The Octopus, eight hideous legs reaching out in every direction with an exuberant but void look on her face. The shadow of eminent doom, looming behind this fatuous figure. The shadow bearing down representing the self inflicted trauma drowning in a sea of bubbles.
This Octopus is obviously a self-portrait. Although, it was not intended, this horrid little illustration is a perfect representation of my week’s pursuits. I have so many ideas and projects that I want to pursue on top of freelance work, marketing my business, creating presentations for the expo on Saturday, running kids to school and dance and getting ready for the start of another semester. No, I have not finished my syllabi or organized my lectures for the first day, which is next Monday! Scattered, is my middle name right now and I believe the Octopus and is grossly distorted figure and tragic Beziers, have enlightened me. I need to streamline this process and come up with a real plan of attack.
This week, I started my first linocut of the year, I did my scales or rather my contour line drawing, I photographed out in Caledonia and around town, and I wrote and sketched for inspiration. I began gathering ideas for the girls website which will be highly illustrated. That is where the Octopus really came into play. I wanted to create a series of funny little characters to go on their website but I ran out of time to sketch. I went directly to Illustrator and started to draw, throwing down anchor points with little regard to good placement or anatomy. As a professor of vector graphics, I know better than to attempt an illustration without first sketching it out on paper, researching the subject, drawing various versions before scanning the sketch in to use as a template or reference. Rushing through vectors just does not work! Using the pen tool takes time and precision, as does all vector art.
I feel pressure to produce a finished product everyday, so I am skipping steps or ignoring good practice. I know each day will not be ideal but I would like to share something of quality on the majority of the days to come. One of my favorite artists, Jerry Uelsmann, presented at the Society of Photographic Education National Conference while I was in grad school. He shared a series of images some famous and some of his own failures. He had plenty of his own octopi in this collection. Whenever he would get to one of these horrific little pieces he would laugh out loud with a belly rolling cackle. He reveled in failures along with his success; he shared them openly without embarrassment. Each piece cannot be a portfolio gem but in the process we learn, allowing for great work to come.
I did have failures this week but I noticed some very positive changes in my routine. My sketchpad and pencils have made their way back into my purse. My camera bag is slung over my shoulder without a job on hand. My linocut is out on the table all day and I find 5 minutes here and there to carve. When I am running or doing yoga, I am thinking about my projects and blogs. I feel charged and happy. So I will continue to share my work whether it is a success or another octopus. I will try to laugh out loud with my best belly rolling cackle.