Begin Again...

Clearly, this blog consists solely of sporadic entries lamenting how I really, truly intended to write more frequently, but this, that, and the other. Like everything, it would be really great if I could make writing here another one of those habit-type things that I do more or less every day for shorter periods of time. 

This month I've been doing a couple of different creative challenges, and the "do it every day" idea definitely applies there too. I'm usually pretty good at doing little art things every day, such as my art journal, but for a variety of reasons my motivation has been very sporadic lately (more on that shortly).

I've been doing "February Faces" with Kick in the Creatives, a fun site for various creative challenges (there is also a great podcast and a Facebook group!). This has been a good challenge for me, because I very rarely do any kind of faces or figures. I decided to focus on digital collage/painting, partly because I felt like I still needed more practice drawing on my Surface tablet. For the first two I tried working from photos, and just got very uptight about it not looking at all like the photo. (Which is why I hate doing faces in general!). So after that I started doing only imaginary faces and focusing more on interesting collage, painting, or layering effects. And lo and behold, I started having fun with it and I'm even considering adding more figurative elements to my work in general. Each day has a word prompt, like "mask" or "child" as a starting point, which definitely got me to try things I might not have otherwise. I did run into trouble a few times when I went several days without doing a face, and then I had four or five to catch up on all at once, which takes a lot of time...

The other creative challenge I've been doing is working my way through the awesome book "Creative Sprint: Six 30-day Challenges to Jumpstart Your Creativity" by Noah Scalin & Mica Scalin. Here's their website! I'll probably make a separate post about this book because I think it has a lot of really great content that aligns well with a lot of the things I keep thinking about writing about. I've completely failed at doing one of these book pages every day (it's now 2/27 and the last page I did in the book is 2/21!). I think that's something good about this sort of challenge though- it's ok to fail and pick yourself back up again and keep going. I'm just starting today with 2/22 instead of doing a bunch of pages all at once. This month wasn't going to work out perfectly anyway since there are only 28 days in the month and there are 30 challenges! Here's day 22: "Create something specifically for a baby or very young child." I made some sort of imaginary bubble squishy thing (?!), probably giving away the fact that I don't spend much time around babies or young children (my incurable potty mouth is another clue! My sister also has a potty mouth but since she has two little boys she's gotten much better at not having a potty mouth).

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Motivation...February has been weird. I recently finalized a Very Big Project that more or less totally consumed my life from October-December (more on that to come!). There's something both liberating and depressing about completing a big project that has been your main focus for months....I put so much effort into this thing and I'm extremely happy with how it turned out. But now I'm in a weird place where I'm inclined to be a bit lazy because I worked so hard for days and days, including several all-nighters (and wow am I ever too old to get away with all-nighters anymore!). I feel a bit depleted, which can be frustrating, but at least I know what it is and can deal with it. 

The other big thing is that my husband left at the beginning of the month for a lengthy stay in Japan for work. We haven't spent more than a week apart in the past 20 years! I'm a fairly solitary creature in general and am perfectly happy spending all day every day home by myself as a freelancer. But it's also nice to have someone to talk to in the evenings and to do stuff on weekends with. ("With whom to do stuff on weekends?" That doesn't sound right either. "Stuff" and "whom" don't go together...). A lot of evenings we don't even spend a ton of time together- we often end up with him in his office doing whatever on his computer, and me in my office doing whatever I'm doing, but it's nice having a person around even if we're not directly interacting. It's nice to have someone bring you a cup of tea or someone to bring a cup of tea to. We talk almost every day via Skype, so it hasn't been like profoundly, overwhelmingly depressing having him not here or something. But it's definitely noticeable and weird, especially in the evenings and weekends. I've been making an effort to keep busy and go out and do things, which is cool (and the subject of another post to come!). But I do think that this adjustment period has negatively impacted my creative motivation. 

It's a bit of a vicious circle- I feel unhappy if I don't create, and if I feel unhappy I don't feel like creating...

Anyway, I have started two new mixed-media collage pieces and one new digital collage, so that's something anyway...

 Mixed media collage on watercolor paper, 18" x 24", in progress. 

Mixed media collage on watercolor paper, 18" x 24", in progress. 

 Mixed media collage on watercolor paper, 18" x 24", in progress. 

Mixed media collage on watercolor paper, 18" x 24", in progress. 

 Digital collage, 16" x 20", in progress. 

Digital collage, 16" x 20", in progress.