Three weeks ago I finished a three piece commission that I labored over for over 2 months. They are three 12 X12 acrylic paintings of the two dogs and one cat of my late Father’s wife, my dear “Ma Penny.” I was pleased with them and so was she.
Completion is a good thing. You’ve put in the time and effort and then you find yourself done! After the initial feeling of euphoria and accomplishment, however, there you are. What now? It can all be a bit disorienting. There is a favorite John Lennon saying I have “It’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive.” What next? Where was I with my own personal trajectory?
Luckily I’ve been in this spot all too many times before. Here is my recipe when you wind up in a “grey zone.”
- Don’t panic. Be still.
- Write in your journal
- Do some cleaning/tidying in the studio.
- Look for inspiration from the work of others. Pinterest is my favorite source of visual inspiration.
- Do some warm-up exercises- no expectations. Scribble, splash, write lists of words that fascinate. Dedicate them to the gallery of the recycle bin or the collage box.
Eventually, the creative fairies take the bait. Like seagulls when you throw a piece of food to one, another will come until you have a flock of them around you.
I finally came up with the following work (after cleaning out my paper files & filling up my garbage can full of warm-ups…….)
I realized that I have been drawn to work with a central, beautiful gesture that anchors the piece. Thus, I dusted off my calligraphy pens and created 4 pen and ink gestures. Then I let my intuition lead me to completion, having no preconceived notion on what to expect. This may be a new direction for me.
There is a space
Between endings and beginnings
A quiet valley
Full of swirling grey mist
All sense of direction
In this protected place
Rather than stumble in confusion
Let clarity present itself.
When the compass needle turns within
And the fog rises slowly
This is the time of departure
Cairns marking the way on the immerging landscape
The start of a new journey