Sunday, June 22, 2014

Finding Inspiration

It would seem I've been doing the same thing for quite some time now. I'm in the middle of my portrait series of Jazz Legends (which will be posted over the next few months), and my mind is wandering to what's next...

And truth is, I have no idea. I feel like I'm getting near the end of my current series, and while I've been working a bit on my non-objective work, I really don't know what's coming. I think I might need to take a bit of down time... let my brain lie fallow, so to speak.

Over the years I've been following a few artists who are well known in the world of art journaling. I find them inspiring. If you are not familiar with art journaling, take a look at the work of Orly Avineri or Erin Faith Allen... its pretty wonderful. Or Julianna Coles... really raw and intimate. It's a different kind of art. A lot of it is stream of consciousness and a mix of images and words. And all of it is made without judgement and is extremely personal. The point is (I think...) to help the artist get to a place where their work is truly authentic. With so much art constantly available to compare ourselves to, that is no easy feat.

I've tried art journaling a few times over the years. I have filled one little 10 page book, which took over a year, and started a second, which has one page half completed. It's not that I don't enjoy doing it, it's more that I have had this overflowing store of ideas that I wanted to get out, and my studio time was extremely limited. I have what I call my little "playbooks", but they are not exactly the same thing. I pick up children's board books at my local goodwill, sand and gesso the pages, and use them for anything and everything. I try out new techniques, new tools, new combinations of media. (The other day I poured rubbing alcohol on a page that had acrylic under oil pastel, just to see what would happen. The answer? A puddle of mud. But now I know). Even that I don't really have a lot of time for. It's more of an "I only have half an hour so I'll work in my book" kind of thing.

But things are changing for me... I now have a reasonably large inventory of paintings to choose from when I find a exhibit or juried show I want to apply for. I don't have to panic that I don't have enough work to fill a booth at an art fair. As my husband regularly points out, I could sell half my inventory and we'd still have work on every wall in the house. It would seem that right now, for the next couple months anyway, I may have some time to just play.

So, I am committing to this: apart from my ongoing Legends series (for which I have set myself a schedule and a deadline), I am not going to focus on producing. I am going to try a bunch of new stuff that may or may not work. I will write about it, and I will take pictures, which may be ugly. In fact, I'm pretty sure they'll be ugly. I'll post them anyway. I'm going to try to start a journaling practice, if only to discover if it's valuable for me. I'm going to take at least one class. And I'm going to find out what's next.