Thursday, December 20, 2007


There was a discussion on one of the lists to which I belong: struggling to create something that is in your head. This is related to the "crap quota" (aka you have to kiss a lot of frogs) that we were talking about in a previous post. EVERYBODY struggles. I have had a piece on my wall for months; I keep rearranging it, taking digital pictures of it, and rearranging it again. By now, I think I have lost it entirely - but I might look back at my photos to see if anything I rejected strikes me again. A well known, admired, respected artist whose work is simply beautiful wrote a long and frank post about her ongoing struggle to create a piece she sees so clearly in her head: nada, niente, rien, zip, zed. It isn't happening. Well known, exceptionally talented, she has the same creative angst as the rest of us when it isn't working. Some pieces will never get made...and others will get made but just miss by THAT much, the concept or vision you had before you began. For ten years I knew I wanted to make a piece about a particular subject. I tried umpteen times to find a way - and finally, it got made. I'm not entirely satisfied with it - but I AM done. It is time to move on, satisfying or not. No pictures tonight. I am working on stuff I don't want to publish at the moment - and anyway, I left the card reader for my Nikon in the office. Grrrr. So, having imbibed 47 gal of chicken soup with ginger and hot peppers, and an equal amount of echinacea tea, I will go to bed and sleep all those antioxidants off. Tomorrow, I will feel swell. I will go take my daughter to the doctor, to the supermarket, and then I will take myself to a holiday get-together of all the Franklin St. Studio artists.


Russ Little said...

Your comments touch on several issues for me. I find that I’m most satisfied with work that I allow to evolve. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve set out to create a specific image, object, meal, event, whatever and it turns into something else. The more I assess the final product against the initial plan, the less it's able to stand on it's own and the less I'm able to appreciate it for what it is.

I try to think of my art as collaborative. No matter what I make, I’m creating in partnership with The Creator, whom you can label God, muse, inner child, universe, nature, whatever works for you. I recognize (usually well after the fact) that when I tense up and get frustrated with the way my work is turning out it’s because I’m trying too hard to be the only one in control.

That’s just the way that I think about things. I too take pictures, sketch, audition fabric, walk away, get frustrated, and yes I have pieces that I would use as dust rags if they weren’t so damn ugly! Maybe it’s a cop-out, but I feel that in the end I have to look at what I produce and say “I set out to say something about X, and this is how it turned out today.”

Gerrie said...

I hope you are feeling better,my dear. I am! I never really worry that I can't create what I had in my mind as long as something interesting emerges from my attempts. I don't usually have anything very concrete unless I have done a detailed sketch, which rarely happens any more.

Be careful out there.

TALL GIRL said...

Rayna, I am 100% in agreement with Russ. My work is a collaboration between what I envision for it and what actually happens when I relinquish control to the muse, higher power or even the dog! In other words, getting out of my own way.

I too, have had pieces that fermented in my brain for months, and then turned out entirely different, or the best yet, went in a totally different direction. In the end, I loved it.

And maybe the piece of struggle is serving it's purpose. Maybe it has to do no more, but hang there and remind you to surrender.

Hope your head clears literally and metaphorically and magic appears on your design wall, soon.

Anonymous said...

I recently finished a piece of work that had been in my head for five years. During that time of thinking and making mock-ups, walking, talking about it with others, taking yet another class, etc, it finally came together, and went together fairly easily. Is it like the original idea? No, it is better. Every one who has seen it thinks it is grand. MaryAnn

Shirley Goodwin said...

I find it impossible to reproduce what I have in my head, so I'm like Gerrie - go with what I CAN do.

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