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operaOur chat on my mad colour schemes made me think of this old draft that I began a year ago. The talk turned more towards doing a variety of things, which we’ve also discussed before, rather than what I intended: a wide variety of styles. (actually I’ve now realized that my colour issues are all about the yarn, but more about that on Wednesday).

Frances mentioned how in her experience artists and crafters fall into two categories, the ones who do things by the book and have a limited repertoire, but do it well, and the ones that just want to experiment because they get excited about it all.

I see it mostly in my photo blog I guess, since I have too little time to produce all the paintings and textiles that I think up. I’ve been trying to find something new and different for each day’s post, which is the complete opposite of making an exhibition for instance, where you’d want a common thread either on the colour side or the method used or the topic. You just don’t put a photoreal seascape next to an abstract in red and gold unless you’re a very happy amateur (or very famous possibly). Most people develop a style when they’ve been at it long enough.

Question is, if I ever will, when I keep flirting with all sorts of things? Or is that, in fact, the only way to find it? There are some things I don’t do much, such as portraits and cities; nature, weather and animals are at least a reasonably constant inspiration. So is that narrow enough? Some really awesome photographers do nothing but mountains all their lives – but I just can’t ignore all the other pretties. MotherOwl, Raquel and I have been talking about working in a spiral, both in practical terms as well as personally, and if that is what comes naturally, don’t fight it. But can you tame it?!

Otoh I do want to be proud of what I’m making, and guess this is where I stumble. I spoke to Dre about mastery vs. project completion, and I think I want the skill more right now, than a collection of finished canvases (I haven’t got anywhere to store them anyway!) – but eventually I do want to have something to show for myself. You may have noticed it on the blog, I fling all sorts of ideas at you and show the materials but then you never hear of it again.

So if I want to keep doing all the things, why do I also keep coming back to feeling like I need some kind of plan? Birdie thinks it’s probably wise to make certain choices, my next thought is, perhaps my choices would sort themselves once I had a chance to work a little bit with everything and some ideas would end up exhausting themselves pretty quick? How are you to know which ones burn the brightest as long as they’re only in your head? Just beware the lure of new things, they can become a form of procrastination when you are addicted to learning as I am. Sometimes I even know that they are, but I let them take up a bit of space anyway. This kind of awareness I’d like to cultivate and act on more.

I was going to try out another way of getting the painterly juices flowing: Putting myself in a box. The idea is, if you limit your options, you are forced to find a solution and work on it, instead of being overwhelmed by all the choices in the entire universe. Paint only horses for a year. I just never get around to it. A way to limit yourself is not by topic or colour, but by medium. No drawing, collage, watercolour, stamping, just acrylics. And simply not even look at what everybody else is doing with those other media. As Birdie has also mentioned, things like Pinterest is truly a blessing in disguise. You can spend all day looking at pretty things and not MAKE a single one.

I don’t know if it’s in my nature to stay in a box at all for any length of time, or if I’m simply avoiding the long haul out of sheer laziness. See? Now we’re back to talking THINGS, not styles. How did that happen?!

I had a dream recently where I was in a theater, and to get to my seat I had to go through a passage so narrow it seemed impossible to squeeze through and not get stuck (in fact it got tighter as I tried, that’s a recurring dream theme). So I wandered around trying other routes, eventually ending up at a row of seats but my ticket number was not on any of them! When I woke up it was still very vivid, and I began to wonder if I really should have chosen the option of fighting my way through the tight door, and what the result would have been. (all the while my darker side suggested this was proof that I simply don’t have a place in the theater of life, but I’m choosing to ignore that interpretation) If this had happened in real life – what would I have done? If I had slowed down, examined the tight space instead of rejecting it? Would I have given up on finding my seat altogether or walked through every single one, checking them? Just sat down until someone else claimed that particular chair?

Perhaps it will solve itself, as I mentioned last week and above, if I have the luxury of working on 25 skyscapes without setting back everything else for 3 years. Could be just the massive backlog clamouring for attention. This week is vacation, which means I have to be available to make or supervise house repairs and stuff. And, you know, talk. I have high hopes for next week…. 😉

And I’d like to point out, I AM having fun and I’m not worried. I just think a lot. And I want to optimize my time. 🙂 As well as go with the flow….

I think I’ll have to go though all the old posts and comments and write myself a summary instead of bringing this up repeatedly. It ties in pretty well with my Focus/Intention keyword too!

Incidentally, yesterday as I was done walking the dog and shopping after my garden adventure, I had to have a nap and then to wake up again sat myself to browse the book I won from Quinn McDonald “Inner Hero”. My recent pains had been keeping me from concentrating on it, but they’re on a break for now, most of them. I quote from the introduction:

“Most comments your inner critic makes will encourage you to start something new, take a break or get serious about your lack of talent or creativity by swiitching from one medium to another (I don’t know if that’s the only reason one switches, though)….This book is about sitting down with your inner critic and calmly listening, deciding on your truth and then replying to your inner critic with a strong voice of conviction that honors your creativity….. [it] assumes your creative cup is not full. (well, ahem…) If your creative cup is already full, then one more idea, one more project will cause it to overflow and lose content…. I wrote the book for anyone who strikes sparks of light and wants to fan sparks into a flame.”