Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sharpening the focus

Mixed Bouquet in Blue Vase
4 1/2" x 6 1/2" (11.5cm x 16.6cm)
acrylic on board
$30 plus $4.95 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

I'm going through a period of self-questioning, trying to figure out how to bring a sharper focus to my art-making, though I admit that this is an on-going process for me. I like it all. When I worked in fiberart I wanted to do it all... embroidery, applique, quilting, surface design, dyeing, sewing, and all the little sub-groups of each of those topics. I could never settle on one thing and now that I'm making 2-dimensional art it's still the same.

At my Open Studio last fall there was a recurring comment from visitors who noted that I worked both realistically and abstractly, painted still life and landscape, used oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, collage, in all sizes and color palettes. I do have a recognizeable style but produce the unexpected rather than a series of similar work. I'm interested in everything and that's the problem... I need to focus my attention and dig deeper.

Each of us has a measured lifespan and right now I'm so aware that my productive years may be drawing to a close. I've lived 7 decades and while I'm not planning to jump off a cliff anytime soon I feel my body slowing down and my production waning.

I want my life to count, not just today but for eternity. I want what I do to matter, to my family, to my friends, and to God. I think that I've been given opportunity after opportunity to learn skills, to develop an artistic eye, to develop wisdom, to grow spiritually, to be prepared to do work that matters, to finally focus instead of hunting art with a scattergun.

The plan is to concentrate on my Sermon Notes. I've done 46 Notes and I'm aiming for 60, at least. I want to publish them as a book, so I need an agent and a publisher since I don't want to tackle the non-art part of self-publishing and marketing when my talents lie in the studio. Getting all this accomplished takes time and concentration, so for the next few months I will put away the oils and most of the acrylic and watercolor paints, the easel and the fabric and thread, and work on the Notes. Years ago my friend Linda showed me how to set up stations in my studio, so I plan to clear surfaces and set up some more clearly defined stations, one for working on Notes, a place where everything I need is at arm's reach and when I have even a few minutes all I have to do to get something more done is to sit down and do it. There's my reading corner with my Bible and magazines and Morning Pages journal and new books. There's the big work table in the middle of the room where I can spread out when I need more space. And there'll be empty space with a bouquet of flowers off to the side. Lovely.

I'll continue to travel with my little sketchbook and paintbox and draw my world, and I'll continue working in my art and writing journals... all that is related and keeps my skills exercised. My friend Sandy talked recently about making her studio into a sanctuary, a place that called forth her creative spirit when she entered the room. I'd like to do that; aim for minimalism, spareness, and beauty.

We were in Sunriver last weekend and I thought that when I got home I could jump right into my new plan but of course that didn't work because my studio is a mess and it will take time to get myself ready to work. And then there's the rest of my life. I'd love to say that I work at art full time but I don't and never will. I'm first of all a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend. All of that takes time and energy. I figure that by the middle of September I'll have the studio rearranged and my new schedule set. And I'll be tweaking it a bit as I go. After all, focusing is a new thing for me.


  1. I had an idea about the focusing thing. Many artists work cross platform these days. Meaning in one show they will have drawings, needlework, paintings, whatever. The focus that brings it together is the subject matter. I think it is an exciting way to work.

    I look forward to seeing how you go in your studio.

  2. What pulls all of the artistic endeavors together is perhaps a sense of wonder, curiosity, and a huge dose of creativity. I'm fascinated that you adore a wide variety of media; it motivates me to continue to explore creative outlets and not stick to just one or two!


I appreciate comments and questions.

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