I am in the middle of creating the 25 day Compassion series. The color palette is neutral greys and tans with an accent color of pink, red and magenta. When I choose a color palette, I usually stick to those original colors. Rarely do I throw another color into the mix as I am creating day by day. However, for the design parameters, I usually make it my mission to break the self-imposed rules constantly. This appeals to my forge-your-own-path kind of thinking.
I am stuck with this Compassion series. I think I may need to stick to the design parameters. The design parameters are rather simple. The overall design is of vertical strips sewn together. Each vertical strip has two colors in it of varying lengths. Each 6.5 “ square only has one accent color piece of fabric. I find myself staring at my design wall wondering what it would look like to deviate from my one accent color per square rule. I could make a block of all reds, pinks, and magenta. My instincts keep saying NO. This piece's strength comes from the rules being followed. Yuck, I say. I want to add in a horizontal strip and oppose the design parameters of all vertical strips. I want to make each vertical strip have 4 or 5 colors instead of my design parameters of only 2 colors per vertical strip. Hey, abstract artists just want to have fun. But I just can't do it. I have this feeling the design will fall apart.
My next idea is to have just one crazy block that defies all my rules of the design parameters. Perhaps the middle square or the last square. In the past, I have made the last square in most of my series full of small pieces of fabric with lots of movement and action. My intuition again says NO.
Have you read about authors who say the characters tell the authors what will happen to them and it feels like the author is just recording the events? The author Isabel Allende has written about this phenomenon in the book Why We Write edited by Meredith Maran.
When you feel the story is beginning to pick up rhythm—the characters are shaping up, you can see them, you can hear their voices, and they do things that you haven’t planned, things you couldn’t have imagined—then you know the book is somewhere, and you just have to find it, and bring it, word by word, into this world.
I feel the same thing with the Compassion series. I thought it would turn out a different way with a little more chaos thrown in the design. The Compassion series has a different idea in mind, maybe because compassion itself is more orderly and calm.
In fact, I really started my daily creative practice because of a question I asked Isabel Allende on the website Goodreads in April 2013. I included a screenshot of the question I asked and Isabel's answer. In summary, just show up. This is what a creative practice is all about.
The Compassion series is the basis for my new project. I wrote a Winter Improv Series Guidelines to help others create more improv art. I am offering the Guidelines to people who subscribe to my weekly Studio Notes. I really wanted to show my favorite part of improv work, the experimentation with design. As I mentioned above, this Compassion series design wanted to remain pure. The extreme rule-breaking of design parameters will have to wait til my next improv series guideline.
My plan is to make 4 guidelines this year, one for each season. The next series for Spring will be more free form.
If this sounds like something you crave in your creative life, click the link to subscribe to my weekly Studio Notes. If you know someone who you think would like Studio Notes and the Seasonal Improv Series Guidelines, feel free to forward them my link to subscribe to my weekly Studio Notes.
If you are a current subscriber and want a copy of these guidelines, send me an email. I will send them to you.
One of my Instagram friends Jackie Skarritt (@jskarritt on Instagram) says,
“Read your guidelines last night Kathleen. They couldn’t be clearer or more concise. Picked out my fabrics and hope to begin a February/March series this week! Thank you of the inspiration!”
As I told her, I think she is feeling the motivation of having a plan and structure of a series.