Thursday, December 20, 2012

Phase 4 - acknowledge limits, update 4

This past week has been overflowing with art/music/animals and baking activity.

I went to the American Museum of Natural History to see butterflies. I’ve written about butterflies a couple of times before on the blog, and they show up in work. A few weeks ago, I heard a lecture by academy award nominated director Courtney Hunt (and wrote an article for work about it). One of the things she said that struck me was in response to a question about how she got her ideas for films. She talked about how she has lots and lots of ideas - most of which never develop into films - but when an idea comes back over and over, she know that that’s an idea to purse. I like butterflies because they have a symbolic connection to the soul (the word for butterfly, “psyche” in ancient Greek, is the same as the word for soul) and beyond that, they are so impossibly fragile yet full of movement and life - they're like color incarnate. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with this idea yet, but I took lots of photos.

I continued holiday cheery-ing by making mini-cards.
and gifts. I liked the idea from phase 2d of making an edition of a tiny print to give. I’m learning too in terms of accepting limitations and asking for/taking expert advice. I tell friends and family when I give them artwork (and new cookie recipes too) that they're helping me by sampling/testing, and it’s true. One friend's response to a tiny print was that she loves the print, but finding a frame has been difficult. I don’t want to change the size of the patterned paper or prints, and I can’t offer them framed right now, but I decided to attach the latest edition to a backing that fits in a standard sized 6 x 4 inch photo frame (the change has received thumbs up).

I thought I’d reached the end of my holiday baking, but it turns out, it was really more of a pause. I used doing more baking as a little bit of self-bribery – that if I dealt with some difficult things, only then would there be more baking. It turns out, baking is an excellent motivator.

So because I’ve been working on my kitchen and doing a lot of baking lately, the time/space organization of my kitchen has been on my radar more than usual. This is a bit of a tangent, but it does relate to the time/space management aspect of tempus fugit.

I eat oatmeal almost every morning with different fruit and spices in it and have repeatedly put chili powder instead of cloves in my breakfast by accident. This bothers me because I hate wasting any food, and it’s especially frustrating to make the same mistake over and over. So in terms of phase 4 – acknowledging limitations, I tried to step back and consider if there are limitations that I can work with to come up with a new solution. I concluded that I mix up cloves and chili powder even after I tried storing them in different locations because the jars look the same (same brand, same color spice). They’re labeled, but I must not really read the label, or if I do, it’s not enough to override the visual identification I’ve already made. While I may be able to train myself to read the labels every time, that’s really more time than I want to devote to this. So I thought I'd try a more visually-oriented organization based on color. I found the jars and rack at a dollar store (cost – one cup of fancy coffee – score!) I picked out the 6 spices I use almost every day. Breakfast spices are warm color jars, lunch/dinner are cool color jars. The color lid is associated with the contents (pumpkin pie spice mixture is orange, cinnamon is red), and I mixed some cumin in with the chili powder, since I always use them together, so that it looks different than the cloves (and it's in the green jar as far from the warm toned breakfast spices as possible.) I decided to forgo labels, since (apparently) I don’t read them, in favor of a better view into the jar to keep track of refilling. I haven’t mixed up anything so far using these. On the one hand, I know it is foolish to be thinking about butterflies, spice jars, and art when there are far, far more pressing issues nationally and globally; but on the other hand, this was the problem I could solve this week and coming up with a solution made me feel better prepared to tackle bigger issues.
reworking started in the upper right corner and will move toward the lower left.
I got some thoughtful and helpful responses to my question last week about photographing work better and tried to make improvements within the existing framework of time and space. I thought about the source of the issue and concluded that maybe my challenges photographing the whole piece derive more from limitations in seeing rather than photographing. I don’t think I actually see the whole piece at one time. I see it more as fragments of detail to be mentally reassembled, and that may be why I like the detail shots so much.  Presenting it as a conglomeration of areas is closer to how I actually see the work. However, because it’s important to be able to present the piece as a whole, I changed the bulbs in my studio, doubling the brightness with much more energy efficient, wide spectrum, compact bulbs that give off light which is closer to daylight. I went back to working on a piece from the summer that I don't feel is working yet, but after the carnival piece, I feel better about trying again on a bigger scale.

visual record of the overlap of this week’s museum visit, cookies, and art: