Pandemic Project

How’s everyone’s creativity been? I’ve seen that for some (introverts, anyone?) this isn’t much of a different life. Quiet time for creating is the same, and the rhythm of a day is similar. But for me, at least, it’s reduced, in productivity, in focus, and in access to my supplies.

I had just finished an online class, on abstract collage with Melinda Tidwell, and had ideas swirling around in my brain, trying to get out. I ordered a fresh, small sketchbook — 30 blank pages, ready to go. I took life slow and easy at first, as we all looked at graphs and tried to comprehend the state of the world. And then… nothing. Or, a trickle. How to produce in this crazy time?

I started with backgrounds. Or I made collage papers for later, or just scribbled. And I tried REALLY hard just to play, not overthink, and not be driven to be finished. When will we ever have this sense of abundant time again?

But, wow, do I like a project and some kind of structure! I’m testing the boundaries of just how much of each, but normally I am VERY driven by completion. What I’ve found is that a project needs to move along, and art — well, it doesn’t always benefit from that structure. The structure of creating daily, yes. But of calling it done? That can benefit from more open-endedness. Here’s how I was doing, about two months in:

I am working on being okay with an unfinished sketchbook, with not rushing to an artificial deadline, and trying to reach for the concepts in that collage class: composition, contrast, balance. I’m set up on a small desk, with supplies that travel well, and with a random selection of collage fodder to choose from. Will I finish the sketchbook? Will I get any worthwhile pieces from it? Who knows? But I’ve found a refuge for my visual brain to relax and that’s enough for now. As pandemic precautions become normal life, how are you adjusting?

Update! After 4 months on the same 30 pages, I’m calling a stopping point, and have scanned all the images. See this link for a set of several progress points for each of the compositions. Next up: I might alter them more, and will definitely use them as digital layers in new work. See this post for the sketchbook that followed this one.

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