Thursday, February 28, 2013

So Near, And Yet So Far...

Worn out, from so much dawdling...

This was supposed to be a day of ferocious creative productivity.  I have my list of steps that need to be taken, in order to bring this new item to completion, and lists like these usually serve as a kind of prompt -- there's always something I can do, while the latest coat of paint is drying, or the hot glue is cooling off enough, so I can shape it the way I like. 

But today, not so much.  I managed, rather reluctantly, to drag myself downstairs, and could bear to spend maybe fifteen or twenty minutes, dabbling away at one thing or another, and then I had to take a break.  A long break.  Maybe half and hour, or forty-five minutes.  During which time I also managed to watch a great deal of TV (most of which I'd already seen before), and maybe think about either making another pot of coffee, or drinking another cup of the coffee I'd just convinced myself I needed to make, in order both to avoid doing any of the real creative work I'd set out to do, and to fuel myself for doing the real creative work...

Still, I did manage to add yet another complete layer of thick latex paint to the cart portion of this work.  I did manage to make a final selection of the seven dark pieces of glass that will hand, suspended, like a bunch of malign grapes, between the top shelf of the cart, and the plastic bin of dried paint that I'm so excited about using.  I attached metal fittings to these pieces of glass, to make it possible to take the work apart, for easier and safer transportation. And I've begun adding a layer of hot glue, around these metal fittings (really, the metal connectors electricians use to bring wires into a circuit box -- for some reason, the openings in my glass pieces are just right for attaching these objects), to create a more organic shape, and to imply a kind of fleshy fatness to these pieces. 

And tomorrow -- secure the wheels; coat of shellac; attach top shelf somehow; begin arranging all the tubing that I'll need; when the shellac's dry, throw on the first coat of thinned-down latex paint; begin arranging the hanging group of glass thingies -- it must be maddening, reading about all of this, and not being able to see what I'm talking about.  Perhaps only slightly more maddening that having to deal with these things in real life, I think.

When I used to do a lot of writing, I noticed that, every time I began a new piece, I was always somewhat surprised and annoyed that there was so much work involved.  It seemed that, no matter how many stories I concocted, I would always forget how much work it had taken, to make that last story seem so effortless and natural. 

And I might say the same thing about the creative process in which I now find myself engaged, except that there's an added level of disinterest and cynicism that is, I think, new to the way I make things.  When I make things.  If I make things.  I'm allowing myself to be a good deal more... slap-dash, shall we say?  Less concerned with complete linear perfection, in something that's going to look old and abused anyway.  Less interested in how completely a coat of paint covers the last coat.  Sort of indifferent, really, about how the finished work will actually look -- maybe because I don't think it's going to be particularly challenging (except in the matter of tricking myself into doing some actual work, that is), and maybe because I've finally realized that the expectation of reward, which I've both carefully nursed, and kept hidden from myself, will only be disappointed, when my work is met by the viewing public.  Other artists will perhaps express some admiration; collectors will not seem to see what I've done, and will buy another half-dozen colorful paperweights, complaining all the while that there's nothing new in the glass art world.

I suppose that, at times, there's a kind of excitement and gratification, in this building of my sculpture, but mostly I spend a lot of time cursing, and cutting my fingers, and burning myself, and inhaling fumes from melting plastic (no lung cancer yet, it seems), and on and on...  Perhaps the fact that I've somehow discovered that this newest work is actually a kind of symbolic portrait of my mother, my sister, and the seven husbands (or is it eight?) they've had between them, has lent this work an undercurrent of nastiness and resentment that I've grown unfamiliar with, in the past couple of years.  In a way, making work about the physical toll of modern warfare, while grim, is easier for me, and less emotionally taxing, than this hopeless thing I'm constructing, for a hopeless exhibition opportunity...

Well, the month of March will begin soon, and I think I'll now turn my attention to washing the day's dishes -- usually a soothing activity for me, and beneficial, in that my fingernails always get so clean. I'll continue the struggle tomorrow, and Saturday, and part of Monday too, and Tuesday, until about 6 pm, when I'll decide whether or not to take this newest confection over to the bi-weekly critique group meeting.  I don't think I've ever taken work like this in, for them to see.  I'm pretty sure I'm the only artist there who's ever worked with blown glass, and I'll be interested in hearing what people have to say.

Actually, no I won't.  I'll just be feeling superior.  Maybe I should have given up creating for Lent.

(And maybe, if I can figure out whether it's possible, and then figure out how to do it, I can create some photos of this work, and add them to an upcoming post, you'll have a better idea of what I've been nattering on about.  You should be so lucky...) 

©       2013           Walter Zimmerman

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