Thursday, July 14, 2011

Letting go and trusting that there will always be enough

I am really enjoying my class with Jane Davies!  I love playing with paints and papers in my kitchen, and it is wonderful to have a mentor on the other side of my computer screen giving me constructive feedback -- it doesn't get any better than this!  Here are my final collages from our second lesson on landscapes:

collage #1 before......                                 collage #1, final version 

collage #2, first stage                                      collage #2, final version

collage #3, first stage                               collage #3, final version

 collage #4, first stage                               collage #4, final version

One of the comments I received was about the courage it takes to completely cover over existing work in order to take a piece where it needs to go.  I guess I had never thought about it in those terms before.  Certainly, being willing to work interactively with your creation is very important.  That, and not having a preconceived notion of what the outcome should be, really help you make better decisions on the fly.  For me, the most important part of the process is letting go and trusting that I will hear the voice of my work telling me what it needs, and that I will find the right way to let it be whatever it needs to be.

It is also very much about letting go of any sense that my work -- and the materials I work with --  are "precious."  I try (and this is a constant struggle) to detach from any sense of value.  When I remember that there is always more where "this" came from, I don't hesitate to follow my gut instincts and I lose the fear that I won't be able to replicate or replace whatever it is I'm working on.  Quilters and collage artists are probably most susceptible to this fear -- don't we all have those gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics or specialty papers that we never use because they are just too beautiful?  (We say to ourselves that anything we could do with them could not possibly do justice to their intrinsic value...)

I try to hold onto the thought that if I trust that there will always be enough materials, ideas, and creativity available, then I will find them when I need them.  If instead I hold on and hold back, I am cutting myself off from the flow, which is the source of everything.

I think there's a life lesson in there, too.


Sharon Gorberg said...

Wonderful thoughts on the creative process. I too struggle with this particularly when I start after not having worked for a while.

I am finding that working in a series eliminates some of that pressure. :)

my croft said...

I think, also, that it's a little odd that so many people make photocopies of their source materials. I have my father's copybooks from when he was in elementary school in the 1930s. I loved the childlike handwriting and the repeated letters and words, and the teacher's marks and checkmarks. Originally, I felt that the papers were too precious to use and made copies. But the copies lacked authenticity, so I went ahead and used the original smudgey, yellowed, age-softened papers and was so much happier with the results.

Mikko Tyllinen said...


Victoria said...

Wonderful pieces of line and color and shape... collage #2 is just beautiful.

As for the habit of making our materials more precious then they are... so true, and something that I catch myself also doing at times as well. (Years ago in art school it was the perfect, (and pricey) piece of pristine white paper that became almost too precious to use. I remember being instructed to just mark it up... slash a pencil across it, or step on it... anything to make it imperfect. Once you did that, the fear left, and you could get on with creating!)