Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Art and daydreams

Awhile ago, I read in a blog I like that "Dreamers are roadkill. Artists work." I almost agree, but I think a more accurate statement is, "Mere dreamers are roadkill, but mere workers have nothing to say. Artists must work and dream a lot and in a regular rhythm." In the quiet, open-minded, dreamy state, the good ideas, the true intuitions, originate. And the work of translating the dream into the concrete world triggers more good ideas.

The tricky part, for me anyway, is making the leap back and forth between dream and work.You wouldn't believe the flawless, glowing images I make in my head as I lie in bed at night. But pulling those dreams out of my head always leads to disappointment. I begin with high hopes, but soon enough I realize I can't actually replicate that dream with my actual hands on actual paper or in actual wax. I used sometimes to shrink from the chilly discomfort of that moment and avoid the work part of the artist equation. Or I feared that my failure to realize my ideals meant that I wasn't cut out to be an artist. Now I know that I just need practice, practice, practice, practice and that making beautiful, meaningful things is my calling (one of them).

On the other hand, I sometimes avoid a timely transition from work to dreams. Sometimes I just don't want to stop working,  but after a certain point, the longer I work, the blinder I get. I spin in a perfectionist eddy, but I don't see the answers to the artistic problems that arise--I am likely not to see the real problems, and am very likely to make mistakes that lead to all sorts of trouble. When I stop doing art and use my hands in the quiet, motherly tasks that let my mind wander, solutions emerge, unsought. When I take those answers down to my desk and get back to work, I feel refreshed and able.

This tiny heart, about half an inch high, has been my main work lately. I actually have a little more to do on it, polishing in tight spots and adding a bail, but you won't see it again until it is either cast in silver or pewter. We're trying to figure that one out.

In this post I shared some of the ways I try to maximize my art. I'd love to hear strategies from other creative people.


  1. Please keep writing about your creative process- it's so helpful to hear your ideas on this.

    1. I'm glad to hear its helpful. I do have some more thoughts rattling around that I want to get into posts pretty soon.