"Just Thinking Out Loud"

It could be time for me to begin writing down my thoughts again.  So much time has passed since I took the time to write and post my thoughts.   Not to stir up controversy but hopefully to open up conversations.  I came across this old draft which I composed way back when. Unfortunately I began editing this and lost the original date. It was probably from sometime in 2012 after having spent a week struggling through a workshop with Nancy Crow.  No pictures in this post, so hit the X now if you might be looking for pictures.

I am so frequently inspired after reading blog posts from Elizabeth Barton and Kathleen Loomis.  They are able to compose their thoughts eloquently.  Often it seems to coincide with issues that I might be struggling with in my mind.  Do and don't.  Can or can't. Why or why not. These ladies are brilliant. It seems all I have to do is think of the questions, wait a few days and voila!  The answers are given in their blogs.  Waiting for me to take that inspiration and go with it.

The great thing about statements coming from Elizabeth, is that she does her research. She gives so much food for thought and makes me feel as if I am justified in questioning the grand world of art.  The great thing about Kathleen is that she has has such a grand way with words. I would never challenge her to a debate even on the color of a schoolbus.  She can drive home a point so that you can't help but see it her way. The are intelligent, talented ladies.  I can hardly wait to see what they have to say next. And what piece of art they might have to show next.  

Just when I wrote my last post about my experiences in Nancy Crow's workshop, feeling that pull between creating and processing in my own way rather than strictly following another method.  Just when I am really pulled between continuing to push to find my voice in representational (quilt) art or give that up to try my hand at abstract (quilt) art.  Why can I not just do both?  Hey, I scored well in both literary and geometry topics while in school.  Opposites, to my way of thinking. Left brain, right brain stuff, correct?  I enjoy both representational or geometric.  So why not do both.  I have seen so much geometric, abstract quilt art on the web, that frankly, as I actually said out loud (can't believe I did that) to Nancy in front of the whole workshop, that I have become, yet again, bored with most of it.  There is so much out "there" that it all begins to look alike. But then, I am not a learned art scholar, so who am I to judge anyone else's art.  I am only looking through eyes connected to my brain and that is the way I view it.  I continue to struggle to find something new, different, exciting.

I feel that each and every person is an individual with many facets.  I learned that from my two children.  They are so much alike, yet so different. Each one, as a child, learned by totally different educational methods.  Both of them are very talented and creative, but go about it in totally different ways.  Both of them are also very grounded and sensible.  They can both do many different activities quite well. Okay, enough Mom talk, but you get my drift? Mankind has been debating the questions for eons. "Beauty in things exist merely in the mind which contemplates them" said David Hume in his essays, Moral and Political, in 1742. 

What began my conflict is something that Nancy Crow told me. I was merrily creating pieced, landscapes, trees, flowers, which I presented in the workshop for her critique.  She said that I should decide what I wanted to do before I die.  She felt that I need to go home and do the work.  Stop taking classes. She said that I should decide whether I want to make representational (flower) or be a real artist creating abstract quilts.  I should just get to work and find my voice or style.  I interpreted her  words as the pressure to create quilts in an abstracted, non representational manner.  Yet, I don't want to be in one box.  I have been struggling to get out of the freakin' box and be what I am in the moment.  And be okay with doing that.  I want to learn all I can about all types of artistic expression that I can translate into quilt art.  

So around 2014-ish,  I joined the Chattanooga Modern Quilt guild.  I learned about minimalism,  abstraction, negative space, updating traditional quilt blocks into contemporary quilt blocks, etc.  After being distracted for quite some years in that style, I have realized that this would not be something I want to continue.  As much as I want to be included in the current trends, it is not what I really want to do.  It is just not my style, as much as I want to be liked or recognized by those who appreciate that style.  I keep saying that out loud.  To my friends.  To myself.  But I haven't had the strength to venture away.  

May I not have more than one voice, Nancy?  I feel that I have 2 fairly strong voices in the representational and also, a bit of the geometric. Having strayed for too long from this, I now feel a bit more justified in deciding to express myself with these 2 voices.  Here, a bit of soprano and there, a bit of alto. Or in my case, I should say a bit of bluegrass and a bit of jazz.  I hope to continue to learn more and become better expressing my vision with each try.  Here's to hoping that 2018 will bring a final end to this struggle.  And discovery of what is really hidden inside me, waiting to kick that box wide open. 

Does anyone else have this struggle going on?  Why or why not?