Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I find myself at a place of new beginnings in my art. Ever since my daughter was born in May 2008, much of my creative energy has gone toward parenting. Now, as she is getting bigger and a little more independent, I find myself itchy to dive more deeply into my creative work again – yet I feel like a novice, hungry to make progress and yet uncertain of how to proceed. So this morning I did some journaling about how in the past I transitioned from one series of art to the next. I discovered some commonalities…
1) It seems to take about 2 years for me to fully develop a new series - two years of experimentation, some false starts, some breakthroughs and then refinement.

2) I like to work on two projects at one time, so that when I get stuck working on one, I can move over to the other one.
Bottle Dreams and Milagros were both born together and so were Evocations and Sanctuary.

3) There are false starts, there are one-offs that never become a series, and there are pieces that never go anywhere, but making them was really important in the overall development of new work.

4) Gathering and collecting are a big part of my process. Getting the right bottles, maps or other objects around me in the studio is essential.

5) New technology, tools and materials helped me grow as an artist – whether it was taking classes on alternative photo processes that eventually helped me make
Mapping the Body, or getting a digital camera which led me to make
Evocations and Sanctuary.

6) A deadline has been a key factor in moving the work from experimentation to manifestation. Having a solo show on the calendar usually does the trick for me.

7) I don’t work on my art everyday. I never have. With a child in my life, this is even more true. My creativity lies dormant within me and then explodes with the right combination of prep work, materials in place, concentrated time and a deadline. A lot can come to together very quickly.
Sitting here today, this list becomes a kind of road map for me. I am setting out on what may be a two-year journey. I am looking for two ideas to work on in tandem. I will play and experiment and gather the things my intuition says to collect. I will look for some new tools and materials to inspire me. When I get a little further down the road, I will set up a deadline to accelerate the creation of new work. In the meantime, I am going to do my best to relax and trust and enjoy the process.

Image Above: A Creative Fire Within from the series Milagros


Tristy said...

I love reading this list! Thank you so much for all your inspiration. I am very excited to see what emerges next!

Patrice Federspiel said...

Thank you for sharing your creative process; you have helped me to clarify mine as well. It feels so good to hear another artist admit she doesn't create art everyday!
I love your work and would love to share your posts with others from time to time, AND it would be helpful to others if you would include your name/website on your posts.

Mary Daniel Hobson said...

Patrice and Tristy - Thank you so much for your feedback. So glad to hear this list connected with you. I wish you each much joy and inspiration on your creative journey.

kaybradner said...

such an interesting list. I will go try to make my own. The only one I remember right now is that I spend a lot of time shuffling through my old work... like I am trying to remember who I am.

Mary Daniel Hobson said...

Dear Kay - glad you appreciated the list. I would be so curious to know what yours is like. I agree there is really something powerful about reviewing past work as a first step to heading toward the new.