Copyright: All artwork/content protected under ©2007-2011 Lynne Ciacco

All content herein copyright © Lynne Ciacco

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Maxim is Back! Plus More...

Picking up her daughter from playschool was the sweetest moment of Rose’s day.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.


I've been indulging in a rather longer break from art making, blogging about art making, reading about art making, visiting other artists' blogs than originally anticipated.  I know there's a popular push to make art every day but sometimes it's good to not make art.  Sometimes it's the art itself that stops; the inspiration or fire fades; the confidence wanes; the questions creep in; the desire dwindles.  I've come to identify this phenomenon as a fallow period in my process of art making; a time for the creative soil to rest and replenish itself.  And it is also a time to not FREAK OUT because of the fear that I've lost the ability to make art and will never be able to do so again.  Well, there's all kinds of ways to make art and all kinds of art forms so the likelihood of "never making art again" is pretty small.

But really, in this instance, I've just been enjoying NOT making art.  However, the old itch to make scratches on surfaces has been gradually creeping back into my consciousness. 

I recently felt the need to set up a little creative corner in my bedroom (yes, I'm still visiting the old homestead  in North Vancouver,
probably till early March, which I'm blogging about on Décolleté Glimpses).

Using an old card table for my work surface and a pedestal that was once used as an ashtray stand to hold my brushes and small things not in use, I`ve created a mini-studio.

So, okay, I'm not going to be making great Art...I'm going to be Messing About.
And that's okay.

We have to give ourselves permission and freedom to play,
 to goof around,
 to explore and make a mess...
as artists,
and in our daily lives.

I'm not using any fancy supplies:
  • An old magazine that I picked up for free on my last visit and saved because I liked its matte paper.
  • Acrylic paints from the dollar store: off white, sienna, black, moss green, gold.
  • Cheap brushes.
  • A large bottle of matte medium (for glue and as a protective layer).
  • A few magazines to possibly use for collaging.
  • Paper towels (post-clean up collage fodder)

I prepped several pages in the magazine by smearing them with paint and medium, separating them with wax paper and standing the book up on end to let the paint dry.  I've started making a few "paintings" in it, which I'll be posting here over the next several weeks. 

I warn you, though,
 it's not going to be pretty!



  1. No fear of creative attrition chez toi. The new maxim merits more than a silly pun. Nicely done!

  2. I guess Pierre Ronsard would agree ;)

  3. So true, it's a natural part of the process and it's nice to run into artists who don't panic when it hits.

  4. I agree totally... I was talking to someone yesterday about this very subject... fallow is fine. as a matter of fact I love it when this happens.. it is freeing.. that is after the initial little strange twinge of art guilt passes.. don't fields lay fallow, aren't there the changing of the seasons.. the varying light conditions... we don't need to beat ourselves up over it. just look at the good side of it and enjoy.

    I like your ingenuity .. it never goes away does it.. it is natural.

  5. Oh go ahead, get SLOPPY ! Looks like those walls could use some paint spattered on them ! Might want to spread out a canvas cloth to protect the rug though... :-) Scratch that itch, or itch that scratch, whatever...

  6. DCW,
    Perhaps I should leave the mini-studio set up so that you and the Kibbles can dabble in a little mark making during your sojourn?

    Pardon my ignorance but I don't understand your reference. I am certain that it's very witty, though.

    After years of experiencing this cycle, the panic gradually subsidesd and recognition/acceptance set in.

    I have actually known years at a time when I have not made art...though I was probably engaging in making stuff, like fabric dolls or rug hookings or even knitting. That urge to create is innate and will find a way to be expressed no matter what, I think. It's a verb rather than a noun, and vital to the enjoyment of life. And yet, it is refreshing and necessary to merely be; to enjoy the fullness of a moment without doing. The pause in between the breaths.

    "Come on Get Sloppy"...wasn't that the theme song from that old tv show, The Partridge Family? Oh wait, I think that was "Come on Get Sappy."

  7. How I understand your words about the artists' down times. It IS hard not to freak out isn't it. But then experience shows that it always comes back faster than we think.

  8. Such wise words about relaxing and enjoying the quiet times, and letting the creativity reappear when it is ready. Sounds like it's already creeping back in.

  9. I know this phase well. And it's just that, a phase, and an important one. The down time is as important, if not more, than the productive time. It really is like being an athlete, one has to replenish. Enjoy yourself, don't resist, and you will come back swinging when the time is right!

  10. it is necessary to have phases of "just breathing" without feeling guilty not to make art... i´ve also experienced that does not mean creativity is lost. just phases, like everything in life...

    cute little "studio" you have created for yourself. i am curious to see your paintings. and of cause love the new "maxim".

  11. Nathalie,
    "misery loves company"...meaning thanks for expressing your understanding/empathy/experience of a non-creative state of mind. One just has to remind oneself that "this, too, shall pass" and, as you say, enjoy the down time rather than getting down about it.

    I have indeed been enjoying the time off from art making, I must admit! But you're right, it's creeping back in and sneaking up on me when I'm least expecting it. What's that old Supremes song?...You Can't Hurry Art?

    They don't teach that in art school, do they? How to cope with the down times of the art making process. But "down" times, as you say, can be rich with brooding, brewing, stewing, being, breathing, reconnecting with something vital.
    I think I could make up a maxim to go with this state of non-art making:
    If it aint itchy, don't scratch it.

    Lovely, reassuring words. Thank you for the understanding expressed. You're right that the creativity is not lost; it's just having a rest. At least that particular form, of making paintings, because I am still actually very much involved in making photographs and playing with them in Photoshop. But I guess because I don't consider myself a photographer, I tend to dismiss that aspect of my creativity.
    I'm glad that you like the maxim.