For me there is one situation where just doing something is the way to go.
During the weeks immediately after returning from Nepal I often find myself creatively stymied by too much going on in my head. This restlessness and lack of focus obviously has an impact creatively, but there are some things I can do that help. When I remember to do them.
2. Do something simple or follow a recipe. In my case this usually means make a Skinner blend or follow a recipe for a faux technique. Making a Skinner Blend has become a bit of a life metaphor for me. Start with something you know that will be part of the big picture but don’t get too overwhelmed by the big picture yet….
This time I decided to follow Tory Hughes’ recipe for lapis lazuli with the vague notion of making simple bird shapes.
3. Notice what you notice. (Thanks to two other gurus, David Bayles and Ted Orland) Be aware of what is interesting and intriguing you as you go through the process of making your simple thing. In my case the birds evolved into fertility goddesses.
4. Play; explore ideas as they pop into your head. Approach all with a spirit of curiosity. From simple bird shapes (I had a vague idea about a Birds of a Feather necklace made in fauz lapis, turquoise and amber – perhaps with a few coral eggs thrown in) I started to wonder about woman shapes. For want of a better description. I sketched, sculpted, read and googled. I was fascinated to read about Inanna, the Minoan Snake goddess, and the Cucuteni Culture from eastern Europe in 4000 BCE. I have always loved the magnificent Venus of Willendorf figure and found whole websites devoted to the female form in art. I set a time limit for exploration. I know my weaknesses.
5. Make multiples. This is a suggestion in Dayle Doroshow and Cynthia Tinapple’s wonderful Creative Sparks book. As they say, it takes the pressure off to make that one perfect piece. The more you make, the more you can explore and refine your technique. Try different textures, surface treatements, colours, sizes. Keep samples.
6. Come up with a creative intention and stick to it for a set amount of time. It helps me to come up with something like: for the next week/ ten days/ three hours I am going to make lots of lapis forms using 3 sketches based on my research and exploring. (You can take the girl out of a rehabilition centre but you can’t take therapeutic goal setting out of the girl….)
7. Write down the other things that pop into your head (and I guarantee lots will) but stick with one for a while. In the process of doing this, I’ve had lots of thoughts about making symbols to represent each of the mindfulness activities that Jan Chozen Bayes talks about in her book How to Tame a Wild Elephant. A large wall piece, mosaic, icons, tiles, honestly – the mind fair boggles. But for now I am just making notes about this one and seeing where my women take me.
I’ll keep you posted.