Over the years some of the many wonderful teachers I’ve encountered have recommended working in a series. I made note of the idea either in an actual notebook, or in my head or in the margins of a hand-out; usually with a little smiley-face next to it or double exclamation points following “great idea”!! I was convinced by their work that practicing and producing in a series was a great way to perfect a skill, make volumes of work (not necessarily all great work – but work nonetheless) and at the very least ‘purge’ the brain of an idea (more on that later).
As often is the case, I left these many workshops with full intention of returning to my studio to do just that; make a series, explore the facets of a particular artistic expression (a book structure, a calligraphic hand, a technique, etc.) but never did. I went home to lots of ideas that were never manifested. The hope to stop the endless loops of ‘what if I tried this’ and actually get something down on paper never realized.
I have FINALLY followed the ‘series advice’ and find myself in the middle of one – and am realizing its benefits.
How did this come about: I committed myself to 50, yes, 50, books for a commission. The commission, however, was not a person, but a machine. The series of tiny books will be part of an ongoing ‘exhibit’ of artwork for sale at Art-o-Mat Machines. Click on the link for their website to explain in more detail. It is quite a fascinating organization.
The commitment of a number of books in a relatively small time frame has been very motivating. I don’t have the luxury (?) of analyzing a work as to its completeness (which is always a problem for me in getting something done). I have also narrowed my focus to this series and the techniques I have decided to work on. All the other things I wish to explore will have to wait for the moment – but that’s GOOD – I can get this one ‘out of my system’ first. Purge, if you will, so I can move on. Suzanne Moore told us to work on something to the point of boredom! Sounds weird, but I get it. I’m not sure I can explain it – but I get it.
So, I am excited to be making progress, but also feeling that I am organizing all the other ‘what ifs’ in my head. I feel that when I have exhausted this series, I will be ready for the next one – having produced lots of work!
Now the question becomes – can I continue to work on more than one series or more than one idea at a time? A wonderful creativity motivator, Melissa Dinwiddie calls herself a ‘passion pluralite”and says I most certainly can. Check out her website/blog/podcasts if this interests you…
For now, however, I’m moving in baby-steps and working on completing this series and happy that I have set some goals and following through and being happy in the process of producing art!
Great Idea 🙂 !! Til next time.