Posts Tagged ‘unfinished projects’

White Winter Squirrel – 1/365, BlackBerry 365, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Intentions for 2010. My first is to focus on my photography. I have a print project in progress in the studio. I hope to have 12 framed pieces done by Art-A-Whirl in the Spring. Some of you are familiar with my Writers Hands project that I’ve been working on since 2007. I have quite a collection of photographs now, and am combining them with stories of actually meeting the writers. It’s exciting to think about a dozen framed pieces of writing and art on the walls by May.

I’ve discovered I do best when I focus on one project at a time. So I can finish what I’ve started. If I set too many goals, I fall flat on all of them. I’ve given myself permission to let my writing go for a while, to work on my photography. Another thing I’ve learned is that I need something fun that runs parallel to tough creative work projects. For 2010, it’s the BlackBerry 365 photo project.

When it came time to renew our phone contracts in 2009, Liz and I spent a few hours in the Verizon store, checking out all the different options for mobile devices. We could not resist the features and BOGO deal of the BlackBerry. It was October, right before my trip to Pennsylvania, then Down South with Mom. We were on the road, buzzing by the Blue Ridge Parkway, when Liz called and said, “Why don’t you Tweet photos along the way with your BlackBerry.” She gave me a quick ÜberTwitter lesson and an obsession was born — I love my BlackBerry.

I’ve taken over 1000 photos since then, posting them in various places around the Internet including Twitter, Flickr, and TweetPhoto. Many photographers have done a photo-a-day practice over the years. But I never have. I started with 0/365, the Blue Moon the last day of December. The second was the White Winter Squirrel. And though I take many BlackBerry photos over the course of a week, I’ll only post one daily favorite in the BlackBerry 365 Series.

I’ve also decided to post thumbnails of the photos in the comments on this post each day. The idea with cell phone photography is that it creates a different way of seeing. I find that taking photographs with the BlackBerry frees me up. I got to know my Canon PowerShot more intimately this year at a writing retreat and will continue to take RAW photos. But sometimes with the larger camera, I feel pressure to take a great photograph. With the phone camera, I feel free to experiment to my heart’s content.

I’d love it if readers wanted to join me in a phone photo-a-day practice. Just drop the link to your photos into the comments section of this post.

To be clear, here are my photo project intentions for 2010. I’ll try to check in on my progress over the course of the year:

  1. BlackBerry 365 — continue to take BlackBerry Shots each day of 2010. Post my daily fave in the BlackBerry 365 set.
  2. Complete 12 final prints, writing and bios, matted and framed, in my Writers Hands Series by May of 2010 where I will show them in Art-A-Whirl
  3. Start a monetary presence for my photographs in the form of an online store with sets of cards and prints available for purchase (which also involves revealing my identity)

A wise woman recently told me that I had practiced enough, that it was time to complete some of these projects and get them out into the world. She’s right. My practices are important to me, but it’s crucial that I follow through on the finished work. And focusing on photography doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my writing. From the time I was a small child, photography and writing have been inexplicably linked for me. I’m excited to set these intentional goals. And I know you’ll help hold me to them!

-posted on red Ravine, Monday, January 4th, 2009

-Follow the BlackBerry 365 Project on my Flickr set

-related to post: Reflection — Through The Looking Glass

Read Full Post »

Half-baked Chicken, a paper mache-in-progress chicken started years ago, photo © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

I have a retablo painting I did of Santa Lucia carrying her eyeballs on a plate. Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind, the saint to invoke for clarity. Vision. She is my favorite saint, possibly because of those perfectly round eyeballs that sit like a teacup on a saucer (and the fact that she walks around not with empty sockets but rather with another set of seemingly perfectly functioning eyes).

Unfortunately, I haven’t finished my painting of Saint Lucy. I started it about four years ago. She’s gone through several metamorphoses. A high-collared purple tunic. A low-collared maroon tunic. A low-collared maroon tunic and cleavage. (Scandalous!)

The clarity she’s given me is that I’ve always struggled to finish my art.

I’m trying to figure out where this comes from. I don’t not finish my work projects. But my work projects have deadlines and people checking to see if I’m meeting my deadlines. I complete most my daily chores — making breakfast and packing lunches, doing dishes after dinner, posting on the blog. If someone is relying on me for something — a letter to the editor or an appearance at a political event — I almost never let that someone down. Yet, I let myself down all the time.

On the shelf across from Saint Lucy is a half-finished chicken. I made its body out of the torn-off corner of an empty dog food bag. It’s a paper mache project I started five years ago. I wanted to paint it bright blues and pinks and greens and shellack the whole thing into a shiny, festive piece of folk art. I even made the feet, although I couldn’t figure out how to attach them to the body. I have everything I need — the paint, the wire, even the shellack. I just need Me. To. Finish.

Personally, I’d like to blame it on my air sign. I am, apparently, mercurial. I’m supposed to not be able to stick with any one thing. Yet, I’ve always done art and writing, and I’ve always seemed reliable when it came to not finishing my art and my writing. I can’t get more stable than that.

Maybe my parents did it to me. Except, Dad has completed everything he ever set out to do. Years before he retired he started a list of Things To Do When I Retire. He was worried he might run out of ideas, so he grew his list for several pages of his pocket-sized memo pad. As far as I can tell, he’s done them all. Learned to oil-paint and completed many of the historic churches of New Mexico. Wrote his memoirs. Perfected his golf swing. Went to Spain. Built a patio deck and raised all the flowers he loved as a child.

Mom was much lazier. She watched As The World Turns and read National Enquirer, eventually graduating to Harlequin Romance. I could say it’s her fault. In fact, I will. And tomorrow when I call to tell her, she’ll remind me that while she might have put off the ironing and never made us breakfast, she did finish big projects. She and Dad refinished three large pieces of furniture, I now remember, including transforming our formal dining room table into a coffee table by chopping off its legs.

No, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all mine. I don’t show up for me.

My two mentor teachers, Juanito and Natalie, finish everything they start. I’ve asked them. More than once just to make sure they answer the same way every time. They do.

So I’m making an effort to do the same. When I drew Bethanny, I hated her. Where did she come from? She just showed up on the page, and that smile of hers. And who was the guy in the picture frame. Bethanny wasn’t like any of my other doodles, and I wanted to skip over and start a new drawing. Which is what I did. And if it weren’t for the fact that I disliked that one even more — you should see him; he’s got a long neck and goofy glasses — I wouldn’t have gone back and finished poor Bethanny. But you know what? I did finish her, and I kind of like how she turned out. How’s that for clarity?

Saint Lucy, how do you work your magic when your shoes aren’t even filled in? The shawl on your shoulder was supposed to be yellow, I think. I notice that your pose is almost exactly the same as Bethanny’s. She’s got a grapefruit; you’ve got eyeballs. What a combination. I hadn’t even noticed until I started this post. I’d like to promise I’ll go back and finish you, but the truth is, it’s hard to go back. My style has changed. Plus, maybe you’re a better beacon unfinished than you are fully done. Maybe that makes you vulnerable like me. Me, you, and the uncooked chicken. Looking at what’s in front of us. A blank page to fill.

Santa Lucía, unfinished arcryllic on wood retablo of Saint Lucy,
painting © 2000-2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »