Saturday, December 17, 2011

Out, Damned Spot! Out, I say!

This is the time of year when it's pretty hard to stay on course in the studio. There are just too many things happening in the outside world - parties, shopping, grant applications, studio visits and other distractions. I am feeling all that interference with the normal course of non-events in my private world, and to top it off, I am moving into a different kind of work.

Having just completed two large works in the Running Stitch series, my mind's eye is sort of fixated on that mode. I've been making notes and sketches for future projects and want to get started on them for the solo show I have coming up in February. But, I'm also interested in submitting works to Supria Karmakar's call for submissions for The Wax Book, a juried exhibition at Castle Hill Center for the Arts in Truro to be shown during the Sixth International Encaustic Conference in June.

Back in the 1990s I made a lot of artist's books - and pretty much drove myself crazy, by the way. My personality is not one that cleaves to the neat and tidy, plan-ahead world in which I made my artist's books. I'm a little more rough and ready and felt I was boxing myself in. I'm a lot more comfortable with either a paintbrush or a hammer in hand, so I gave up artist's books and went back to the messy, hands-on world of painting. (Here are some images of books I made in the 1990s - complicated, all handwritten and I made them in small editions of four or six books the same. Ugh!) (click images to see larger)

Visiting Nature - open

Beach Music - open

On The Road - open midway

The fact is that I could just have changed the type of artist's book I made and not gone for the intricate dimensional pieces I was doing, but when I'm done with something, I'm flat-out done - that is, until I get back to it at a later date.

So, this past week has been a bust in the studio. Between visitors, working, shopping, driving to Boston and partying, I barely got in there. Today I finally came face to face with myself and started trying to come up with some ideas. I couldn't make my usual mess because I'm having visitors on Monday, so that meant I couldn't do what I usually do - pull everything out and try some things. Coming up with ideas under pressure is probably my least favorite part of being an artist. I just get squirmy and do anything to avoid that blank spot between my ears - email, Facebook, magazines, newspapers, trips to the trashroom, anything, anything to get me out of that nasty blank spot. Today I even tried sitting quietly in my chair and visualizing something I would like to see but that didn't work either.

Finally my eye lit on three objects that I've had kicking around the studio for a couple of months and have planned to use one of these days. I brought them to my table and started fooling around with them. Wonder of wonders, I got ideas (or "idears" as I would say)! I believe I have a solution for my book making problem! (In fact, three solutions.) As soon as I had a few preliminary plans in mind, I got the hell out of there before I acted too soon and screwed things up.

No, I'm not going to tell. You'll just have to wait and see - along with me.


Unknown said...

Your first image is stunning. I just love it. However, I love the others just as much. Seems like something special is going on here!! I'd love to be opening up these books right here. Thanks for sharing. Have a very Happy Christmas. Love, Annie xx

Supria Karmakar said...

Heh Nancy: These books are so delightful, and I know what you mean about the precontemplation stage for creating a series....
I find most of my energy can go into that stage...I have a show in March which I have been ruminating on for a long while, all summer..the journal is heavy laden with ideas, thoughts, quick sketches...but that actual work, physically starting a body of work is best done for me a few months before...I seem to be a pressure painter, I love the intensity, but in reality the ideas come way before....I find going into the studio and the journalling process very helpful....I CAN'T wait to see what you come up with for the book exhibit...I absolutely LOVE your work - thanks for sharing the call with your audience

Wendy Rodrigue Magnus said...

How exciting, regarding your new work and epiphany of ideas! The books blew me away. I wish I could hold one-

Tanya said...

I can't wait to see your ideas!
Could you please explain what you meant by, "I got the hell out of there before I acted too soon and screwed things up"?

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone. Supria, I think you will be very surprised to see what I come up with for you and the difference from what I have shown here. It's a whole different version of what an artist's book is.

Thanks, Wendy. I wish you could hold one too. Seeing them in action is a big part of what they are.

Happy Christmas to you, Annie! I hope you are recovering and feeling better.

Tanya, what I meant by what you quoted is that my idea was just kind of half baked and before I actually started doing anything, I needed to give it some real thought. That thinking could be done anywhere and removing myself from the physical objects was the surest way that I would not take some action with them that I would regret later.

Sue said...

Busy times ... yes, but still you produced some wonderful works!

And you're right: it is amazing how sometimes inspiration or "idears" come to you when you least expect them.