Thursday, August 19, 2010


I've had some trouble spilling words this morning so I've popped some classic Paul Simon into the WinAmp player and as my head bounces to his simple rhythms and poetic lyrics, the thoughts are starting to roll.

For me, a big part of any project is the hunting/gathering stage.  I'm pretty darn good at collecting and I suspect many of you are as well.  However, there is a dangerous comfort in collecting, an insidious, seductive illusion of accomplishment.  I've lost count of how many times that a Big Idea has seized my brain and subsequently, my pocketbook.  When the pursuit and purchase fever has cooled, I'm left with a grand pile of supplies and little else.  In the aftermath, I chastise myself for all the wasted money, time, and energy.  My self-loathing eats my imagination for dinner and then I can only wait for the next burst of inspiration and hope I can rein in the collecting compulsion.

For my upcoming artistic adventure, I have vowed to use ONLY what I have on hand; I will NOT cast even a single eyeball towards new papers, paints, pencils and so on.  I will NOT gaze wistfully at all the new doodads and doohickeys that are sure to hit the stores this fall.  If I am craving an infusion of fresh supplies, I need only dig through my swollen stash; I'm sure to discover things I forgot I have.  I WILL jump off the mad, mad, mad rushing train of consumerism I think is running down so many artists.  I will try to dodge the pitfalls of product worship and avoid the dead energy of pre-determined materials. 

I am not advocating a return to charred wood and rock walls.  But let me say this: the greats didn't spend their time in art stores.  They had their heads down in the studio, worshipping story and image, not the next big CHA release.  Packing provisions for my next project will be as simple as turning to the left or right in my studio and as I simplify the baggage, my ideas will finally be able to take wing.  Sweet, indeed!


Terri Kahrs said...

"Hi! My Name is Terri and I have wayyyy too many art supplies."!!! I applaud your decision to use only what you already own, Michelle. For my last on-line class, I spent a ton of money and only used a tiny bit of what was "required". I had a ton of fun today looking through my 'treasure box', finding things to use in my latest project. Thanks for the inspiration! Hugs, Terri xoxo

sharon said...

Bravo, Bravo!! I have been trying the same recently also! I too do not know everything I have! I have faltered a bit, but i have been pretty good!
Jewelry supplies are another story though!

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