The dust is still settling in my creative life, as I shift my focus from the now-completed dye study group to other things. Transitions are always tricky, and I don’t feel that I’ve found my creative balance/focus yet. But things are rapidly starting to settle into place: an hour of drawing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings; design class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; and a three-hour drawing session with a live model on Saturday mornings. The rest of the routine is not yet determined, but it will probably involve weaving in the evenings and on weekends, and possibly a little bit of painting (acrylics or watercolor), or else surface design using Shiva Paintstiks on fabric. I have some ideas that I think would be fun to try!
But it seems fairly clear that the next 3-6 months of my creative life will be spent focusing on fine arts – composition, drawing, and painting. I’m determined to plunge in and develop the skills I’ve wanted (and needed!) for 20+ years, so I can add them to my collection of creative tools. I think that will make a big difference.
I don’t know how other artists handle transitions. For me, there is usually a period of emptiness after a big project – my Muse usually goes on vacation for a week or two – followed by about a month of trying, in rapid succession, anything and everything I can get my hands on. Eventually everything settles out, the crafts that didn’t make the “cut” get put back into storage, and I continue on with one or two major projects/focuses. Life is fairly settled for another six months, and then I finish a project and the whole process starts again. It’s helpful for me to know that rhythm, so I can work with the transitions and not against them.
I have a minor project in mind, though. Actually two of them. The first is the peacock feather shawl, which I am still debating whether I want to weave. I don’t feel my vision for the shawl is as strong as I would like, so I’m not sure I want to continue with it, especially since weaving it will be so time-consuming. I haven’t decided against doing it, either, because I have some ideas for the lining of the shawl that I think would be interesting to play with.
The second is a shawl of butterflies! I have at this point loaded several butterfly patterns from a cross-stitch program into Photoshop, and will weave some of those to see how they come out. If I like the way the designs come out, I’m going to grab photos of butterflies off the web and redraw them in Photoshop so I can get recognizable species of butterflies in the shawl. With just 3-4 base body types, I can vary the colors to produce a shawl that doesn’t repeat any butterflies along the entire length of the shawl! And the lining on the back of the shawl can be decorated using surface design techniques (butterfly stamps and Paintstiks), and then beaded very, very lightly – just enough to disguise the places where the lining is tacked to the shawl.
This idea attracts me more than the peacock feather shawl, which I think still needs some developing, so I may well pass from peacock feathers to butterflies and work on that idea instead.
One more progress milestone – this morning I drew a bottle of Cointreau. It still doesn’t look that much like the bottle, but I’m not running screaming from it, either. I think I’ve made it through the beginner’s panic. Hooray!