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Questions I posted on my studio wall:

* How many hours a week do I want to spend on “art” for the next 10 years? (Am I a full-time or part-time artist?)

* Living a fully craft-based, home-made life; make everything.

* How much time do I want to spend as an administrator/promoter for other people’s work (Art Walk, Art at the Source, etc)

* How much time on self-promotion/marketing/portfolio, & organization/paperwork?

* How much time and space on bread & butter work (+ figuring out what works)

* How much time on un-marketable work? How much time staring into space?

* How spontaneous do I want to be?

*Do I simply dive in until I get bored, then move on?

* What about walking into the studio at a certain time each day, doing a quick sketch or two of  whatever I want, then moving on the a “bigger” project – even if the sketch wants to blossom?

* Can I follow a pattern for fourteen days? Should I change my mind and/or re-prioritize daily?

* Do I want to use this time to get radical?

What I REALLY want to do is soak up the art for a little while, now that I have no big shows coming up, and take a bigger bite.   I have decided to work in (not on, which is a whole different ball game) my new little studio for a total of 36 hours over the 14 days, meaning at least three hours a day, so I can also keep to my previous commitments.

I may spend some time staring into space or looking out the window, I may end up doing a bunch of pen and ink drawings, but I have so many different ways to go from there.  I usually work small; I could just make one big piece.  I could make several pieces of my clothing autobiography, ‘Where I’ve Been and What I Wore’ – or I could go in a totally new direction.  I already see the importance of making up my mind beforehand – maybe settling on two things, one spontaneous, and one a bit more fixed.  Wish me luck.

July 11:  Serendipity:

This residency is taking over my life for awhile, and I am riding with it.  All along, I have been struggling with lack of focus and indecision.  Not unusual for me.  When someone unexpectedly asked me to help illustrate a child’s book for her, I saw this as a call to combine two of my projects – somehow.  My “Everything Old is New Again” involves cutting up old work, and weaving the strips into something new – and going on from there.  I also wanted to do some pen-and-ink overlays.  The book gives me a chance to do just that – and so some of the illustrations I am doing start with collage, with the drawings on top.  Others of these are “just drawings”, and a couple of them are drawn on top of fabric, which is decoupaged onto the book pages. Although this feels/looks more “traditional” than I want to make it, I like it – so far.

Today, this is where I am.  I can now see how the book illustrations can lead me into more complexity – with a proper (or not-so-proper) support, more sophisticated and personal imagery, more detail, more layers, and more assemblage-type elements.  If I have a goal, it is to complete one large-ish or two small-ish pieces by the end of the Residency.  Seems like  clothing and bugs are capturing my attention.

It’s becoming more important that I find my own voice and run with it for awhile.  It seems to be a struggle between doing the same thing over and over again, believing it’s authentic – and flitting from image to image, looking for something more authentic.  I change. We all change.

Karen Lockert

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