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Works in Progress
When the Doing Far Exceeds What Gets Done
Learning and experimentation are integral parts of my creative process. There has never been a time in my life when I was not studying something new or fine-tuning a skill through trial and error.
These days, I learn and experiment as a way to fill my days with joy and combat distractions from my cell phone and social media. Creating something beautiful gives me a sweet adrenaline rush. As I work and get better at a skill, I start to feel excited and refreshed by the piece of art that is revealing itself. To me, this is such a gratifying experience especially when I started from scratch and was not confident in what I was doing.
When I get the urge to check my phone, I turn to one of my works in progress and focus on that. This becomes a much better use of my time.
A lot of my paid work involves staring at a screen or some other freelance design or editing project, and any break my eyes can get from a computer is always worthwhile. I use my hands when I play piano, and I love the tactile feel of actually working with physical objects (as opposed to sedentary screen time).
This year in particular, I have taken a break from filmmaking, and it has felt good to devour other creative activities. Next year’s inevitable return to the camera will be enriched by all I have done in its absence.
As I have previously shared on WPR, I have started to learn embroidery. I had no idea how fun and relaxing this art form is. After much deliberation, I have started on my next project, and predictably, it is going to be a whimsical flower portrait.
Another new skill I am learning is the art of mending clothes. My friend Soirée has been teaching me Sashiko, which is the Japanese art of mending clothes with a variety of stitches. My first project has admittedly taken forever, and I had to start all over once already because I was not satisfied with what I did. It is coming along and may actually be finished soon. A sleeve of one of my favorite shirts had a large hole in it. I cut fabric from a different shirt that was uncomfortable to wear, and I used embroidery floss for the running stitches.
Many of you have seen my pencil drawings, but a recent undertaking has been a deeper dive into digital illustration. One new piece I am working on is for a future post on social media regarding trans rights. I have been taking my time with it, but here it is so far. I still have a long way to go.
If you are wondering how I find the time to do all of this, I only work on these projects for a few minutes at a time every day (usually maybe a half hour at the most). Once a week, I allocate two to three hours for one of these undertakings. I really do treat them as a break from the bigger projects that I am working on. They are low-stress and low-stakes side projects that simply make me smile and geek out when I do them.
(Also, I do not watch much TV. My rule is to see only one movie per month and to binge only one show per month. I would rather spend my time elsewhere at this point.)
These little projects are also tiny exercises in problem-solving, which I actually love to do.
I will keep you all updated on how these projects turn out down the road. For now, I am fully enjoying the making and the tinkering of it all, and regardless of how they turn out, I gain the most insight and satisfaction along the way.
P.S. For those of you who live in the greater Nashville area or in Sarasota, Florida, here are my upcoming shows:
12/03/2023: the French House in Nashville, TN
12/10/2023: Piano Sessions at Aviva in Sarasota, FL
Please mark your calendars and come out to a show!
This week, I took a long walk at a local park. It has been unseasonably warm out, and I took advantage of this delightful weather by taking a quiet, solitary stroll along a paved path. The distant rumble of cars in town and the laughter and yelps of kids at a playground were all I could hear. It was a chance to be alone with my thoughts and to take in some fresh air. I sneezed about ten times and probably startled a squirrel or two. (I come from a family of loud sneezers.) Needless to say, it was a beautiful day.
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