Laser-Like Focus

A new and interesting shift is taking place in my mind. I’ve noticed there are subject matters that I’m consistently obsessed with. I’m falling in love with the idea of focusing on them, one at a time, and exploring them to their fullest extent.Owl Work in Progress

I come up with ideas for paintings much faster than I can produce them, so I’ve got a massive amount of material to choose from when it comes time to begin a new piece. In the past, this has meant that I’ve flitted from one idea to the next, which is exciting and I’ve had great fun with it. The mounting downside of this has been that for every painting I produce there are at least half a dozen brother and sister paintings that are along the same theme, which are abandoned.

I’ve received many mini nudges from the universe lately, urging me to put down the shiny new toy. One of the more potent has been witnessing the unfurling of artist, Rita Maria’s Broken Wing series. She’s up to Broken Wing no. 15 and all fifteen of them are the cat’s pyjamas, although my personal favourite is no. 4.

That’s an interesting thought that — no. 4 is my favourite. That’s three whole paintings on the same theme that were created before the one that makes my heart go thump! It makes me wonder what my fourth owl would have looked like, my fourth tulip field, my fourth daydreamer?

I found myself fantasising about creating a cohesive series of paintings again when I came across a blog post by jeweller and crafter, Jess Van Den, titled “10 Steps for a Successful Handmade Product Launch”. Jess recommends releasing a coherent range rather than individual products. I’ve set opening an Etsy shop as a goal of mine for next year, so this got me fantasising about my shop launch Big Time!

My final nudge from the universe was a question posed by a fellow e-course classmate, Lynn Richards: “What’s more exhausting to you? Doing multiples of something or creating something new with each canvas?” I don’t know for sure because I’ve never created multiples of something but I absolutely know that creating a new piece takes an enormous investment of time and energy. I wouldn’t describe it as exhausting but it’s certainly a major commitment of resources.

I don’t spend the majority of my time painting and I’m a pretty slow worker so I’m sadly far from prolific. Given my limited productivity, I’m very particular about which ideas I commit to. The more I think about it, the more it seems like madness to dedicate so much energy and time to a new idea and to then only create a single piece! I think I would be much more productive and happier were I to steadily work on a single theme until I’m sated.

This has been a very long-winded way of announcing that I’ll be focusing on painting owls for a little while (can you see the owl outline in the new painting above?)! Owls have been a persistent obsession of mine and I swear there are an infinite variety of ways to depict them. Especially when you put them in all sorts of pants…

5 Comments Laser-Like Focus

  1. rita maria

    katherine, so glad you have been inspired! this is the first time i’ve done a series and i’ve found that sticking to a subject that really speaks to me has allowed me to explore myself as an artist with more focus. i can dive a little deeper in my lessons before moving on to the next subject.

    good luck! i will be watching to see what you are up to!

    with heart, rita maria

    1. Katherine

      Rita, there are always, always things in a painting that I look at and think “I would do that differently”, and now I can! What a revelation! I’m very much looking forward to the discoveries. and learnings.

  2. Deborah Velasquez

    Happy your focus will be owls. Can’t wait to see more. Have you been by this site? If so, what do you think? If not , enjoy!

    I love following your travels. Your photo stories are wonderful and inspiring.

    Thanks for your words on my Lessons Learned in Art School post. Art school was probably a good experience for me because I bounced around looking for that area to dedicate myself to. I had a lot of fun because I never committed to one thing. Now my art is more of line of many things as opposed to just one sole focus. Good or bad not sure but I sure enjoy myself. Do people really have bad art school experiences? Jealous professors I wonder? I remember always being broke, making lots of friends and working on assignments last minute. Best part of it all I still have close friendships from my art school days. I learned that just because I don’t know how to do something doesn’t I can’t.

    Have great weekend. -D

    1. Katherine

      Hi Deborah, thanks for dropping by. Hehe, I am in fact familiar with My Owl Barn as one of my owls is fortunate enough to be in their 2012 calendar!

      Oh man, you’re making me want to go to art school! In fact, I would say I hear about more bad art school experiences than good. Mostly people who were scarred by raging teachers kicking their foot through a student’s canvas — that sort of thing. I’ve always thought that I’m far too sensitive to survive art school. I guess people are more verbal about bad experiences than good though. All the more reason to write about your experiences on your blog! nudge nudge ;)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *