Well, I’ve been putting this off for a few days but it’s time: I need to do a post about my latest 100-day-project and what it all means. Truthfully, I was overwhelmed and I’m still not sure what avenues this project has opened up for me.
Ultimately, I spent more time and made more work than was strictly necessary. As a result of that, I found myself mining a rich vein of marks and compositional ideas. I believe I can return to that motherlode for a long time to come.
Here’s my attempt today to lay out some of the work and make sense of it all:
I realized the work went through a few phases.
Phase 1: Marks and Murmurations
I got the idea for this project from a new habit I had acquired. I would stay up late after my husband had gone to bed, watching TV and just making marks with different kinds of ink pens. I found it was a very relaxing way to end the day.
Consequently, the first thirty or forty days were reflections of that. An artist friend referred to them as “murmurations,” and that is how I like to think of them. They imitate nature in many ways. In these early days, they recall ripples of water, leaves blown around by wind, or flocks of swirling birds.
Phase 2: Collaging/structural experiments
Eventually, I started to collage and use lines to define areas of the composition.
Phase 3: Large Scale Mark-Making experiments
I needed new ways to experiment with mark making so I began using large sheets of paper and “natural paint brushes” I had gathered outside (such as pine branches and dried grass).
Phase 4: Combining Spray Paint and Collage
I went back and forth with collaging and trying something new throughout the project, but one of my favorite experiments were with spray paint on natural brown paper.
These experiments were shortlived because I ran out of paper and my spray paint caps were worn out. I ordered more, but in these coronavirus days, the shipments took awhile. But, of all the phases, this is the one I want to extend right now, perhaps adding more color or different kinds of scraps.
I eventually went back to collaging on white paper. The final phase was more or less an integration of all the experiments up to that point. I think the compositions finally became more complex but more elegant. I was finally onto something new.
When I started this project, the coronavirus had no name and the world had not completely transformed yet. I struggled at times with how everything was changing and how the fear set in and now the rancor. I have been social distancing in my house for weeks in a state that was pretty well locked down by April. The emotional roller coaster led me to feel a lot of resistance and impatience, which I had to overcome in order to work. But then I would start making marks, or collaging and it would suck me in.
It’s hard to say how all of that affected the work. I’m left with questions:
Did I make myself uncomfortable enough in this project?
Where do I go from here?
Why did I end up using vertical orientation almost exclusively in this project?
I’m left feeling uncertain about where it all leaves me. And I think that’s okay. I will be mulling over the results of this project for some time to come.