This piece, just begun and as yet unnamed, has been in the idea stage for months. I had the idea, I knew what I wanted to do, yet I couldn’t seem to get started on it. Then I read a blog post from a site I visit regularly about productivity. Here’s the link:

Basically the point is that it’s OK to switch between multiple tasks in your life as an artist, because the artist is usually wearing many hats, from creating art, to marketing, to preparing exhibit submissions, to photography or framing, to writing a blog post, and so on–you get the idea. I always felt it was somehow cheating if you didn’t start one task and finish it before starting another, but I’ve discovered that’s not the way I work best.

In order to get started on this piece, I began cutting strips for something completely different. That’s important work to get done, but it’s fairly mindless, so I was free to think about my other project. After being in the studio cutting for a few hours, the idea I really wanted to work on began to crystallize and I was able to put the other work aside to start putting it together. I made the initial improvisational block and it went well, but then something happened.  For a piece like this one, I have a basic idea of what I want to convey, but once I start working a dialogue starts between me and the design that sometimes ends up going off in another direction from my initial plan. When that happens, I need to walk away from it a bit and do something else–like write a blog post, maybe. I realized that I need to make two or three additional improv blocks and that I want to use the green solid as a background, but I don’t have enough of it, so it must be ordered and I’ll have to wait until it arrives to proceed. That’s a good time to take a couple of recently finished small pieces to the framer’s to be mounted on stretcher bars.

So I’ve gotten a start on two new pieces, I’ve written a blog post, and I’ve taken two pieces to the framer’s, all because I was procrastinating on getting started on the first idea.  That’s not a bad set of accomplishments. Thanks to Luann Udell and for the inspiration!

What do you do when you’re stuck?


  1. Tom Willa on June 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Creativity is an ever involving entity, I wrote to a potential client yesterday. I learned this as a painter, now working as a freelance photographer multitasking is a reality which balances every day. I whole heartily agree, it is great when one accomplishes so much when switching focus. Another concept is that roadblocks and failures are part of the creative process.
    What a yummy blend of warm and cools your quilt is composed with. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to let ourselves go with the flow of the day.

    • Cindy on June 11, 2010 at 9:11 am

      Very true. Thanks for your comment and your kind words about the colors in my new piece!

  2. Jill Banks on June 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I loved LuAnn’s post — and yours about productivity. I’m currently procrastinating writing a press release by commenting on your blog. Not sure that’s the right direction … but had to do it.

    I noticed that we’ll be exhibiting together again at MPA artfest this year. Congratulations! Yea!