Sunday, November 24, 2013

Recurring Themes

"The creative memory is fickle and needs to be taken fresh. If you seize the day and go to work at the first flush of interest, you'll find your work and your creative ideas freshen up too. Just as the love of a certain medium can have a "life," so too can subject matter. Feeling they haven't exploited them thoroughly enough, they guiltily resist moving on. Sometimes they get stuck for months, even years.

The popular use of digital cameras makes it easy to put stuff in the can--sometimes without even looking at it--for another time. This can be a mistake. The important thing is to be wired, enthusiastic and alive in the moment."   

About the law of recent memory - Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letter, Nov 21, 2013

I have a bad habit of not letting myself move on a new excitement if I feel there are current "ducks in a row" heading the list. Not necessarily the example mentioned here of thinking I must continue to explore an idea, but often more of a prioritizing that does not deal well with spontaneity. After what I felt was a failed sketching session (photo from which I am only revealing now, see below), I've done a lot of "mental" work to get a handle on what I wanted to draw for the balance and movement exercise for my lino class, but kept putting off the actual putting pencil to paper again to just pick something and work through it. I've let other things deemed more time sensitive stand in the way.

My brain apparently was having none of it. I opened a sketching program on my Kindle Fire only to discover I'd already sketched near identical sunbursts there as ended up in my sketchbook (above) a week or so later. Comparing the two sketch sessions, these paper and pencil ones struck me has having more potential than I originally thought. (The top ones were more efforts at sunflowers but I soon lapsed into the sun image.) Ok, but I still wasn't sure it fulfilled the parameters of the exercise or was something I'd use over and over as a stamp. Let's think some more.

While hunting for a photo reference "in the can" for another project, I ran across the ones I'd taken of farm equipment that showed up at my neighbor's. (Genn is so right about all the digital photos we take and put on hold.) I remembered how those curved even tines rotating around the circle intrigued me and boy, how similar to what I'd been sketching. Maybe I could just copy that...later, of course.

I have a bulletin board in my studio where I pin up bits of design inspiration (and a comic or two) from newspapers, catalogs and magazines - I guess the old fashioned version of Pinterest. Most of it has been up so long that I don't really see it anymore. And yet, as my mind contemplated how to render that spiraling sun image, I noticed this tacked in plain sight. It's been there for years - a recurring theme probably tied to my days of making Mariner Compass blocks. I'm starting to note a trend here.

A few days ago, I started reading "Batik for Artists and Quilters" by Eloise Piper. Paging through to feast my eyes on photos of work incorporating batiks, I landed on this quilt, "The Fire Within" by Vikki Pignatelli. I love her work and I think I have seen this quilt in person, or one of hers very much like it. Certainly I have seen it featured in one of the many quilting magazines I've subscribed to over the years. It is still a beautiful piece, all these years later...and then my eye zeroed in on the fact that I was looking at yet another swirling sun image, one with a quite interesting center to it. That pretty much did it - I think I am meant to cut a sun block and it is time to finalize the design on paper.

And so I did. I'd already drawn some 3 inch squares in my smaller sketchbook with the intent to keep trying out ideas until I hit upon one that worked. I tried half a dozen different ways to do those rays and think I am pleased with this one, pleased enough that I transferred it onto the block for cutting. This is a huge step for me to commit - like I said, I've been mulling this for weeks and letting other things stand in the way of just getting to it. I checked it with mirrors and I think it will look great as a repeat design as well. And my mind is freed up to contemplate the next exercise while I get back to my time sensitive list.

And as if I needed more confirmation that this was the design to use, once it was transferred and I went back looking through files for something else, I ran across this picture of a banner I spotted while staying in Rochester, MN last summer. Alright already! I'm making a sunburst stamp!!! 

P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment on my anniversary post for a chance to win a little reader appreciation gift.


Chris said...

Sunbursts are so cool and it does look like you are destined to do one. I think you have had plenty of confirmation of that!

Connie Rose said...

Interesting, isn't it, how we often chase our tails around only to find that we'd pegged it the first time. Love that design, it'll make a terrific stamp!

Sherrie Spangler said...

You can't go wrong with sunbursts. (That's what I had tattooed on my shoulder when I turned 21!)

Michele Matucheski said...

Thanks for sharing how your mind works, and how you use your sketchbooks. It's really interesting to see how all this "stuff" out in the world influences and helps us solve various creative problems. And--as a previous commenter said : You can't go wrong with sunbursts!