Today in addition to the collage of the day,
I want to show you the book I’ve already started altering for my next collage series—
For two reasons:
1- Some parts of the above collage came out of this very book (at least one of the quotes, and the leaf pictures—probably tea leaves, because the book now called “Taking Time” was formerly “Taking Time for Tea.” I included the other collage pictures from elsewhere because they seem to fit with the Thoreau quote, representing varied “regions,” or even worlds.
Since I plan to use mixed media in this volume, I needed to remove pages to give room for the extra bulk that will create. As I did, words and images attracted my attention and told me they’d make good “stash” for future projects.
2- I want to get another project going BEFORE I finish the one I’m actively engaged in.
Does that sound like a “crazy idea”? Stick with me. There’s purpose in this madness.
It’s true that starting several projects when you’re already doing one, or trying to carry on ten or fifteen already-begun projects at the same time can just end you up in a cluttered, chaotic workspace and confused state of mind—with maybe nothing getting finished! Yet a dismal thing often happens if you don’t line up some new creative effort before you finish the old.
Writers often report that the completion of a book they’ve been working on for months or years feels strangely like “a kind of death.” What often confronts them, instead of a feeling of freedom to start fresh on something new, is a great, big mental chasm with a formidable barrier labeled, “Dead End!”
A similar thing happens to artists. Once the project or series is finished, suddenly the mind seems to go as blank as the new canvas or page in front of the face and the artist feels lost and without purpose.
Some clever creatives have figured out a preventive to use before reaching that point:
Start thinking ahead:
Just take time now and then to brainstorm ideas and note them in a notebook or file, or write short prompt cards and place them in some handy receptacle.
Daydream, like Thoreau says in the collage above: “Direct your mind inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions of your mind, yet undiscovered. Travel them.”
Go through junk mail or magazines and tear or cut out “new” tidbits that catch your fancy: faces, objects, words, colors, textures, whatever. Separate the ones that “grab you” most, to consider further in the near future.
Rifle through the stash you already have and see what “grabs your heart” there.
“Break” a blank page or two by slapping some gesso or paint or random scraps of texture on them, as I did in the former “tea” book.
From all of the ideas this activity has conjured, select one, definite or vague, and gather materials and components into a container specifically for that.
Some creatives (wisely) like to do the above in two phases,
1) the brainstorming or idea gathering preliminary, and
2) starting some initial “work” (play) in the narrowed-down project.
All this helps prevent the great blank page or canvas, and writer’s block or artist’s dead end. I think it could be very helpful in just about any area of human endeavor.
Previous posts in this series: