work in progress

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

reminds me of a Georgia O'Keefe painting - more oriental poppies

no matter how big or soft or warm your bed is,
you still have to get out of it

Grace Slick


Kidding. Sort of. Chalk it up to just one of those weeks. There is a pattern here. I do not have an assigned design project on the go presently from either main customers. So ... I have time (the luxury of) this week to work on my own stuff ... big sigh. You remember, my Etsy shop - small illustrated prints and Polaroid photographs ... with an end of June deadline. Eek !

Why is it that I can be super creative, extremely motivated, always meticulous and extremely efficient with my time when I'm working for someone else ? I've talked to other creative designer friends who also suffer from this affliction. Phew ! I think it's basically a lack of parameters, when left to my own devices, a blank page in front of me, the world of choice at my fingertips I become paralyzed and spin my wheels in endless possibilities. Awaiting pure brilliance and creative perfection to appear.

When I'm working on an design assignment I'm always being art directed to some extent, which apparently I prefer. It's why, I'm sure, that I became a designer and left any thoughts of becoming an artist back in some painting studio lying there in front of a blank canvas, years ago at NSCAD (my alma mater).

I am beginning to see a direct correlation between my blue blahness and the lack of a current assigned design project. No busy deadline on my desk, only myself is counting on me. An ah ha moment ! To overcome this I have decided that everything that I work on I must consider to be a sketch ... so be prepared to see some of my sketches ... always a work in progress.

The closer you get to the lighthouse, the darker it gets.

Japanese Proverb


  1. Susan, I suffer the same affliction whenever I have any time to do "my" thing. I think it shows me that I've been so used to "serving others" and putting my own interests aside that I find it difficult to get into the "me" zone. I do believe the fact that one sees the payoffs for client projects a lot sooner than self-projects, the "positive reinforcement" isn't seen so readily.
    I currently have some pieces in a local museum gift shop and the manager is awaiting some "smalls" from me of popular Nova Scotian subjects she is sure will sell well, especially to bus tours that arrive quite often. Bus tours mean money, and one would think that much potential for sales would be enough of an incentive but for some reason I have put this project on the back burner because "others" are awaiting my designs, etc. I think a lot of the trouble stems from my "people pleasing" personality, always awaiting the "Wow! That's beautiful!" from others or the "I LOVE it!" to reinforce my self worth...I dunno.
    I can't figure out how to value my own expression enough to make them a higher priority, but if you ever figure it out, please let me in on the secret.

    ps: I was thinking you really should consider a “side” business of “Petography”. With your obvious love and devotion to animals and your stunning talent of photography you really could be onto something. I don’t mean those “cutesy” photos where people treat their animals like little dolls and dress them up in those undignified outfits. I mean classic photos that are so well done, that the photos get passed down through the family photo album. Sepia tones…black and whites…some Holga shots blown up a little…very classic. Photos that stir up the owner’s love and adoration for their pet every time they reflect on the photo. Photos that capture the essence of each pet’s personality to be immortalized on “film”, so to speak…because everything’s digital now.
    Anyway, something to consider.

  2. Oh-so-O'Keefe! Fabulous pix. I've never heard that lighthouse quote. I'm making a note of it.

    Looking forward to your sketches...

  3. I have a similar problem, I will motivate for the immediacy of a paycheck or because a deadline MUST be met, but without that incentive or pressure, I fall down.
    BTW, received your "papery thing," and it's GORGEOUS! I definitely think you undervalued it for the customs declaration. :) Now I just have to find the perfect frame...

  4. Hi V,

    Re: our own work I wonder if we just continuing to put our thoughts (or egos) on cruise control and just continued doing or making, creating stuff. Being prolific and enjoying the process and thinking of each piece as a sketch, a work in progress and not necessarily the big Da Da ! has-to-be-great-thing. That's what I'm going to try. No judging (well that's impossible) as little judging as I can muster and just try and enjoy the process. I do believe it's a new practice just like any new thing that needs to be developed over time. Wow ... how optimistic was that. Wink.

    And merci re the Petography idea that is a great idea. Working with people who wanted to have photos of their pets (meaning they really must love them lots), and especially more classic photos would definitely be e very happy and fulfilling way to make some extra money.

    Speaking of Holga ... yesterday I sent 5 mystery rolls of Holga film off to Carsand Mosher. I haven't used the Holga since 2005, so I have no idea what I photographed. 4 rolls of colour and 1 B&W and I can't wait to see what images were captured. I can only hope that there might be some pics of sweet Em and my red boy Jake.

  5. i can't wait to see your new sketches. you are so talented. I wish too I had your ability to be so motivated when working for others. still, I'm working on that too. Love th epics, btw.


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