Attempting to break out of my artistic doldrums, I suited up and braved the cold weather to try some snow sculpture.
This cat is about three feet tall, with eyes and nose of stone, and whiskers of white pine.
The day was sunny for the first time in a long string of dark days, so I thought the snow would be prime for sculpting. However, it was still very powdery, and not packable. I had to bring buckets of water to mix with the snow to get it to stick to itself. I had a blast (by myself!) and managed to learn a lot about making non-snowman objects out of snow.
I started by shoveling a mound, then adding buckets of half water/half snow to the pile and stirring it up before it would congeal into packable matter. After that, I made additions by wetting both surfaces to be joined. It was cold enough, despite the sun, that the slushy mixture became icy pretty quickly, but that allowed me to use a garden trowel to scrape away and carve. .
My results are blocky and a bit rough. I would have continued for much longer, refining things here and there, if my feet had not turned to ice in my boots. Plus, I had already been working for three hours and needed to move on with the more responsible parts of my day.
The snow cat is thoroughly melting now because we’ve had some rain, but that is the way of temporary installations. When this one melts away, I would definitely try it again! I highly recommend snow sculpture, if you’ve got the available materials.
I find myself struggling with my art. I don’t know what to draw. Cats, of course, but I feel as if there should be more to it. Should I expand my subject matter? Create more complex compositions? Work larger? Draw in a series? Switch to acrylic? Build little theatrical scenes? Print and sew more fiber-related works? Work in a series? Develop a narrative? I want to do everything, and so, feeling overwhelmed, do very little.
I made this drawing during a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare airport when I was traveling over the holiday.
The next two months will be consumed with creating costumes for a local high school production, and teaching adult art workshops. I look forward to do both of these things, but they also distract me from the work of my own art. At the same time, these experiences can also invigorate my personal practice. Maybe there something about the costuming that I want to incorporate into the personal lexicon of my art making? And, I always learn something new by teaching what I already know to others.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? I’d like to hear how other creatives work through their less productive spells.
Random objects usually go on a shelf in my studio where they pile up as remembrances of people, places, or events. I used one such corner as inspiration for Day 3 of Inktober.
Day 3: Collect
The treasures on this shelf in my studio were given to me by friends, relatives, and former students.
The oldest item on the shelf is the cloth clown that I got at an art fair 20 years ago! The waving red cat, the blue sparkle cat, the giant black bird, and the can of soup all came from students. Every object here has a story that helps construct my memories.
A trinket from the fair. A little souvenir. Small gifts from friends. Do you have a collection of such things?