2016 About Face

Greetings and Happy New Year! 2017 is here and I am very happy and optimistic about this year.

January of 2016 I decided to offer drawing lessons. This went very well. I revisited my main love: drawing from life. Consequently, I didn’t get much textile art made in 2016.

In November 2016, after returning from a wonderful trip to Europe; visiting Amsterdam and Vienna….I was inspired to paint! I have been slowly gearing up for this for quite some time. This time I made a decision that was huge. I decided to step back from my textile and mixed media art practices and redefine my goals to set a new and clear focus.

The initial decision was quick; however, the process of realization was gradual.

First I cleared a space to paint in my studio away from everything else. My studio is fairly large. While I was sitting in the far off corner working away, I noticed all the remaining room lined with filled storage bins of various art things; mostly fabric. Even though I have trimmed down my stash over the years quite a lot, I still have plenty. Now I realize I will gradually become aware of what to keep and what to pass along.

Now, this is not to say I have stopped sewing! That just isn’t possible…is it?

Hopefully my new adventures with painting will appeal to my readers. The adventures are happening now and I am happy to be learning new things.

Carmel, 11 x 14"

Actually, I am learning a lot more about what was happening in my artist life schedule because now I have another reference point.

I now realize that while I was making art…textile art and mixed media, I was extremely distracted. I called it being spontaneous, inspired, diverse, curious, multidimensional. Yes, I was in all of those modes and that results in one thing: NOT HAVING A FOCUS.

Teaching was a huge distraction, especially writing for online teaching! The amount of thought, energy, planning that I put into it was tremendous! I loved it and I did receive validation; however, I was distracted from the main point of: MAKING MY ART.

Once I began to paint, I could realize all of these distractions.

For me, painting is completely different from making textile art and mixed media; it is instant. My brain embraces and processes the results immediately; I am gratified and challenged quickly. Sewing is not fast; it is tedious, labor intensive and time can spread out endlessly.

It may sound as if I am criticizing sewing…the making of textile art. On the contrary, I love sewing, I love working with fabric the tactile satisfaction, the handling of the fabric, the beauty as it develops.

When I am sewing my brain is on task but also I am thinking of a zillion other things I could make …once I finished the current project or stopped.

Conversations with fellow painters enlightened me. They revealed that they would never consider working with textiles….why? Because they did not have the patience. Hmmm….patience was not something I had considered. I had to think more about that.

Making textile art does require an investment of time. But, I did not think of it as having patience. I merely KNEW the pace and accepted it. In contrast, a painting is just as complex yet I have been able to execute much faster. But, is speed the primary element and desire? No! Rather, satisfaction.

The elements I use to paint are the same. It is the process that is faster. Pure and simple: I am enjoying the freedom and the faster pace of painting. It is refreshing and fits my brain (mind).

One observation I received about a painting of mine was how I captured “texture”. Really? That is interesting and makes sense. I guess my experience with fabric and textiles will reveal in new ways.

The main point of this is to have a FOCUS.

My focus has freed me. My thoughts are simplified as well as my routine. It goes like this:

Set up:

  1. A big drafting table with painting supplies on it.
  2. An easel and chair is next to the table.
  3. I have several sets of painting clothes to wear.
  4. I have references from magazines, and other sources for inspiration.

Daily

  1. Paint in the morning for about 2 hours
  2. Lunch
  3. Paint for a few more hours.
  4. Exercise
  5. Shower
  6. Dinner
  7. Rest
  8. Reflect for the next day

Now, some days I have appointments and other things like housekeeping. And, then there is travel.

TRAVEL

Yes, travel now has become such a pleasure. Now that my life is simplified I can calmly prepare and look forward to traveling. I can actually pack ahead of time. In the past invariably I would have tremendous pressure with art to finish, prepare another lesson, finish a binding, write a new chapter in a course. I have been sewing down to the wire on (too) many occasions. I wasn’t able to predict how much time to allow, how much time to add on to “get it right”.

I love all the art I made though!

I am much happier with my new life style. Simplifying isn’t SIMPLE! You must STOP and assess.

I was ready. I am glad I finally found my FOCUS.

Here are two of my recent paintings

Kristina, 9 x 12" Isabella, 12 x 12"

As you can see, I like women’s faces.

I would love to hear your feedback on this topic: Having a Focus

Can you relate? Please leave comments.

 

 

 

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