Friday, December 13, 2013
Daily art: the December dilemma
Faithful readers of this blog know that I am a lover and practitioner of Daily Art, which I describe as making art regularly (daily, weekly, monthly) according to a self-defined system of rules. I have been doing Daily Art of some sort in all but one of the last 13 years, and the year I didn't left me feeling empty.
In fact, in recent years I've been doing multiple Daily Art projects, with a weekly task on top of my daily assignment. I find that I love the challenge of working to specifications and rules; it's no coincidence that I also love sudoku and crossword puzzles. But I mainly find the discipline of making something EVERY DAY to be liberating and exciting.
Liberating because you don't have to make something great, you just have to make something. You can experiment and produce a dud and it doesn't matter, because tomorrow you will get to make another one.
Exciting because when you do something 365 times you are bound to have some magnificent moments; you are bound to learn, to change, to grow as the year passes.
But inevitably as December rolls around, the Daily Art aficionada is consumed with the big question: what shall I do next year? To recap, I'm doing two regular art projects this year: a collage every day, and a weekly "photo suite" of several pictures on a theme. I post the photo suite on this blog every Sunday morning, but the daily collage appears only on my other blog, Kathy's Daily Art. I also post a "Sign of the Week," a series that has been going on since 2010.
I've pretty much decided to stick with the daily collage next year. I've learned so much this year but there's so much yet to learn and do. And besides, I've cut a bazillion nifty photos out of newspapers and magazines, and even organized them into file folders, that I haven't yet used. I'll also stick with the sign of the week, simply because it's easy and fun. But I'm not sure about the photo suite. It may be getting stale (please let me know if you have an opinion!)
I tell you this partly because it's what's on my mind right now, and partly because I encourage all my artist friends to consider doing Daily Art of their own. Some of my friends have tried it and hated it, but others have tried it and loved it. I've tried some projects that turned out to be duds and got abandoned quickly (once before the first day's work was ever completed), but I have generally been really happy with this approach.
The other day, in fact, somebody asked me whether I feel great relief at the end of the year as a project draws to a close. No, I said, I generally feel bad that it's over.
If Daily Art at all appeals to you, I recommend careful thought in setting your rules to accommodate your life. I also recommend a trial period before you commit to a whole year. It's discouraging to embark upon what you think is going to be a year-long project and abandon it in February, but if you only committed to do it for a month and you don't re-up, that doesn't feel bad.
I like to start my projects on January 1 but some people prefer to start on their birthday or Bastille Day or just whenever they think about it. Try it -- you might just like it!
Linking today to Nina-Marie's blog; check it out to see what other fiber artists have been doing this week.