Recently I discovered that having a mind blowing Epiphany may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Shouldn’t coming to a sudden intuitive leap of understanding be a very good thing? Yes and no. First of all, where did this Epiphany come from? I think Epiphanies only come to those seeking answers. As much as I felt each individual drawing was “finished”, I continued to have a nagging feeling that maybe something was missing, that the drawings weren’t quite “Perfect”. I do not believe that “Good is Good enough”, especially when it comes to a life altering long term project such as this.
Against my initial (keep it to myself) instinct, I finally shared the Hare Terra drawings with a few people and while to my greatest joy, they all responded favorably; none of them seemed to understand my dilemma. I am an artist, trying a new direction, making a huge life commitment to a single series; of course I have insecurities and doubts leading to that nagging feeling. But then suddenly it hit me, the ANSWER! The drawings needed more “Life”! There it was, a wondrous experience, angels singing, the sun bursting through the clouds, the spiritual uplifting of the grand Epiphany. Great, an answer, the magic ingredient, but how does one add “Life”.
In the end, my big “Life” Epiphany was and it wasn’t really just one specific answer. The creation of art is often about problem solving and finding those tangible elements that satisfy the emotional need. When I am searching for answers, it has always been my immediate surroundings that have provided the most inspiration and education. I’m not sure how to best explain how my brain works, but for me it’s like looking at a wildflower in a vase; it’s pretty, but essentially out of context. When you see this same wildflower alive in the meadow and take a closer look, it suddenly has “Life”, a history, a whole story as well as sub-stories. In its true environment the wildflower has drama, it is covered in various insects, it is a food source, a shelter, a hunting ground, you can watch the various interactions and the comings and goings of the wildlife the wildflower in the meadow provides. It’s no longer just pretty, it’s fascinating, unlike the sterile (one liner) aspect of the flower in the vase. One could argue that new interactions and “Life” could be introduced and engaged with the flower in the vase, which is exactly my point. I think my drawings felt like they were missing that mess, that unpredictability. I felt that perhaps if I introduce some more outside elements that could provide the potential for what might happen next, those delicious and delightful ingredients could be exactly what is needed for the imagination and development of the sub-stories that can give these fairytale drawings the extra bit of “Life” that was, in my mind, missing.
Some “Life” Ingredients: Fall arrived, the sky appeared larger as the leaves disappeared and the sunsets were more prevalent, it led me to thinking of patterns and how some of my freer more experimental college work had patterns in the sky. It also occurred to me that as I’ve grown older and (ha ha) more serious, I’ve let the outside world impose it’s reality on what I (used to) see. So now I am attempting to better connect with my inner child and incorporate ideas like the sky pattern concept into this series and bring the existing work to the next level. I also found myself observing the beautiful tree lichen and thinking what a wonderful and brilliant opportunity they could provide to add more pattern and designs to the existing drawings. Another “Life” influence occurred as we started having more and more new visitors to the back porch (in addition to the chipmunks). All kinds of birds, red squirrels, wood mice, gray squirrels, skunks, raccoons, flying squirrels and even a possum started becoming a daily entertainment. Watching the animal’s behavior and interactions and seeing, feeling, hearing a very tangible aspect of “Life” led me to think that my Hares and their Queen just might want a bit more company. Maybe not just our local flora and fauna either, it is a fairytale after all, the options are limitless.
Long story short, that’s what I’m working on. I am of course thrilled that I may have come up with that certain “Life” something that I feel is going to make the Legend of Hare Terra series better, more distinctive and unique. However, when you are three years into a project that you think is almost ready to paint and you suddenly have a big ah-ha moment that leads you to believe that all 100+ drawings you thought were finished just need these last few (extremely time consuming) details to make them that much better… well… it’s incredibly frustrating to say the least. But if I can pull it off, it could be so worth it! I realize I was all gung ho to get back to blogging when I last posted in October but this “Life” Epiphany has become an all consuming obsession. I have been going back over every drawing and adding those little bits of happiness wherever they feel right, and slowly but surely the nagging feeling has subsided. I have no idea how long this process will take or if any of the original 2009 Hare Terra paintings will survive the revisions. However, I will try to be better about keeping you posted. Perhaps when you see the final results, you will agree that it was all worth it. Or you may decide I finally need to be institutionalized. Either way, that’s what has been happening in my world.
In the meantime, I am taking my usual time out for Christmas crafting and doing my best to scrounge up Caden pictures for the annual grandparent photo package. I broke my camera about a year ago and have relied on the Mr. to take photos of our precious child. As you may have already guessed, I am now, last minute, sorting through a year’s worth of the Mr.’s photography. Oh my! While that’s underway, I do hope to keep at least part of my promise and share some this year’s Caden pictures here on the blog, maybe some of my recent inspiration, as well as the results of our Christmas crafts and finally at long last, the Opera North project! All before 2013? I’ll certainly try! Stay Tuned!