The art of frustration 

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are having a lovely week so far. Supposedly we are going to have Spring return here this week. I am very ready for my feet to thaw out!

Did you notice that I posted this on time this week? Want to know why? Nope, it’s not because I finally have my act together. I have misplaced my good drawing paper and cannot continue with the two commissioned drawings until I find it. I am hoping that the distraction of writing will let my brain work on remembering where I put it last. 

Finally I have a week that involves no crisis management of affairs of an estate, Spring Break is over and I have no huge impending deadlines. Yesterday was great! I worked on my Etsy shop, started these two drawings, did a little practice painting all before I had to pick up Miss L.  Today started out pretty much the same way until I realized my drawing paper is missing. Dang! I had two solid hours to work on them.

So here I am, coming into the last month and a half of my thirty year career, all geared up to get down to some serious creative doing and making and I am an organizational mess. Normally I know exactly where everything is unless someone I live with moves it and this happens all too frequently. This time I can’t blame them though. 

In June I will have lived here for two years. In those two years I have had to constantly keep moving my art supplies around.  Either a room is being painted/renovated, someone is visiting or moving in, or every spare inch of space is occupied by stuff that has to be sorted, stored or given away eventually. The frustration level with this situation is very high. Really and truly I am a minimalist at heart but I find I am always living primarily with people who are not. My son is the exception. Right now he lives out of a backpack, but take a wild guess who stores his bed and few boxed possessions. 

My dear husband promises me that one day there will be a separate little art studio that only I have the key to. Looking at our long list of “need to do” items I hope he is planning on adding wheelchair ramp and Geritol dispenser on it. Until then I retreat to my Pinterest board of studio ideas and dream. 

The current reality is that I set up my fold out table in my bonus daughter’s/guest room for the two weeks that she is away and frantically work on my sewing machine and other projects that have to be spread out (I’m a creative mess so most projects fall in this category) then pack it all back up before she returns. Heaven help me if I forget to take the vacuum cleaner out of her closet before setting up the table. In that case, or any other that requires something from that closet, I have to crawl over the bed to the other side, retrieve the item then push or pull it back across the bed.  There are many not so nice words said during this ordeal. 

If the table issue were not enough the fact that I have my most used supplies in…the china cabinet, under our bed, under the love seat, under and on my desk, in a file cabinet in Miss L’s room, beside the sofa, in an end table, on our bookshelf, AND in the master bathroom! The less needed supplies are in our storage unit 20 minutes away and I seem to need them several times a month. Honestly I do not own a store’s worth of supplies. We just have so little space that I have to stick them in every nook and cranny I can find. Trying to find what I need causes some high level frustration. HOPEFULLY as I wind down my design business and clean out files and supplies that I will no longer need, I can begin to consolidate the art supplies and cut down on the frustration. Did I mention that the nearest art supply store is over an hour away by car or two days away via Amazon. Wonder if I can figure out how to make horse hair paint brushes? 

Maybe I should remember to give myself a pat on the back any time I manage to finish ANYTHING.  Here are a couple of finished items from this week. My table quilt from my class got finished. Probably the worst sewing I have done in years but it doesn’t look too bad as long as you don’t look on the back, and a small painting of our cat, Sweetie Pie. I have her eyes too close together but I was focusing on some painting techniques more that worrying about getting everything “right”. 


I am going to make myself some lunch, take some water to the chickens, gather some eggs and make sure I didn’t put my drawing paper in their coop.

May your week have low levels of frustration!

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Back again!

I have been woefully (I like the word “woefully”. Very expressive.) neglectful of my blog.  Once again I plan to be more disciplined in my writing.  I say that when I am three weeks from my vacation and will be completely out of the loop for a week and possibly off grid for most of it. The last few months I have actually been very busy with creative endeavors, but have been in an aggravated and frustrated state with it all.  Maybe others of you have been through the same thing or are going through the same thing and I probably should have written about it.  First, I just didn’t have the motivation and second, I’m not sure you would have wanted to hear about it while I was in that mind frame.  It was pretty negative.

So, what was going on with me? After the holidays I had the long winter months to work on projects and had a spurt of creative juices that had me pacing like a tiger in a cage.  I don’t work on just one project, I work on three or four projects when I’m in that state.  Actually, I work on three or four project most of the time in whatever state I am in. The aggravation point was a lack of creative space.  Up until the last two years I have had a reasonable amount of room (one being a converted walk-in closet) to spread out and leave my projects so I could come back to them.  Currently, I am living in a small two bedroom townhouse.  The second bedroom belonged to my son, and even though he was away at college it primarily contained all his stuff.  One wall was commandeered by me for my office desk (my room barely fits a bed much less a desk) and in one tiny corner I had set up my easel so I could paint while he was at    school.  Any other artsy projects had to be produced on my tiny kitchen table and then be moved or packed up when it was time to eat or fold clothes. Try to imagine working on jewelry one day, mosaics the next day, a painting the next day and having to find space to move the projects around, but still keep them accessible.  Add in the fact I have two dogs who think pretty much ANYTHING is potential food.  At one point, my little powder room was barely usable. I stacked my projects on the sink and in the floor and there was just enough room to still use the toilet.  Can you see where this was giving me a bad attitude? Anyway, during all this frustrating time away I did manage to do quite a bit of experimenting and playing.

Below are some of the pieces I made even through the frustration.  Not great art, but regaining and improving long neglected skills.  Practice does make perfect and if not perfect at least much better.  It has been decades instead of years that I have been unable to have a regular practice and it takes some work to get the rust off.  I am feeling much better now and will post more about that next time.

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Completed!

Anyone who uses their creative streak (we all have one, but some use it more than others) know the frustration of the process and how often it makes you want to bang your head against the wall to get something you need out of it.

Every single piece of artwork I do, whether it’s a drawing, painting or design, has a phase of frustration.  I’m stuck and don’t know what needs to be done next. I wrote about my sunflower painting here and this is where I got stuck…for months.

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I have learned a few things over the years.  One being that if something is in plain view it will eventually aggravate me until I clean it, pay it or fix it.  So I left this on the easel right where I had to look at it every single day.

A couple of weeks ago I had a rare free Saturday and the beginnings of a new list of projects that will require my easel back so I forced myself to put paint on canvas again.  It was still aggravating and to begin with I was hating it, but kept working on one small section at a time until I got it where I wanted it.

Ta-Dah!! Done!

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Of course, like any artist, writer, crafts person, etc. I can tell you every single flaw I see in it, but hopefully you don’t notice it or think it’s a flaw.  I just eventually have to call it “done” and “satisfactory” or I will wind up in a special jacket.

It is cheerful, bright and absolutely does not go in the room that I started it for. Oh, well, art takes on a life of its own.

 

Stopping point

I love my Wednesdays and Fridays. I have worked things where most of the time I can have much more flexibility with my schedule those two days. Even though I still have plenty of work it feels like a mini vacation because I don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time. It also makes getting these posts done possible.

Here is my most recent drawing/painting. If you use watercolor colored pencils is it a drawing or a painting??
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I have now worked on this drawing in Photoshop, Illustrator and on paper. I’m not getting what is in my head out of any of those. It’s very frustrating. I wanted this to be a gift for someone, but I’m not happy with it yet and I have a deadline looming. I still have about a month so I think I will put it away for a few days and see if a solution comes to me. Sometimes that works. Actually I have put drawings and paintings away for years and when I dig them back out I can see where the problems are and fix them.

If I get this to work I will post it again.