Recently I've bought a bunch of art quilt and collage magazines. Bought them. Paid for them. Carried the bags home. And haven't had the time or energy or focus to look at any of them. Tonight I finally stumbled upon the latest purchase, the Summer 2006 issue of ClothPaperScisscors, and browsed through it during commercials through a couple of family television shows. In the back was a page discussing a new quiz and challenge. You took this quiz on their website and it tells you what "kind" of artist you were. They did say that it was all to be taken with a grain of salt, but still, I could see from the multiple choice answers offered what general themes they were aiming at representing - they labeled them The Spontaneous Artist, the Grunge Artist, the Integrated Artist, and something along the lines of The Did You Take This Test Accidentally? Artist. The challenge then proposed that you do a piece in the style that the quiz labeled you and then turn the work over and do something opposite or different to the other side. Sounded fun, interesting, and I'm a sucker for online tests....
My answers were about as evening spaced between the four types as possible (since you can't divide 10 evenly by 4. You can't divide 11 evenly by 4 either, which I know not only because I'm smart that way but because I felt I could go either way on one question and so I wrote down both of my answers.)
I felt....... cheated? Frustrated? Annoyed? Not at the quiz so much. At myself. It figures. That's me for ya. Balanced. Stable. Able to see all sides of a question. But when it comes to art, maybe it's not a good thing to be too balanced. I mean, if I could be inspired to go in four different directions - for argument's sake let's just call them East, West, North, and South - what will happen? Well, I'll tell you. Usually, nothing happens. If I can't make up my mind, I can't start. If I can't commit or feel overwhelming compelled (or at least a teensy bit more compelled) to go with one particular project/style/direction over another, then I usually stall in the "coming up with good ideas" stage of creating.
Now to my credit, I'm damn good at this stage. Probably because I spend so much time in it. But it's considerably less rewarding to tell people about all your great ideas then it is to show them some of your great ideas come to fruition. And again to my credit - some ideas do end up making it all the way from idea to completed work. Usually because there's a deadline, or people watching me, or some sort of other guilt producing, outside pressure to perform. The real issue here is that I'd like more of my ideas to become more then just ideas.
Completely contradicting what I just said (I'm very good at living happily in a world of contradictions - bouncing around like a little yin/yang ball), I've just finished up a large number of stressful projects that have been screaming at me from my to-do list for months. I've also come back from several trips and in two weeks I'll be gone again for an entire month. So at the moment, I've given myself permission to do absolutely no art at all and to feel completely guilt free about it. It feels soooooo damn good - I can't tell you how good! Ironically it actually makes me feel like I want to do something creative.
But no. I'm probably not going to race into the studio and be a whirlwind of productive creativity. Nope. Instead I'm gonna try to bring my gardens under a modicum of control. Just enough to keep them from going completely back to wilderness while I'm gone this spring (spring - which finally arrived yesterday thank heavens!) I'm gonna try out my new washing machine. I'm gonna sort through clothes and knicknacks that have been pushed into abandoned piles for months (or in some cases, years). I'm gonna make an itinerary for our trip to England, reserve a B & B or two, make a list of things to bring and things to see. I'm gonna organize my bookcases. I'm gonna scrub some floors and wash some windows.
Or maybe I won't do most of those things and then grin about it guiltlessly. But when I get back from across one of those big, blue, wet things, I'm gonna give some serious thought to this inability I seem to have to committing to a style. Try to come up with a plan on how to deal with it. Hey, maybe I'll make myself one of those old fashioned spinners and just go with whatever project the arrow lands on. Of course, this will involve deciding how to make the spinner in the first place......