Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Year and Some New Projects

Yesterday I was speaking with a painter friend of mine about getting ready for shows where we exhibit our work. She's leaving for Florida next week to do some shows there and is busy painting the small originals that usually sell. I've been in a similar mode, trying to make things that might sell at the ACC show in 49 days. After I got off the phone with her, I realized that this mode is making me tired and not very productive. This seems to be a lesson I have to learn every so often - to make things and create from my heart and soul, not for the sole purpose of selling. Many years ago when I was primarily a calligrapher and painter, I decided to make a piece about boats for an upcoming show in Annapolis, MD - a boat town. I came up with a product, had 20 copies made (I sold a lot of prints at that time) and got ready to sell out. Well, I did not sell any at that show and it took over ten years to sell those 20 copies, some at rock bottom sale prices. Here I am learning that lesson again. I have been so focused on having enough stuff to sell and trying to make what I think people will be drawn to that I feel dry. This realization was good to ponder and got me thinking differently about what I do next.

First I made some wonky geese using Mary Lou Weidman's spontaneous technique. They are fun and quick and make me smile. I don't know how I'll use them, but they look good on the design wall.
Then I pulled out two blocks I had made years ago for a quilt for myself that did not get made (the Hummingbird and Sunflower of past posts were part of that group) to see what they were saying to me now. The first one, this spiral, is too dark - dark image on a dark background. I'm thinking I may brighten it with paint of the background. These fabrics may be good borders. I like spirals - they indicate change and growth in many cultures.

Next I spent some time with my trees. I love trees in all seasons. These are definitely winter trees, naked yet standing in community. I took these trees from a painting I did in 1995. That painting was in many shows and exhibits, yet did not sell (several people wanted me to make prints of it). I am so happy that it did not sell so that I can look at it every day and remember the trip that inspired me to paint it.

I have a couple ideas to try with this block. I'll get to those tomorrow. First, I wanted to share just the basic block. One thing I know for sure is that any quilting will be minimal, not my often used OCD FMQ.

I feel much different at the end of today than I did after my phone call yesterday. I am back to creating from my heart rather than trying to fill a booth just for the purpose of having stuff there. Lesson learned -- again. Isn't that part of the fun of this growing stuff?

What lesson do you seem to need to learn again and again and again? All we have to do is listen to our hearts and be true to who we really are.

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