Thursday, February 28, 2008

making it mine

my head was feeling heavy, but then strangely, everything began to seem clear. all of the struggle i've been having with the "creativity issue." i speed-wrote 4 pages in my journal about it. about my frustrations. about my love of pretty paper. and yarn. but of my inability to actually really DO anything with either one. there is something appealing simply about the acquisition, but that's not really what's been blocking the creativity. i think i've been blocking it myself...(imagine that).

what i failed to recognize (or admit) is that there is some part of me that craves order. although i am currently living in a torn-apart house (building project) and many of my belongings are in boxes, i don't really like chaos. i make lists, for god's sake, of course i like order, why didn't i see this before? (husband said i wasn't ready.) i actually really like having a frame within which i work..and create, as it turns out. which i suppose is why knitting is appealing--that's VERY organized--i just need some help from an experienced knitter (or two) to get rolling on that and it will come.

but, my painting class has been a bit of a source of frustration to me, since i feel i can't adequately let go when i'm there. it was worst the first week. i've done a bit better since then. but last week, one of the other people in the course told me that i just needed to "slip hestene løs." basically, i just need to let go of whatever it is i'm clinging to...and that seems to be the frames. those blank canvases stretch before me in a WAY too wide-open, intimidating manner. the possibilities are limitless and some core part of me wants limits. i would like someone to say, today, we paint fish. and then i could contentedly paint fish like crazy. fantasy fish. colorful fish. fish that don't exist in nature. fish like you've never seen. but to stand there and say, "hey, self, what do you fancy painting today?" that's totally paralyzing.

same with the scrapping. i adore the supplies. the pretty paper makes my heart sing and my molecules align. but to imagine cutting it, or worse yet...ripping it! no, don't make me do that. it's because it's not mine--metaphorically speaking, it's mine, i've paid for it (tho' most of it was on massive sale or bought with the very low dollar--and i can show you the money i saved, husband, don't worry).

what i've been good at, creatively-speaking, is taking someone else's idea and making it mine. like when i painted the wooden stools for our little bitty apartment on elmelundevej. i took the shapes from the matisse paper cut-out poster hanging in the living room. i chose my own colors, i made custom stencils and i painted colorful, wonderful stools. it was a creative act, but not a wholly original act. and that was OK!!!

or when i painted 63 little viking ships around our dining room on baldersgade. they were lovely. and they were an adaptation of a little ship from my big world of art coffee table book. again, an original twist on something that i didn't originate. but totally creative. and wholly mine in the end.

so, what i need to do is find MY interpretation of scrapbooking. what attracts me are the supplies (have i mentioned that i love those pretty papers?), the notion of preserving memories (that whole nature of memory thing has been a preoccupation of mine for's there in the choices of what i read and i would have written my dissertation on it had i gotten around to writing one), and actually, the camaraderie that seems to surround it (even if it's only in cyberspace). but why it's been so hard is that it hasn't felt like MINE. i'm trying to do someone else's thing. i need to stop that and do MY thing.

same with the painting. tho', i've made a modicum of progress there. i've at least been experimenting with color and brush strokes and not trying paint a picture per se. what i need to do there is take the prettiest of my pretty papers, glue them to the damn canvas (preferably after having the heart to rip them a bit) and then paint off of them. try to dig into what it is that makes my molecules align and hum in perfect pitch (which i swear happens with the best of those pretty papers--basic grey biology, i mean you) and try to create it MYSELF on the canvas. combine the things that have been preoccupying me and make them mine.

i can do this. all it took was recognizing what it was i needed to do and letting go of all the angst. excuse me while i go make a list now of the things i need to bring to painting class tomorrow...

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