Filling the well

I’m in my studio, anxiously awaiting feedback on a current project. Anxiety makes it difficult to focus productively on the various things I could be working on, so I decided  to shift out of anxiety mode by getting lost in some studio play.

I’ve had a yen to try my hand at sculpture for months now. I’ve never done much of anything 3-dimensional, but I guess the time has come to explore a bit. I think I want to try carving small sculptures at some point, but I had some air-dry clay on hand, and started playing with that before the holidays, making ornaments with my son. When I met with my critique group for our January retreat, we made some little figures from clay as a way to loosen up.

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Today I made the pleasing abstract shapes below. When they dry I will paint them and string them together into a giant bangle, or maybe wind chimes if they make a pleasant sound. I made a little bowl, too, but I’m not so happy with that. I am still getting to know this material.

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After that satisfying little exercise I moved on to painting. This is how I work when I am not making illustrations: big and messy. The painting below is a work in progress, started about 4 hours ago. I’d guess I’m half done. But I’m at that scary moment where I like my start and I am getting attached. Danger, danger! Don’t get attached. It’s bound to get uglier before it is complete and it takes courage to make a pretty start ugly. Courage and faith that I’ll be able to transcend the ugly and find a resolution that is deeper, more layered, more interesting than just pretty.

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For the record, this painting is acrylic on 27″x27″heavy, handmade Khadi watercolor paper.