Saturday, February 18, 2017

Enjoy the Ride

the piano arrives.....some people get a Long Arm machine, I got 88 short ones!

Never pass up an opportunity!  I heard that there was going to be someone at the university today who wants to try to train people's ears!! Now my ears have long wanted to be I have volunteered!!  

 What always interests me are the numerous parallels between various art forms however different the media appear to be at first.  For example, there is an absolutely wonderful, (I couldn't recommend it more) website called Living the Classical Life  where great musicians talk about the lives, their struggles, their triumphs, fears and hopes. The interviewer is Zsolt Bognár, a fine pianist in his own right.

We all hope that our next quilt will be perfect... listening to these musicians talk about taking months (yes months!) to get just one musical technique right, or to be able to play a piece with great authority, integrity and passion, I just am amazed at the time and dedication that goes into great art.   How can we possibly hope to get there with an hour here or there?   It is evident, of course, that the really great art quilters of our time spend just about all day, every day on perfecting their art.  It all takes a lot of time, and a lot of knowledge and experience.

I do think a lot of the knowledge relates to composition and design.  Knowledge of how one goes about creating a strong design, quite possibly making numerous attempts to do so.  While the Very Famous Quilters never show us their lesser works, or even their horrors (!), I am sure they do exist - at least for a short while!!

In a way we are just scratching the surface of the art....we may never hit pay dirt!! never reveal the gold, but (as my pedagogue tells me (repeatedly!) when I moan at my failures!) we sure can "enjoy the ride". And, gradually, we'll learn to incorporate those techniques and that knowledge of how things work together whether shapes and values or notes.  We will continue to improve our efforts, not just dashing off the first idea and then spending weeks trying to correct the problems.  We'll learn to vary the shapes and the edges of those shapes, letting some stand out sharp and bold, and others softly meld into the background. We’ll learn to make music with our shapes and values!

We'll also learn to avoid the most popular subjects, or, at least, if we do use them as inspiration, we'll try to bring something fresh to the work.   I have a  good friend who paints very competently but who never gets into any art show.  Why?  Because we've seen the work way to catch a juror's eye is to show them something fresh.  And that takes time to figure out...when we first look at our inspiration source, the  more trite, the more commonplace ideas come first.  You've got to keep pushing, give yourself time ...think about the violinist who only gradually over months and month learns to play a decent staccato.

We also have to learn to use color...oh the mistakes we make when first we leap into a great palette of colors !!!  I always start my yearlong masterclass with a monochromatic assignment....and so often those are some of the best pieces!!

It does take be sure to relax and enjoy the time that it takes!! 

 Less angst, more pleasure!  
Unfortunately so many of us these days have been taught over and over  to be goal oriented, rather than process oriented.  But, in anything that has a slow process, like learning a piece of music or making a quilt (so many parallels!), it's much healthier to be process oriented, otherwise we miss out on all the pleasure and joy to be gained from just working towards that goal.

 Sadly so often we come to see the process as a nuisance!   Something we have to endure to reach the goal.   But if you think about it in terms of one's life??!!  who wants  to reach the end goal of life?  and how awful if you just went careering on and didn't enjoy the journey.  So, let's take our time...enjoy thinking of different design possibilities, different value patterns, different colors schemes and so on....Relish the time you spend doing this and be sure to enjoy the ride! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts.......please comment!

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!   Elizabeth


Elizabeth Barton said...

thank you for your comment, Sandy, I had to redo the whole post to get rid of some alien formatting (invisible too!) that was preventing me from changing the type size.

Karen Perrine said...

Excellent advice!

Sandy said...

Glad you worked it out!

Turtlemoonimpressions said...

I'm so completely in agreement with you on this! Recently I've been making up some 10 inch pieces that are turning out to be a series. So often people think that we just wip out the small quilts, and perhaps some do but that doesn't happen to me. Each one is a study that takes the same amount of time thinking and auditioning fabrics as I go. Working out the composition takes an equal amount of time regardless of the size. Each of the last three that I've made have taken at least 24 straight hours from idea to execution. And that doesn't include some previous hours playing with the idea on paper as well as digitally; in fact, they all are finally taking form after their initial beginnings just after your Cape Cod Master Class in 2014. It's all about process, and I obviously am in no hurry.

Elizabeth Barton said...

thank you for your comments, Janis, and I think you're so right..what is the point of churning out lesser stuff!!! let's enjoy the slower process of making something where we really are putting ourselves into the work....

yes that was a great class at Cape Cod!! So good to get so many online students together and see them all creating wonderful things....

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth. Thank you for another stimulating "lecture", Spot on! And congrats on the piano! I have always enjoyed the process in whatever form of art I try knowing that my only goal is to enjoy the creative process. I've also tried my hand at playing piano.
I am enjoying your Mod Meets Improv class immensely. We will be away for your March class so I will have to wait until June....sigh.
I would like to purchase your you take credit cards?
Val from New Mexico

Elizabeth Barton said...

thank you Val! so glad you're enjoying the new Mod Meets Improv class too!!
re the books - there are two by the way? Inspired to Design and Working in Series -
I can't take credit cards (no smart phone!) but I can do Paypal, or you can mail me a check....either way is fine: contact me directly here:
thank you!!!

Barb h said...

I enjoyed reading this blog. This 'process' idea made me go 'hmmm', several times, causing me to re-think my process. Almost every piece I have done, falls short in some way for me. But if I enjoyed the process, and valued that, rather than expecting a masterpiece I would be much happier, I think.
Thank you.
Barb in WI

Elizabeth Barton said...

Thank you Barb h! I'm definitely trying to focus on this is too short to be holding one's breath waiting for the masterpieces!!