Friday, September 2, 2016

Slogging August and a Bright New September

Sydenham Study, 12" x 12" x 1.5", Peruvian Wool and Beeswax on Birch Panel

From the way most people live, one would never guess that humans are beings of free will. Repetition can be a choice, but often it isn't. The athlete or pianist who practices the same routine day after day, year after year, has their eye on a goal. The unending repetition is a conscious choice in the pursuit of a life dream. But what about the sameness of most lives? Observe the morning commute, the after-work drink, the Sunday football game or religious service - how many of those people are consciously following their dream, training their mind, body, and spirit through that daily repetition? And how many are mindlessly slogging through each day out of habit and boredom? Jonathan Lockwood Huie
What an August it has been! The word 'slogging' comes to mind and led me to the above quote, which describes nicely the question I kept asking myself on days when my daily routine - go for a walk, do yoga, work on artwork, practice basic hygiene - seemed an insurmountable task. Maybe it was the grueling heat. Maybe it was life happening while I was busy making other plans. Maybe it was a karmic challenge that I haven't yet learned how to deal with and therefore insists on recurring. Whatever it was, there were days in August when my admittedly pleasant schedule seemed impossible to achieve and I found myself asking why I was trying. Slogging. Running uphill.

Okay, so August was a little funky for me.

Happily, September always follows August and ushers in a new phase with new projects and new energy. Already things are looking up. The past two wonderfully cool days have literally brought a breath of fresh air and I successfully finished a piece and met a deadline I was aiming for. Woo hoo.

Harrison Park in July (Study), 12" x 12" x 1.5". Peruvian Wool and Beeswax on Birch Panel

Currently, I am working on a series of pieces inspired by our summer camping trip to Harrison Park in Owen Sound, ON. My goal is to complete 6 preliminary square foot pieces using a uniform gauge of yarn and then select at least 4 of those to revisit on 3 foot square panels, taking advantage of the larger scale to work in greater detail and more varied yarn gauge and texture.

I am really exited about this project for a number of reasons, some of which are:

  1. It is the first time I have deliberately revisited an image, capitalizing on the lessons I learned from my first kick at the can. I anticipate it will allow me to learn and improve, creating works with deeper understanding of the challenges in capturing the subject.
  2. Although I have done a series of cherry blossom pieces, this is my first time trying to capture the essence of a place in a group of pieces. I am trying to demonstrate what touches me about the park and makes it meaningful.
  3. The two preliminary pieces that I have finished so far are different from my previous work and I think they show a growth in skill and confidence.
  4. This is the first time I have set out to create an exhibition of my work. Behind the scenes. I am applying to calls for submissions and honing my skills in describing my work and artist's statement. Not my favourite thing to do but I become more comfortable talking about my artwork each time I do it.
Side detail of Sydenham Study - one of the preliminary pieces to be worked into a larger, more detailed and varied piece. I love the feeling of motion in the water detail.

Before I can fully leave the summer behind, I want to share a few bright moments. 

Sue from the summer workshop emailed me this photo of her fabulous finished project. I feel like a proud parent!

Sue's finished workshop project. I love it!

And I received some publicity in Eleanor Petrie's article and photographs published in Canadian Quilter's August 2016 magazine. Thanks, Eleanor!

So - out with August and in with September. May cooler days and changing seasons breathe new life into your routine and your creative projects too!