Unless I draw clear boundaries around a task I tend to jump ship sooner rather than later and change whatever I am doing into something completely different.
It has always been thus. I can have a very broad stream of creative activity to work in. But in that stream I jump from rock to reed to mud and back into the water.
In my first post on this new blog I wrote in a roundabout way because I hoped to catch hold of some ideas before my conscious mind became fully aware of what I was thinking. I don’t know if it worked. You can’t unthink an idea once you have thunked it up.
This morning I thought it would be good to consider my various diversions as projects rather than as distractions. For example, a couple of weeks ago I started a painting based on a 1960s photograph. I liked how it turned out and would like to do more of them. But I do not want to be stuck doing that. So I should group them as a project called “I have no idea yet”.
Similarly I have my panel project. I have 44 panels cut from a sheet of Supawood. These are all 240 mm by 280 mm. Because I have an old frame that fits that size and I would like to work every panel to fit that frame as part of the creative process.
I approach these panels improvisationally. I stuck some packaging material for chocolate and new brushes on the first four. Tonight I stuck some wooden templates left over from when my son made a model of London Bridge on another four. But I don’t know what is going to happen on these panels or how they will look when finished. All that I know is that when I am done I will have a series of works that form part of this project — maybe I will call it “Panel Project Number 1”.
The thing for me is that I see them all as parts of one work. The result of one large and continuous creative thinking process. Even if that process is largely subconscious.
I do not know if that is enough of a boundary to keep me on task. It may not be because within the next week I may find ten new ideas for things that I could be doing. Some might be harnessed to enrich the panels. But some, if I even look at them skew will break the panel project as part of an ongoing artistic journey.
But that is enough of me being very introspective tonight. Soon it will get cooler tonight and I may start thinking with a bit more clarity. The I will wonder why I bothered to write or publish this in the first place.
Here is why. For me a creative process is not about clarity and knowing exactly where you are going and what you have to do. For me it is in doing the next thing that you find to do without knowing what it means or where it will end up. It is more fumbling around in the pitch black than dashing to the end line under floodlights.
And under those conditions it is impossible not to get lost and distracted most of the time. And with that I have said enough. I need to go bumble back into the dark now.