Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reaching for More

Back when I was a floral designer I started to notice an odd pattern. Whenever I got really good at something, like putting an arrangement together I would reach a point where all of a sudden I seemed to regress. All of a sudden the clippers felt unfamiliar in my hands, or the cuts I made weren't as confident. Basic skills that I knew I had were suddenly absent. I felt inept and confused.

After a while I'd seem to work through it- in fact be better than before . When I'd experienced this several times I began to see it as a pattern. Whenever I reached, really reached to be better at something I would see gradual improvement until I hit this "backslide" and then after some time there I would seem to work through it and then there would be this big leap forward.

Lately, I've been struggling to find a new direction for some of my works. I wanted to play with sculptures in shadowboxes and I wanted to try some freestanding that used wood for their base instead of my cork bases which have limits to how heavy or big something can be. I painted up the two shadowboxes a month or so ago but felt stalled part way through the execution. I'm still not sure that they're done. Kind of feeling my way but I like where they are now. And I feel better about the difficulty I've had lately because I recognize that it was another time of growth.

Do you recognize this pattern in your life? Have you ever experienced it? Growth can be difficult. It can sap our energy and make us feel drained, incompetent and defeated but if we persevere I believe, like the butterfly that struggles out of its' cocoon that we'll emerge transformed on the other side. Makes it kind of worth it doesn't it?

7 comments:

Lis said...

Hi - popping over from flying lessons ...

I love what you wrote here and such beautiful, creative pieces! I too experience my growth or development as a spiral: moving slightly up, dipping around again and not always seeing the expansion/growth until later on. And the butterfly coming out of its cocoon - an embarrassed confession here: we just started watching the first season of LOST and this one line really hit me: it is the moth's struggle to emerge from the cocoon which makes it stronger and able to survive and even thrive. Yeah, t.v. wisdom, but it is so true!

Looking forward to spiraling with you on this course ... I also have a 5, almost 6 year old and live in the Midwest. I really hope you explore these mixed media pieces - I am reminded of the whimsy and inspired world of Alexander Calder's "Circus" piece.

have a lovely day -

Lis

Dana Barbieri said...

Hi Jen. I love your post. Yes, I am feeling it a bit too, definitely growing and going through a bit of transformation. I love your new pieces. How are you liking the course? I am really LOVING it!

Jen said...

I love the butterfly analogy too!Thanks to the both of you for your comments- I really appreciate it!

Jen said...

Oh and I'm LOVING the class so far. :)

tammy said...

great post. i love hearing about how others go through their creative process. i go through phases too, almost like a roller coaster. sometimes it is such a struggle and wonder if it is worth it, and it always is! i love the bird pieces, especially the shadow box. thanks for sharing.

Johwey Redington said...

I love your artwork! Very inspiring!

Nat said...

love your honesty in your posts. Your artwork is wonderful. Love the heart with wings. We have some similarities in our works, although mine leans to a darker side, but the sculptures in boxes is similar.