A couple of days ago I mentioned how my brain is always going in 47 directions at once. That was in relation to running my business but it applies to many things including creative activities. I keep having fantastic ideas and heading off down another path.
At this very moment I have at least 5 paintings going on; a bunch of wooden items, that I found in thrift stores, that I was going to paint up and decorate to sell; a cabinet I was going to refinish, it’s in the basement sanded down with the door off; a portrait of Mary Pickford done in beads, unfinished because I screwed it up and it’s not straight; a series of playing card Queens for Zazzle products – I have the Queen of Hearts done and the Queen of Clubs but somewhere in the beginnings of the Queen of Spades I got another fantastic idea and went off in another direction; the “Steampunk Yourself! line – a line of Victorian photos done up so that people could replace the face with their own picture- I got 4 done and stalled; and just piles and piles of old stuff, a blazer decorated with buttons, a braided rug, a big pastel and ink drawing of my nieces in bubbles, an embroidery etc… Oh, goodness, there is more, believe me.
Am I the only one?
People, I will confess, I could easily become a hoarder. I suspect that some hoarders are frustrated perfectionists.
OK – That, that is, is. That, that is not, is not. That is my situation.
Question 1 – What can be done about it? I really believe that you can’t fight your true nature. I can imagine spending a lifetime battling against myself because I am not how I should be. I think this type of battle paralyses a person. I am scatterbrained in 47 directions. That is. Well, If I stop fighting it then I must embrace it. A new way to look at it might be that this is part of my “special”. This is an element of creativity. Was Leonardo like this?
Question 2 – How does one embrace this and still be productive and function? One thing I did a while back was to put all my unfinished paintings up on one wall in the studio. This way if I am working on one and have a paintbrush full of lime green, and it happens to work in another painting, it’s right there. Does that make sense? It’s like deciding which paths are available beforehand. I have given myself permission to switch around, “seeding” my 47 directions. Honestly, we don’t need a new unfinished painting, 5 or 6 are plenty. The blank canvases are put away out of sight.
Another thing Mom and I did long ago was make a UFO shelf. This is brilliant! I heard about this from another crafter somewhere on the web or TV. UFO = Unfinished Object. The idea is you put all your unfinished stuff in one place. Then, a holiday or birthday or something will come around. You don’t have time to make a personal gift, but there, in the magical UFO shelf, there is a handmade something 80% done already! We just gave my nephew and his new bride a stunning handmade quilt this way. We had the top that we made together a few years back. Since it needed to be completed we were able to personalize it and put their names on it. Sweet.
This leads me to another “How”. I used to view past paths as failures. I tried this and that and they failed. The unfinished items were evidence of my sorry lack of character right? I also viewed them as past, gone, done. Recently, I had a flash – I still have these! I did the work. The work does not need to be wasted. I can still use these things and ideas.
Take the stuff on the web for example. I had things on DeviantArt. I was going to make my fortune from the sale of prints. That lay stagnant and I had the fantastic idea that I can start a business doing these “photo blends” I was playing with and also digitally repairing old photos, so I made a website at Wix – Chinaberries Studio. The world did not beat down my door trying to throw money at me. Then I got the fantastic idea that I would get rich selling on eBay. That did sort of well. Then I found Zazzle and set up Chinaberries Emporium. Now the money would pour in, right? Not. LOL
Back to this thought that not all past work is wasted, I combined them. I took that wix page, Chinaberries Studio, and made it a portal to all the sites, making each a different focus. Now DeviantArt is for experimental or fine art. Chinaberries Studio is the portal and also the site for digital repairs of old photos. Chinaberries Emporium is all the gift items. EBay is yard sale treasures. I created Chinaberries Central as a page on FaceBook, which is also a portal. I linked them all together as much as possible and as much as possible I made them look the same. I added Eratosphere into the mix where I am the Art moderator. The more links, the higher the ranking in the search engines. I am trying to think of the past work as money in an old savings account.
I guess this is “seeding” too. Now, no matter what path strikes my fancy I have something down that path to add to. The old work can grow.
Meanwhile, back in the archives, I have tons of old artwork stored in the basement. Well, why not scan them and use them in 47 directions? Old work not wasted.
Many people work linearly. (Is that a word?) I think creative, scatterbrained, potential hoarder types work holographicaly. I embrace that!
Here’s something I did with that beaded Mary Pickford portrait by scanning it: