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Inspiration, assignments and successful art

Monday night at CCA, The Dirty Drawers gather to work from live models, honing their skills.

Other inspired art - but not mine.

I never know when a spark of interest or curiosity will strike, but I begin envisioning how I then will bring it to my art. Though

inspiration has led me to cobble together a series of mixed-media art based on purging a deep anger I harbored, to letting music transpose my joy of the music to fun and fresh takes on birds and nature, I have relied heavily on “assignments.”

Always ready to take on the challenge of jobs on deadlines and enjoying the worlds of publishing and  newspapers, I seemed destined to do the “Tarzan.” Swinging from assignment to assignment, I rarely looked ahead more than three or four “vines” or project steps. My worst tendency was to take on multiple projects at once. Overlapping deadlines, and major challenges in production and content caused me to bury my head further in the details and timelines, while attempting to avoid corporate intrigue. (The last issue was never-ending and stalled many projects that nonetheless was going to press.)

Assigned projects in the realm of “studio” or “gallery” art allowed me to soar and grow creatively. As a member of the Abilene-based Center for Contemporary Arts (many moons ago), I developed works on the themes established for member (group) shows. Having parameters and deadlines still offered my need for structure,

but I created out of delight. Setting my own standards for content and technique.

Traveling forward to present-day, I want to capture that same delight in my work, but have no underlying “assigned” project or task. (My thought is public school assignments and structure, also a major trend at the college level, programmed my sensibilities and motivation – yes, I’ll go so far as to say, regimented my creative process.)

Losing my job at Abilene Reporter-News to lay-offs and buy-outs, I lost my way as the paradigm of computer technology careened head-long into my training and familiar work ethic.

I learned how to use computers after I learned traditional graphic design; I learned much more about journalism and writing long after I earned a college degree. So, now my task is to  call on my 50+ years of experience to spark a personal Renaissance. Can’t wait to see how far I can go!