulfilling. But I've kept everything from the early days. Now I'm realizing that even if I wanted to, I am truly NOT going to do everything, and honestly, some of the styles no longer hold any interest. And I realized all of this was causing me anxiety. It was time for a paradigm shift.

Going slowly through the "collections", I have a set of questions:

Does this (paper, item, tool, object) really appeal to me?

Do I even like this paper, item, tool, object?

When was the last time I used this paper, item, tool, object or something similar?

Is pursuing this going to give me satisfaction in the creation?

Is pursuing this going to cost more than I can really afford, when other supplies are needed for present projects?

Am I attaching sentimental value to it and that's all?

Can I reuse things I already have, for something similar to a great idea I've found, and make it my own without spending more money? And creating more stacks?

Who else can use this?

That last question helps you move on, because once you know of someone, or some organization,  give them a call or send them an email. You're now committed! Do this part as soon as possible. It doesn't mean you will never pursue something new, but it means you are using your time wisely and when the new form of creating becomes insistent, you will clear other things out again, so that you can start with nothing impeding your excitement (or tripping you as walk through your studio!)

I'd love any feedback!


  1. I went through this kind of evaluation before I started oil painting again. Oil painting is what I decided on and have been painting again for a year now. I gave away a lot of other art supplies to others because I made that decision. I still want to try paper mache so have hung onto those supplies. Its hard to make these decisions but I felt and feel better about doing it.

    1. That's encouraging to me to keep going! And yes, it is hard, but so worthwhile.
      Thanks for the comment and the encouragement, and I hope you have many happy days of painting ahead of you. :)

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