But what a huge theme to start with -- Nature! So many ideas are swirling in my head -- how to pick just one?
When choosing from among a wealth of possibilities, here are three tips that work for me:
1) Start from where you are.
I am very fortunate that, after decades living in cities and suburbs, I get to divide my time between two very different rural properties. (Texas is more or less divided in half, with the eastern half being green and humid, and the western half being tawny and arid.) I have spent a lot of time over the last eight years, trying to learn and document all the species that live in these two places.
|East Texas farm in November.|
|Central Texas ranchita in November.|
But that still gives me so much material to choose from. Capturing the ideas on paper in quick collages and sketches clarifies my thinking -- it's like each idea is happy to be noticed, and it stops chattering, "Pick me! Pick me!"
(For years I have told myself I would start an art journal, and this group has provided the impetus to finally do that. So that is already source of satisfaction!)
But that leads me to my next point --
2) Do not go overboard in researching a direction. For me, this is not the time to seek out and study dedicated artists. Even at the art journal stage, lots of people produce phenomenal, finished work that overwhelms me and makes me think I should give up now. I avoid looking at a lot of websites and look more intently at the subject I am working on.
3) Small strokes. As in canoeing or kayaking, small strokes can help you progress. I realize that this is not going to be the Great American Quilt on Nature, or even (I hope) my own Ultimate Nature Object. This is just one step. Maybe some day these small strokes will bring me into the rushing rapids of creativity, and I will develop a recognizable style, but if not, at least my own thinking should become more creative.
My project this time is going to be very low-key, but I am enjoying the time spent on thinking of possibilities, and on enriching my work habits!