Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Studio Doings

This is my first real piece of finished mixed media work.  It's 12x12 inches on canvas panel.  The color is way more saturated than I'd hoped, but I am learning a lot about layering paint and paper.  I do love acrylics, all the things you can do with them.  I like the solid, finished quality...although, being acrylic, I could keep working it til the day I die.  But I'm moving on.

I had to show you what's happening with my sansevieria trifasciata (Mother in Law's Tongue).  I've been growing these plants (ancestors of this one) for 40 years and I've never had one bloom before.  There are drops of viscous nectar where the flowers branch from their stem, and the whole affair smells faintly like lilac.  What a treat!

About that weekly challenge I was doing, I've lost the inspiration to keep at it so it will be on hiatus until sometime later.  My energy really has drifted away from quilting -- although I have a stack of fabrics selected for Fiberactions' next challenge (reveal July 15), so perhaps that will get me back into my quilting groove.

It is with some amount of guilt that I realize, yet again, that pretty much once I hit my stride with a particular medium, I begin to drift to something else.  I've talked about aspects of this in earlier posts, so it might sound familiar.  The guilt, I think, is because I invest so much of myself into something -- read: so much money, so little of which I have to begin with -- that I feel as though I haven't gotten my money's worth out of that investment before moving on.

I realize that this is just life.  That there's really no way to measure intrinsic value.  And that the money-for-art-supplies-and-tools conversation isn't justified when one is responding to one's soul, one's muse.  Still, I'm just sayin'...

Last summer ecodyeing was my big project.  I still want/hope to do more, but haven't devoted any energy to it recently.  I have a big stack of beautiful ecodyed fabric, some of which I've used in quilts, some of which I've sold.  I have far more rusted things than I'll ever use, things that I accumulated through the end of last year that I'll probably end up giving away next time I move...like so many other art things from past infatuations.

Obviously I'm still not comfortable with the fact that my artistic interests and desires shift so often.  I'm repeatedly left with a residue of incompletion.  I see this factor operating in other aspects of my life as well -- it's hard to make a clean break with a clear conscience.  I'm always wondering whether I could have done more...

But then life intervenes.

14 comments:

Jeannie said...

Your mixed media piece is beautiful. I could look at it for a very long time and still find it interesting. I know what you are saying. When I go into my mess of a sewing room, I think I need to purge. Get rid of the yarns, paints, papers, etc. But then the hummingbird mind kicks in and reminds me that I haven't tried x, y, z. It has gotten worse as I have aged. I wonder if it is because I want to try everything while I still can? You aren't alone and I hope we both find our passions - and soon!!! lol! I hope the sun is shining in your neighborhood.

Els said...

What a great piece you made !
That sanseveria ..... !!!!! Always kind of dull old-fashioned plant ("womens tongues" over here in a not so nice meaning ...) but I've néver éver seen it in bloom ! You must have green fingers Connie ;-)
I think it's okay to shift to some other technique all together from time to time (...ha ! at least that's what I like to do !)

Valerie Kamikubo said...

I can easily relate to much of what you are saying because it applies to many areas of my life as well. It has been hard for me to stay creatively focused in one area (media-wise). Even professionally, I have worked as a hospice nurse, a labor and delivery nurse, and now as a nurse case manager. I like to explore and experiment. I think that it's just the way that I am wired. I seem to be committed to creativity. Period. I like coming here to see what you are working on, and feel blessed by my visits. Thanks for sharing yor explorations. By the way, I never even knew those mother in law's tongues could even bloom!

Meg in Nelson said...

I'm starting to see "moving on" and/or "forgetting" is a talent and a gift.

Sandy said...

It's very rich with the layering.
I've never seen that plant bloom before-way to go. It must like you.
I switch things I want to do too, then come back to earlier ones with a fresh eye.

susan christensen said...

Connie I agree with you about the wonderfullness of acrylic paint! Lately I yearn to paint with oil again, but steer clear for the ol' "costs too much to step into yet another medium" reason (excuse?). The piece above is quite powerful - and I love your saturation of color. -sus

tiedyejudy said...

What I think is that your passion for learning new techniques is never satisfied, and that with each new direction, your overall skill set grows. You bring a lot of those skills into play each time you create a piece of art. Many people stay in just one creative discipline and that's fine if it works for them. But don't beat yourself up for wanting to keep learning and trying! You do beautiful work, and it can't be limited if you aren't satisfied with staying in a nice, tidy little rut. BTW, I still have a tub full of acrylic paint that must be over 15 years old now... leftovers from when I used to paint. Just can't bear to part with it! Go figger...

Rayna said...

Interesting post, Connie. Embrace your multiple talents and keep moving. I have been there/done that and there's nothing wrong with it. I've been through collage, printmaking, surface design, knitting, dyeing, blah blah blah and now I'm back to piecing. Today I unearthed a half-knit sweater from 10 years ago that it's time to finish. The truth is that nothing gets lost - it is all part of you and what you do in one medium shows up in another. Why you have a guilty conscience about this is beyond me! The "finish what you start" routine we were all brought up with doesn't wash with me. More to my liking from the pir ke avot "you are not required to finish the task, only to begin it.'
xo

Jan said...

Lots of wise words here. I love your mixed media piece--it's so rich in every sense. And those flowers! Wow and wow!

I don't have much to add, except this: you are to me that explorer, that pioneer who forges ahead, and in doing so inspires me to do the same. Not the same art, but the same attitude. No room for guilt--it all comes together....or not....but it's all part of you as an artist....your artistic expression.

xo,
Jan

Jan said...

Just had a thought: lots of circles in your work, which makes me think of:
1. the spiral of life: we come round to the same thing, but with a slightly different perspective.
and
2. the way we can circle, and come back again. Not in a negative sense of returning to where we started, rather that we return to ourselves--our true selves.

Paper Chipmunk (aka Ellen) said...

Is there not anything more magnificent than a blooming Mother-in-Law Tongue? I have a few that bloom every year, and for the fleeting few days those white flowers are open giving off that heavenly scent, it fills me with such joy. I'm so pleased for you and your plant.

I think a desire to flit around to new creative pursuits just goes with having a creative and exploring mind. I feel guilt too for winding up with supplies I wind up not using. But I also know deep down that it all fuels a general creative urge that ultimately is "my work," whatever that continues to evolve to be. It's all learning. (I know you know that too... just saying... I guess that every other creative type I know has a similarly acquisitive bent and it comes with the territory?)

When you mentioned that beautiful eco-dyed fabric, I found myself thinking "book cloth"... ;-)

Margaret Cooter said...

The mixed media piece is Lookin' Good -- and who knew that sanseveria blossoms could be so wonderful?

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Connie. Looks like you have a good discussion going on here. I like the idea of spiraling, too. I have found that everything one does contributes in some way to one's artistic work/play/life. I've tried to "control" the urge to learn new things...hmf! how well does that work? I started blogging instead which took on an artistic aspect anyway. It's like a small balloon that you try to compress in your hand and it always pops out someplace. On the other hand, I don't think "Challenges" are for everybody. I find the idea of a challenge interesting, but, I don't find them particularly interesting to do.....and your mixed media piece is so beautiful. No wonder you're tempted in that direction.
best, nadia

frazzledsugarplummum said...

I have always loved that plant. I can just remember the scent from some blooming plants about forty years ago. Lingering.