The last few weeks I’ve been juggling a lot of different tasks. Some of it I call the “first of the year” tasks, like annual doctors appointments, home maintenance contractors, and the beloved tax preparation. I’ve also been teaching some “live” programs and rooting around some of my stash preparing for upcoming art exhibits this year. During all of this I stumbled across several pieces of art that I made years ago. Some of these pieces I was happy to see again. Some I was surprised I had a different attitude about them.
It is interesting to find these treasures. There were several which, at the time of their creation, I was not very pleased with. For example this tree (pictured). I remember making it for a group challenge/art swap. When I created it, I returned to some of my old paint and textile collage techniques. There is a lot of different fibers layered there (note: click on the image to see a larger view). After the collage work, I thread painted the tree.
I look at it now through different eyes. My mindset isn’t cluttered with the deadlines in which I created it. I see things that I could probably address differently, but nothing in this piece screams “don’t show it to anyone.” Yet, that was my mindset at the time I created it. So what’s different, today? The piece didn’t change. Was it me that changed? I doubt that I changed “that” much.
I’ve decided what’s different, is time…
When we make art we are usually very close to it, physically. We see the micro details that most other people would never see. We’re close to it on an emotional level too. There are reasons we make something when we do. Maybe we’re making it for a class, a gift, an experiment, or even an exhibit. These events add pressure to what we’re doing.
Other times their are no reasons why we’re making, we’re just do it because we want to. During these play-filled times, there may be things going on in our personal lives that may be carrying energy to our work. Maybe you’ve just moved into a new house, looking forward to a vacation, or concerned about the health of a loved one. All these events can alter our mindset (for good or bad) and affect our thoughts on what we’re creating. I can see this clearly in the tree. I’m in a different place. I’m no longer concerned at what other people might think about it. I see it for what it is with a less judgmental eye.
My takeaway message is when we’re working on something and it just isn’t becoming what we expect … walk away from it! Give it time! Better yet, give yourself time! Maybe we need a few hours, a few weeks, or even a few years. Our mind just needs a reset, so we can look at it again with a fresh vision. If your attitude doesn’t change about the piece, it is OK to work on it some more, or maybe start over from scratch, or sometimes its best to destroy it so you can move on to something new.