On Friday, I decided to let go and see where the “I don’t know” would take me.
I let go of the desire to make good art and embraced the fact that, as I picked up my scissors, cut into my painted papers and pasted them onto a pre-coloured background, I had no idea what I was making or where the work was going. The idea was just to play, to create freely without ideas or expectations.
Now, if the truth be told, this idea of total freedom was not entirely true…
The one expectation I had was that the piece I was creating would be of a size that could fit into a particular box frame I had waiting for it, if I deemed it worthy.
The one idea I had was that I would create something inspired by the work of Jonathan McCree, whose works of “almost symmetry” had so inspired me.
What I was not expecting, when I felt I was coming close to just trying the piece in the frame, was that it would not fit. The background paper which I had cut some weeks earlier was not, as I had thought, the size of the frame. It was a little larger and I had been collaging away without realising that what I was creating would be so much larger than the frame that even a careful cropping to the edges of the image would not be enough to squeeze it in.
After careful consideration, I decided that this was a lesson to me. I chose to see this as a happy accident, pushing me out of my comfort zone, reminding me not to be attached to a particular outcome and forcing me to take the work in a direction I had not intended.
So, feeling less frustrated by little hurdle than I was excited by the possibilities, I moved forward with the piece, carefully cutting round the shapes with a view to reassembling them on a different background to fit the frame. I loved the new shapes that emerged. I was thrilled by the different configurations I was able to make. It may take a little longer for me to figure out how to finish this, but I am happy to wait. The way the individual elements looked once separated from the background gave rise to a whole stream of unforeseen options that would never have arisen had I stuck with my original path.
Today, I am grateful for happy accidents.
I am loving my lessons in letting go.
I am looking forward to seeing where the next step takes me.
Do you have any stories of letting go and how doing so has impacted your life or your art? I would love to hear your experiences. Please feel free to share them here.