I'm a planner for sure. Always have been. Love lists and notebooks and calendars and to-do lists. Love making little check-off boxes and putting checkmarks inside them when a task is done. My menu plan for the week is illustrated. So much so, I'm having trouble deciding whether or not to reveal it to you here.
But, when it comes to making art, plans can sometimes turn out to be more of a roadblock than a useful road sign for me.
For instance, one of the reasons I wasn't always a good fit as an illustrator for others, is that clients (or bosses) usually wanted to know how something was going to look in the end before they agreed to let you get started on it. WHAT?
Art at its best has always been an adventuresome personal journey for me. I start somewhere. I see what happens. I respond to that happening. Something else happens. I respond to that. It makes me feel happy or sad or any number of other feelings. I follow the feelings. I get lost. Or found. I spin in circles. I rest. I go. I turn around. I change my mind. In the end, there's a painting or drawing or something that others may or may not respond to. But it's that CREATIVE PROCESS that I'm after, not the product. It's somewhere deep in that process that I can recognize my own voice singing, asking me to dance with it.
There are many times when a bit of planning would have improved the final product (better design to start with comes to mind mostly). But, when I really plan a painting beforehand (working out design problems, etc), I run the risk of locking myself into a particular direction and missing out on all the delicious side trips I might have taken if I had just winged it. The surprises!
I've learned to trust this process more and more. So much so that it's overflowed into other areas of my life where I might have once thought it best to plan before leaping and may never have moved beyond the planning to stage in order to get started.
That's pretty much how I'm approaching my adventuring into Arts and Gardens Everywhere in my wheel-a-BARROW wagon now. I got started. I thought it would be fun to make the wagon. Did I plan well in a pandemic to know there isn't any place in town to take the wagon? No. But, given that awakening, I suddenly have plenty of time to paint it and play with it and not have to even think about taking it anywhere. I saw a Youtube video about making t-shirts using your art. I made one. Now I have two stores and, surprise, surprise, I love solving all the little problems that come with having the stores that would have seemed insurmountable had I planned for them to arrive ahead of time. And in the middle of paying attention, I saw an avenue to explore that could integrate my desire to feed others (both with food and figuratively with inspiration) into the "painting."
I'm in the CREATIVE PROCESS with it now, paying attention to what I'm feeling and my own voice directing me out onto the dance floor with it. I KNOW what I'm feeling and I'm letting that direct me, not any pre-conceived plan for where this has to take me or why. I love to make art. I love to make gardens. I love to feed others. I love to dance. I love to share. (One could even say I live to do those things). I'm pretty trusting of this process, letting it organically come together, not forcing it toward any one outcome.
And this leads me to realizing I'm not just doing this with my art, I'm starting to trust doing it in other parts of my life. I didn't make a menu plan this week, let alone illustrate one. I decided, instead, I'd cook something I've never made before and see where that leads.
Love, ALLways (as my little brother says) to everyone.