Sunday, May 9, 2010

Unfinished Business: What to do with old, unresolved work!

I have been organizing the office and studio in my new home, coming across so many unfinished pieces of artwork from series past, spanning ten years of work. Practically, this is a great way to see if there are any hidden little gems I can post in my soon-to-be-complete Etsy store.

But, finding a big collection (you see a sampling above) of work that was left unfinished has got me thinking about the nature of my work and of changing thematic gears in general. If you haven't already noticed, my style and approach is broad and varied. This has its pros and cons. I love variety and use whichever materials I feel best express a given idea. However, I do sometimes feel fragmented, not sure which project to work on some days (Hello, Gemini!). In addition, more than one gallery owner has told me my work is not 'cohesive' enough. Business and marketing aside, I know it's important to learn from the steady growth of an idea over time.

One of the reasons you can see so many different styles is directly related to stopping and starting work in the studio due to moving house or other big life changes.
As I have mentioned before, I have moved 17 times in 21 years. Thus my persistent curiosity in stories about moving, renovations, packing, nesting, etc. When I have had to pack up and relocate, then get through transition times, I would often interrupt a series of artwork. Then, when I was ready to work again, I wanted to respond immediately to my new surroundings and sensations, leaving the previous body of work 'boxed'.

These days I seek continuity. One of the mantras from Yogi Bhajan I repeat to myself daily is: Consolidate, Concentrate, Be YOU. So, in this consolidation process I am determining whether some of the unfinished artwork should be finished and presented, and some should be recycled forever. Part practicality, part 'letting-go'.

There are also only so many hours in the day, so for one month, my daily paintings site will be dedicated to finishing and posting almost-there works. It's practical, but also sort of an experiment. would like to see what the common denominator in my varied bodies of work of over the last ten years is, and then how it connects to what I am currently exploring.