Monday, February 7, 2011

What Makes Your Heart Go Pitter Pat?

Monoprint w/pastel
I had a conversation via e-mail a week or so ago with a friend who asked if I'd ever fallen in love with a medium of art or technique before my obsession with fabric and wire began. She's searching for something she can go head over heels for and while I couldn't suggest anything to her, I could answer her question.
Yes. When I was in college I discovered pastels and while it wasn't necessarily love, we did date exclusively for quite a while. Then I met oil bars and felt an immediate connection. What I loved about both of these was the vibrant colors, the ability to draw with them, the painterly quality of each. I also LOVE the smell of oils. But then one night an instructor saw the linoleum print I was carving and walked me into the printmaking room. She introduced me to the press, and when I pulled that first print it was magic. I loved everything about it. I felt I'd found my calling, the love of my life,and the feeling only intensified the next few months as I took a printmaking class. Etchings, solar plates, the deep dark sensuous black of the graphic ink. The gorgeous lines, the way the wet paper molded itself to the plates and created a texture. It was all glorious magic. And true to my obsessive personality I spent as much time as possible in the printmaking room. I was there till close each night, my other classes suffered, but all I could think of was the next discovery. When there were other classes using the classroom I went to the library and spent hours in the stacks reading up on printmakers and printmaking techniques. Then at night when I got kicked out of the studio arts building I would go back to my room and read or sketch or play with ideas I had. Alas, the year soon ended and I had to leave school and my love and I had to part ways. I tried to bring it home with me but it was never quite the same.
Lino Block Print
Then, 12 years ago I got the inspiration somehow to stitch paper to paper. I have no idea where the spark came from (a gift from God maybe?) but I played with it a little until life interfered and I gave up on my art. Then, a few years ago when I first felt inspired to combine my art quilting and wire play I felt it again. That super heady, falling in love, can't think about anything else, can't sleep for all the ideas kind of obsession. It was when I first started to realize the possibilities of the combination. I could take my art quilts 3d, I could add color to my sculptures, I could add stitching and depth. I was awake all night one night and the one image I couldn't get out of my head was a heart with wings. The idea of a wire and fabric sculpture was just overwhelming me and I had had had to try it- just to get it out of my head.
So yes, I have fallen in love before. I've also come to realize what these two mediums have in common. First, I love color and line. I also like to create spontaneously from an internal source. I like to give in to my emotions and just create. I don't want to over analyze, I don't want to have to worry too much about perfect execution, I just want to let go and create intuitively. I loved that about drawing, the letting go with charcoal on a huge pad of paper and making big wide sweeping arm movements across the paper. BUT what both printmaking and the wire and fabric combo have in common is that after that initial intuitive creation, you take what you did, whether a sketch or a wire creation and you sit down and pour time and detail into it. The stitching I add is meditative and very non-emotional. It refuels me through the patience and quietness it takes. It switches my brain over from a purely intuitive state and brings me back down to earth. It allows me to step back and critique my work, to really see the colors, lines, and movements I'd made with an objectivity that's completely absent in the initial state of creation.
Solar Plate Etching
I'm sure I'll fall in love again, but I'm also fairly sure that whatever form it takes, it will involve that two part process. I'll also need to be willing to move out of the comfort and safety of the relationship I'm currently in to try something new. To be brave and be willing to be a beginner again. To bring it back to a dating analogy, you've got to be willing to get out there and date. Meet new people, don't be too serious, and really have fun. Eventually the right medium or technique will come at the right time and you too will fall head over heels in love. Interestingly enough, although I had it in mind to write about this today, over at the Create Mixed Media site Rice Freeman-Zachary wrote about how to find that love match in her latest post, "What's Your Medium?" It seems like an example of synchronicity at it's best so if this post spoke to you, please head on over and check out her's as well.
If you have a comment about this post I would LOVE to hear your thought's so please leave your comment and have a super marvelous day. :)


Single Stone Studios said...

I loved reading both your post and the "What's your medium" article. I always laugh when you liken art to dating. Art, for me, is much harder since I got married for the one and only time at 19 ;) If only art was as easy a decision but I'm cool with getting messy along the way especially if I can get my hands in some paint.

Jill said...

thank you for this post, even though i am reading it months later...i really connected with it!