Thinking as the Precursor to Doing.
I seem to be becoming a master of wasting time. The November-December days of “list-building,” coupled with the allure of the vapor-thin chance that something on someone’s list will show up in one of the changes-every-hour-over-the-next-seven-days sales at Amazon, make it all too possible to while away hours–hours that really could be better spent. And yet the list-building… there are aspects of that I love. We have maybe odd holiday traditions, and certainly ones that have been drawn in as scenarios have changed. But there are lists of ideas. And though there are always “things,” there are also often “things to do,” which really boils down to creative elements. I noticed in recent weeks how everything I gravitated toward was pointing me in one direction — the blank page.
A few times, I wanted to reach out to the CMP group at Facebook and ask… what makes your list? What should be on a creative list for an artist? I am one of those people (and it is a large crowd, I know) for whom a gift of a “pen” is always a wonderful choice. I think that may have been true for ever and always. So many pens and pen packs rose to the top. Pens for sketching and graphic noveling. Pens in color, shockingly, because of some vague and meandering sense that there will be color in the new year, at the very least in some new determination to get the words down, the use a calendar again, and to be more committed to my design book, which I used to document my quilting, too. And then, of course, specialty pens… the limited edition of one fountain pen is a great green? I built a list based that was constantly debated and pruned for price. But in doing so, I considered and thought about many things… I wonder about the Copic multiliners that have replaceable tips. I wonder about inks I know others use (like Doc Martin). I considered x, y, and z. It is fun… simply considering. It is, without a doubt, the only way I window shop.
And then I turned to books. The line of creative journaling and sketching books continues to explode, and there were many that caught my eye. My experience is that books don’t always pan out to be exactly what I want or need. Maybe I am not sure exactly what it is I want and need. But there are differences in what makes the perfect/most useful/most inspiring book for sketchers compared to drawers compared to multimedia artists compared to journalers. For this reason, I find it is hard to put books sight unseen onto a “wish” list.
After looking at reviews of many books online, I managed to locate a few at the library. I hesitated to bring them home and really “look” at the one that did make my list in case I do receive it. But I quickly skimmed (really quickly flipped through) the three that were waiting when we picked up books yesterday from the ‘reserve’ shelf. Two are ones I think I need and want. One, on the other hand, I think I will look through and be happy to have borrowed it. One thing I know for sure… I am susceptible to falling for a book based on its cover, and that can be a mistake!
(Here are a few you might look into, depending on your interests and where you fall in the journal to art book spectrum. Really, it is about what inspires you and what you enjoy doing/making right now! I put Danny Gregory’s new book in this list, too, though it is a memoir.)
(I’ve got suggestions for you quilters, too! And, having just read a fabulous memoir, I looked through a great set of memoir and autobiography titles.)
I will admit there are some other odd creative things that I think need to be brought into my new year. I made a much-delayed trip to the dentist a few days ago (with expectedly not-so-good results), and as I told the dentist that did my cleaning, we simply have to just write off this last year. It’s been a wash! That sense is even more profound when it comes to my creative self. The year has been a wash.
But when I look up at my wall, I see the ‘leaf’ quilt I made for ’42.’ Nothing I have ever made has intrigued me more in seeing it finished and hanging. It has such movement to it, that I sometimes look at it and think about the process of it and the vision of it and the symbolism of it. The ’43′ is very vague in my head. A few pieces have been made along the way, and I have had a large piece laying out for a while that needs to be ironed and prepared so that I can have it ready for ongoing work. I need to cut a stack of applique pieces as well. I think there is something to these private year pieces.
While I can say the year has been a bit of a “creative wash,” there have been many things made, and many things are in progress. Two quilts for the boys are nearing completion, both original, both wildly different from each other, both very cool. There have been many points at which I have wanted, desperately, to begin again, begin anew. There were moments where I thought certain things would come into being, chief among them a zine. But what I am feeling right now is that I need to return to the page. But what struck me in recent days is that I keep thinking a lot about returning to the page and looking at things related to returning to the page… instead of “doing it.” But maybe the thinking needs to come first. I am buying myself a bit of time in looking at it that way.
And, I should clarify… the sketchbook is not blank. Maybe a waste is different than a wasteland. I am hard on myself, and so the year, as a lump sum, seems to have been sleepy. But there are many full pages. I have confused my direction by trying to solve a cartoon vs manga debate in terms of my own approach. I like one better. But at the same time I think one is more fitting more me and my story. I think I stalled myself in trying to sort it out. And then there is the reality that I still can’t render body and position the way I want. I really need to make a plan, practice, and train — without worrying about getting the story down for now. Just train the poses and positions. Where will the story go? Those colored pens will be put to good use, as will stacks of 4 x 6 cards, handy plastic boxes and plastic dividers, and so the spiral goes. Just pipedreaming my way through these weeks, maybe. Or maybe something will come of this thinking.
So this post seems to beg the question… what makes your creative list this year? Care to share?
(You notice my recent posts have no photos? What’s up? Camera is in the glove compartment of the new car that I had to buy and now rant daily about my 14mpg average! You can see how things go. If I wait to get a photo with the post, the post won’t happen!)