Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What are you doing?

My mother calls me every weekday morning and that is always the first question she asks. The first words out of her mouth. I rarely answer. I often say I am messing around on the computer (blogging). I don't say I'm blogging, however. My mother is in her 80s and that would require a long explanation.

My mother is supportive of my artwork (unlike many others I know) and I try to remember to show her pictures, but I don't often give out details. I would then have to give her a long explanation.

My husband often asks me, "What did you do today", when he gets home from work. I really don't want to give a long explanation. Perhaps if I did explain my work to people, it would give it some validation, and often I don't feel that it should be validated. If so, I would have to take it seriously. If I took it seriously, I would be forced to put it out in front of more people. That would increase my chances of having people say, bluntly, that it sucks.

I could say that my hours of computer surfing are research. Then that would lead to a long explanation. And in my explaining, I might just realize that I am goofing off and not working.

I am not sure how other artists, fiber artists in particular, go about researching for their work. I guess I've been lead to believe that artist just create. We are moved. We are inspired. We take a walk through nature and go into our studios and create. We create -- we are gods. Or we just doodle -- we are mice. I guess there is an inbetween and I am there.

As I said in my last post, I'm slowly going to finish the little bird pieces. The inspiration (whatever) that came about to create the Sweet Songs of Birds series has morphed into something else. I suppose it could have been more inspiration. Music maybe? Or maybe it is that time of year when I think of places I would like to travel. Maybe that huge full moon the other day. Perhaps it is a whole gumbo of different things where one idea cannot be isolated from the whole mess.

I think it is the New Orleans cycle. I go visit, and then I am refreshed. My body returns to central Pennsylvania, while less corporeal parts of me remain behind. Perhaps I don't notice that something has been left behind, at least for several months. There seems to be a time, at about nine months after my last visit, that the parts of me all need to join up again. I start thinking about the next trip. In between visits, however, is a love-hate relationship. I think of the bad smells. I think of the crime. I tell myself I don't love it anymore. This works for a few weeks. Then the sighs begin. The sluggishness. The need to go back and prove that I can live without it. Which I can't.

All of this thinking about it has lead to to want to create something about New Orleans. I do not do realism. I can't. I'm just not that good of an artist. I have to rely on color and emotion. So where do I start? I don't want to do anything depressing. Of course, there are depressing things about New Orleans. The homes not fixed, the hospitals not fixed, the crime. So, now I find myself wanting to do some research. I am feeling that my research is just an excuse not to go into the studio. Maybe it is. I don't want to do anything about flooding, although I don't think I can completely ignore that. There are some great blogs about the city that I have been going through. I have my ever-growing New Orleans book collection that I have been going through. There are some movies and uTube bits that I need to see. Am I just avoiding?

What do other artists do to prepare for working? Is the avoidance we (I) feel really avoidance? Is there a quiet time before the storm? Is blogging research? Are we really allowed to stare at the ceiling?

And to top it all of, I now have to run some errands. Better not avoid that. Especially since the temperature is going to drop into the single digits by tomorrow.


paula said...

i feel like when people ask that they are either being polite or want to be entertained. regardless of who they are...if they knew you they would KNOW. (i'm sure you husband isn't just being polite though :)
try pandora, you can teach it to know what songs and music you like and it will give you unlimited inspiration. (i have it on my sidebar showing recent songs i've dug)
yes, you can stare at the ceiling. you can do whatever you want and know that is is sewing (ha) seeds for future work. i'm interested in hearing you talk about new orleans more...how there is something there but you aren't sure how you will incorporate that into your work. i say it for myself too...try to allow yourself to be curious and not condemn the process. it takes a lot of space both in your head and your life to get to new places in creativity. you have to allow it time to gestate and incubate).

personally i dont think you are avoiding...and if you are, so what. sometimes we just aren't ready. you have to know when its time to dive off of the high dive. you have to prepare in whatever strange way you do. you wouldn't be thinking, feeling, or experiencing this if there weren't something going on. hows THAT?!

Nellie's Needles said...

Whew! I think Paula just said it ALL.

It sounds like it's incubation time and you'll know when, or if, you're ready to take the dive. You are committed to no one but yourself.

Steve Buser said...

It is amazing how the story and soul of New Orleans is flung all across the U.S. these days.