Friday, May 31, 2013

351/365: The Queen of Unfinished Projects

"Man, Musician, Luthier" by Mila Bowman 2013
mixed media on wood panel and canvas boards: acrylic, ink, image transfer, found paper, 
shipping label, cardboard, light bulb, guitar strings and branding iron stamp

I have been dubbed the Queen of Unfinished Projects. 

I am a dreamer, an idea person. If I were a cartoon, there would constantly be light bulbs hovering above my head. My flights of fancy are part of my creative process. Usually one idea leads to another and another. It's a mosaic of thought that allows bigger connections to be made. I like this about my brain. I could spend days upon days brainstorming ideas and feeling very productive and content...until I realize that many of my plans don't manifest into tangible form. Most of my brilliant schemes get stunted at the idea gathering phase and never come to fruition. This is seriously crippling my creative output, I realize, and probably keeping me from feeling a sense of sweet fulfillment. It's a bummer, to say the least.

This vicious cycle of launching and abandoning creative endeavors has been a problem since I was a young girl. From paintings, to business ventures, to goals of personal growth, I get all revved up and then sputter out before I can reach my end goal. Usually, I am able to stay singularly focused on an idea in the beginning phases, and when it gets into the technical or challenging stages of having to figure stuff out and make decisions, I step away from the project. Before I know it, I am flooded with new ideas that seem more important in the moment and I'm off on my next creative adventure. I get completely distracted and try to head in too many directions, until I don't end up finishing any one thing. I leave a trail of partially completed projects in my wake. It's dreadfully frustrating.

I wonder if this is a normal problem for creative people. I know my husband has dealt with it in his wood shop too, but he seems to be resolving the issue by prioritizing and getting very clear on his most passionate and important work. Again, I am reminded how important focus is- and how difficult it is for me. Now that I've identified this as one of my greatest creative challenges, I must figure out a way to focus and see my ideas through to completion. There are so many brave ideas wanting to be born!

I started today by finishing one thing.
I began this mixed media piece for my husband's birthday (um, 3 years ago?). It was in homage to his first foray into guitar building. I lost my vision for the final collage-style frame construction and ended up giving it to him as a work in progress. He will be shocked (pleasantly I hope) to see it finished, as it's been a running joke among my other abandon pieces. When all was said and done, it wasn't that hard to complete once I picked it back up. Perhaps I needed some (extra long) time away to contemplate the final design. I stained the wooden support, added some old guitar strings, snuck Rodney's logo brand out of his wood shop, and glued it all together. It took all of an hour. But it's been nagging me for three years. Lesson learned.

And so the Queen of Unfinished Projects steps down from her throne.

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