I really appreciate the nice things that everyone said about the Autumn Pumpkin Candle Tray. I was very happy with how it came out. On paper, it wasn’t too impressive but when I started getting it cut, I saw that it would be nice. It may be my favorite of the trays to date, even though I like the bat one so much. I really like it though. It is funny, but I keep going back and just looking at it sitting there on the table. I guess I am proud. I have a few painted pieces that are like that. I just like to look at them. I feel kind of silly being that way but I guess it just surprises me sometimes seeing how things come to reality from my imagination. I guess that is what makes it so much fun.
I am (slightly) worried now because it seems with each one of these trays, I am setting the bar a bit higher. It isn’t that I am not up for the task of doing a little better on each one, but it does get me wondering if I can. Those self-doubts always seem to creep in. I wonder if my other designer friends feel the same way when they complete one of their better projects? I see Martyn, Lis and Mary and so many others all make these incredible things and I wonder if they sit down after all the fanfare and look at the next blank page on the design board and say to themselves “now what?”
I realize that every project can’t be a home run. I think we would all crumble to pressure or burn out much too quickly if were continually hit everything out of the park. But it still doesn’t take away from wanting to do the best job I can on whatever is in front of me at the moment. I think that I work well under pressure. There are others who thrive on it more so than myself. And there are still others who don’t do well at all with it. I think I am closer to the thriving side of it. If people tell me to ‘take your time’ on something, it usually gets swept in to a little corner room in the back of my head and I don’t think about it hardly at all. Even though I am self-employed, I still have to answer to myself as if I were the task master. One phrase I live by which I am sure that I mentioned before is ‘we are our own destiny’. Whenever I get lazy I think of this. I don’t have to punch a clock or show up five days a week to a job, or answer to a crabby or unreasonable boss. But I will have to do that if I don’t stay in line and keep on the path I have chosen.
I am not saying that I can’t ever have a break. Let me be clear on that. I take time when I feel the need to. I go for ‘day trips’ and get out and sit by the ocean watching the tide come in or out. Some days I just goof off for the day and do other things that replenish and refresh myself. One day I will get back to serious painting. I have done some fun painting in the past year or so since my life has calmed down a bit, but I want to do a really good painting again and devote the emotional energy needed for that. It will come eventually. I can’t rush it. I will know when the time will be right for it and it will be better than ever for me.
Right now I feel like I am on a good, comfortable creative roll. I don’t want to stop that momentum because as a designer, I know that it isn’t always like this and I consider it a gift. (strike while the iron is hot and all of that!) What may look like a lot of work to outsiders is really a very fulfilling experience that is difficult to describe. It is something that is born in all creative people I believe and it is a driving force that keeps those ‘impossible’ projects coming – just because. I guess that the best thing to do is strike a good balance. Most days, I feel I do.
With that said, I had a pretty restless night last night. I started drawing my next tray yesterday evening and it just seemed again that I didn’t have a clear direction to follow. I have about five different ways I could go with this next design and I think the little voices in my head were up arguing all night as to which one I would go with. I was up several times and even got up in the middle of the night to have a cookie and look at my emails to try to replace those thoughts with something else. I still got up at my usual time (around six) and I have decided to once again “just draw” and see where it will take me. I don’t know why I fight with this process, because the results have not been that bad, but I guess it is my old school way of thinking where I want the comfort of seeing the finished piece in my head so I have a clear goal to shoot for. As of now, it is still in the fog.
I write this down because if it does come out alright in the end, I can remind myself not to fear the unknown, but embrace it with enthusiasm. If it is a really good outcome, it will tell me that I just have to let the voices duke it out and go with the flow. As I said before, that is an entirely new way for me to design. Perhaps it is the next step in my own learning process. After all, stepping outside of our comfort zones is what helps us grow, isn’t it? It is very possible that this happens to all designers and is a natural progression of learning. Maybe the voices know better. I hope so.
That would be very exciting! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"