New work. That title created the problem. Working my way through the alphabet with my “Timeout for Art” blogs, I’ve had to struggle, sometimes, to find a subject to coordinate with the weekly letter. And, though I planned to mainly showcase my own work, there have been days where my work simply didn’t apply to the topic.
N was “new work,” though. That, I planned from the start. The title would serve as impetus to get me into the studio to create work to show. Except I didn’t. Summer turned to fall, and now it’s almost winter, and though I’ve had the very best intentions, I’ve spent little actual quality time in the studio.
Yet here it is, time for the letter N, to taunt me with my lack of new work. What to do? Change the title? Art topics by alphabetical designation was not the very best idea I’ve ever had to begin with. Even though I have found my once misplaced Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as the original list I drew up, it’s not that easy. N offers “naturalism’ and many “neo” options, from neo-classicism to neo-dada, but it would be a push to make any of them applicable to my own work.
I have pulled out old work and passed it off as new before, when under pressure. That seems to miss the point. Plus, dishonest. Last week, feeling a bit under the weather anyway, I just skipped over my “Timeout for Art” blog. One rule I try, try, try to enforce in my life, when it comes to commitments I’ve made to myself, is “don’t miss twice.”
So, yesterday, I opened the curtains at the foot of the stairs, so heat could get up to the studio. I dressed in my old, torn and paint-covered sweats. I poured coffee into the covered and insulated cup my sister gave me, that will keep it warm for hours. I headed up the stairs. If I could manage to actually get some work done, wonderful. If not, I would plan, organize, read and tidy, but I was determined to spend the day in the studio.
I started by pulling out a stack of papers that I’d cut to size and painted as bases for collages. Some were re-purposed old work, and the remnants of charcoal drawings under the paint added a layer of interest. Next, I pulled out a few trays of collage materials, and started sorting by color and shape. Finally, I scooped out some heavy gel polymer medium, and began placing elements on the surface.
I usually work on more than one piece at a time. Whether painting, printing or collage, if I can step away from one thing to focus on another, it’s easier to remain objective about what each piece needs. I had space for four collages on my drafting table at once, encircled by stacks and trays of scrap papers, so I worked on four at a time. Before the day was done, I had several good beginnings. Finally, new work!