June 13, 2011

Focusing on Focusing

I've just realized I'm not all that great at working on more than one project at a time.  I really want to be able to do it, to be the type of artist who has several things "on the go" at any given time. But it seems I have a hard time even managing a couple of different linocuts and the sketches for a third and the prep work for just a few pieces in a show.  But wait! Isn't having a full-time job, and looking after a house and garden, and a dog and cat, and a family (aging parents included), AND trying to squeeze in some creative time, basically a case of working on different projects all at once.  And I seem to be doing all that reasonably well. So maybe it's not that I'm not good at the many projects thing, maybe I'm just not good at too many many projects.  Maybe I have a limit. 

Or maybe this preamble ramble is just an attempt at rationalizing why this latest print of mine, Sentinel 2, didn't turn out to be anything like what I had in mind when I started it.  Where did it go sideways? What happened to steer me away from the light bright colour scheme I thought I was aiming for and into the dark waters of this?

It's not that I don't like it, necessarily.  It's interesting enough and somehow reminiscent of those beaded South Asian fabrics, of which the only example I could find is this purse at novica.com:

There's a similarity right?  

Still it's an entire continent away from my original plans for this print so I have to wonder whether I didn't approach the work with as much focus as I should have.  Perhaps working on this print, and at the same time working on the caterpillars in the nursery rhyme series, and then beginning sketches and roughs for my next print after this one, along with all the other stuff I have to stretch my brain to, was too much attention-splitting.  I've gotta admit, somewhere in that jumble, my interest for this print waned a little and I stopped caring about it all that much until, finally, it was just "let's get the damn thing finished".  Which, really, is a terrible attitude to approach anything with.  So, another lesson learned and another one of those hand-on-heart: "I will not make the same mistake next time"  moments. 

I do wonder though, will I ever reach a time when it feels like I'm really reaping all the benefits of those lessons learned?


Jennifer Tetlow said...

Not sure there are prizes for learning lessons, but they do let you take the next bold step. I've never been able to work on more than one project at a time, and actually I don't want to, I love to give everything, immerse and concentrate totally on one thing, my brain isn't big enough for lots at once, and I'm amazed how other artists do it.

Libby Fife said...

What a loaded post! Sometimes general overload just sort of kills one thing or another, usually the small things that we thought would be easy.

I can only work on one painting, quilt, arty type project at a time. And if there is something going on in my personal life you can just forget it!

I hope you just pick yourself back up and start again. I don't know that there will ever be a time when all lessons learned will be applied:):):) Here's to better weather!

Katka said...

Thank you both. I guess maybe most people focus on one work at a time with ideas for others sort of percolating in the background.

It makes a lot of sense.