Monday, 17 March 2014

Studio Series: Lent 2014 intuitive mark-making

Dip pen clouds © Karen Thiessen 2014
My Lenten intuitive mark-making practice began on Wednesday March 5. Unlike last year, when I chose to draw from life for a minimum of 15 minutes each day, I'm so engrossed in the mark-making that an hour or more will pass before I realize that I've gone past my 15 minute minimum. Last year I was tense and frustrated as I drew and constantly checked the clock. This struggle was good for me. This year I struggle to stop. A lot of the mark-making isn't exactly pretty, but I am learning so much. I figured out how to use a dip pen or nib pen for the first time and love the line quality. I've had a nib holder and an assortment of nibs in the studio for years but had never used them long enough to get the hang of the tool or technique. Ideas are flowing as I gain new skills.
Elastic ball print c © Karen Thiessen 2014
At some point in the life of this blog, I've written about my elastic ball that I've been adding used elastics to for several years. I have two on the go: one has over 7000 elastics and the other is made up of over 2000. This year I finally decided to print with them. The results are fun and I'm eager to push this further and see how I can combine the various techniques. This year I may have no difficulty continuing this practice beyond the 46 days of Lent.

This has been an exciting but strange time. I've met all of my major commitments and this is the first time in many years where I have no volunteer obligations or deadlines. Two new series are in the works and the energy is flowing. One series is still in the research phase and I'm already making the second series. Exhibition opportunities are coming my way and I've had to discern whether they are worthwhile or whether they are distractions. For two of them, I've decided that they are the latter: they would take time and energy away from the flow that I'm experiencing on an almost daily basis in the studio. My ego likes the thrill of a whack of deadlines, but the new work asks me to step back and give them breathing room. Do you have difficulty saying no to opportunities?

2 comments:

Christine Mauersberger said...

Dear Karen,
I found myself saying yes to almost every opportunity. My friends father would say that we should 'take a cookie when the plate is passed, because you don't know when it's going to come around again'.
Now, I say "let me think about that" and mostly I find myself saying "no".
Saying no is powerful, empowering, freeing, liberty-giving, and necessary for an artist.
Saying no allows you to say yes to the right things for oneself.
I didn't begin to start to say no until 2012 and once I did, the immediate difference was measurable.

p.s. I like your intuitive mark-making.
cheers!
Christine

Karen said...

Hi Christine,
Saying no is difficult, but one can say yes to far too many things and burn out. A quote I heard a few years ago has stayed with me: "When you say yes to something, you say no to something else."

Thank you for this blog conversation!
Karen