This evening I got four hours of uninterrupted studio time. That was four hours of me making scribbles and marks non-stop. At first it seemed like the whole thing was a waste of time, that it was all crap and that I was trying too hard. And there was that inner voice that kept saying it—You're trying too hard to make something. I kept working anyway. I kind of knew that I wouldn't be ready to leave until it felt right. I just kept going.
Music selections for this evening started out random. I tried picking up on some old favorites that are good for settling me in, but they just weren't cutting it. My painty fingers kept reaching for the dial on my ipod. I even tried the soundtrack to Titanic, thinking that the bagpipes might do the trick. I know, you're questioning my sensibility for even having it in my music library.Eventually I settled on a classic: Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits. I didn't expect to get much from it, maybe just a little company, but it was exactly what I needed—a little parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
I really thought I was making a lousy piece of crap, and nearly gave up and came home two or three times. Part of the issue for me was that I decided to work on a larger scale—thanks for the suggestion dear friend Paul. I'm not used to working so big, so this really involved stepping back and standing up a lot more. It's a challenge, but I'm glad I'm doing it. Even though part of me wanted to pack it up, another part of me kept reaching for it. I'm still not exactly sure what I'm saying here, but I like the word "reservations" and its various meanings.
At one point I decided that I really needed to "build" Pinocchio, so I started collaging his face with words from old newspapers. I rifled through my suitcase full of "stuff I could use to do a collage" and forced myself to just take some pieces and stick them in. Some just had nice shapes within them. Others have just been in the suitcase too long and were getting booted out by their roommates. (I still haven't found a purpose for the four five-and-dime plastic baby dolls, but their time will come, too.)
I kept fearing that I was doing too much to the piece—that there were too many elements, that I should quit before I totally trashed all the parts that I loved about it. But no, I kept going. I kept hearing my mind saying, I should go. Seven times I said that. And then there was just one stroke that made it okay—just below the chin, separating the head from the neck. At that stroke my mind said, You can go.
When I had stopped I felt breathless, like I had been running a long distance or something. I know it's not done yet, but I've left it in a place that will make me want to go back to it.
So what's it about? I guess it's a kind of self portrai—isn't all art a kind of self-reflection? My next visit with this piece won't be for a couple of days, if I'm lucky. Hopefully I won't lose the rhythm of feeling.
So there you have it. Feel free to comment on it. I appreciate the comments I got on my last piece, both publicly and privately. People were seeing things that I didn't see, and it was enlightening.