Thursday, April 30, 2009

Subconscious At Work

There was one exercise we didn't get to during the first session of my drawing studio on Monday - drawing a corner of a room. So I did it today at home. This is a corner of my bedroom. I didn't do much with light and shadow, and totally ignored the wood grain in the oak armoire. The exercise basically is to capture architecture - lines and perspective. A little wonky, especially the big pot on the floor.

Perhaps I've been doing too much introspection lately. Perhaps I'm too aware of the research that would assign a motive to our every action. But it's too late to put the genie back in the bottle. My already analytical nature has seized upon some of these ideas and I find myself my subconscious trying to tell me something through the smallest, most insignificant decisions I make throughout the course of the day?

It was this drawing studio that got me thinking along these lines again. I was the first to arrive so had my pick of seats. As I walked towards the farthest one down the table, then watched another student pick one right next to the teacher, I wondered what that said about each of us (Myers-Briggs uses questions about seating choices in typing personalities). I noted my sense of intimidation as the teacher passed out drawing paper larger than a typical notebook size; drawing small feels safer somehow, filling a larger space not only more challenging but more difficult to keep private. By now I was actively playing the what is my subconscious trying to tell me game as I wondered if there was any significance to my desire to turn the paper on its side (beyond the fact that it would let me draw smaller). Just the fact that I was having to draw within this rectangle felt confining, effecting how I would approach the assignment. That may be why I enjoy quilting so much - because I can choose the dimensions in which I work. Does this go back to my old issues of control?

Then there's the matter of my most recently completed art quilts. As I was preparing my entry for ArtWalk 2009, I reviewed, via photos, what I had available to include with my entry form. I decided Freud would have a field day analyzing my output. Even though ideas for the pieces had been on my mind for quite awhile, and the decision to work on them when I did arbitrary, they eerily mirrored my feelings of the last 6 months. There was Balance Check, named that because I'd been watching so much gymnastic competition on TV. Now I could see it also might represent my on-going but recently heightened struggle to balance the various parts of my life and their responsibilities as well as the questions about how much time to devote to my traditional inclinations vs my art quilt ones. Unfinished Business was not so subconscious in what it was meant to represent, but the way I put it together was very much not the way I work. What am I unknowingly suppressing that leaped out there? Jockeying for Position and Jockeying for Space are similar in theme to Balance Check, except a bit more indicative of how frantic I was feeling, trying to juggle so much and starting to feel out of control. Sailing surprised me the most; it was quick and simple, I thought, because I just wanted to get it done. Once I saw it on the computer screen, it changed. Now I saw a lone sailboat far out to sea, not one of many boats I see on my lake. Yikes! I knew I'd just gone through a period of feeling very alone, very isolated. Had that slipped from my subconscious into this fabric postcard without me realizing it?

I can only surmise that I don't have nearly as much control over my art as I'd like to believe. Actually, I already knew that on a certain level. When I quit trying quite so hard is often when things start coming together. In fact, this is the premise behind the left brain/right brain thing. I guess I'd better get used to it.


margaret said...

Drawing small and drawing big, ah yes.... My subconscious tells me not to "waste paper" - to fit more onto each page - drawing big is an unnecessary luxury!
Now that we are both aware of our "issues" with this, we can choose whether to draw big or draw small....

quiltcrazygal said...

Very nice drawing, I've been experimenting drawing with my sewing machine. Lots of fun. Thanks for all your marking tips and such a wonderful blog. Please stop by mine, I'm celebrating my anniversary. Blessings to you, Jenna Louise

The Idaho Beauty said...

Your welcome Jenna Louise & thanks for alerting me to your blog anniversary - congrats! No mean feat keeping one of these blogs going.

I've been thinking about the drawing with the sewing machine, and hoping that I'll learn something here that will transfer. I tried a portrait a couple of years ago and it was not as easy as I thought it would be!