Working In a Vacuum
Recently I’ve spent the majority of my time in my darkroom, alone, printing. I’ve created and tweaked so many prints I’ve lost count.
As the project takes shape, I’ve found myself becoming overly critical of the prints, staring at them for too long and making lists of all the things I want to change. Now this isn’t a bad thing, per say, but it does get to the point where it can be so easy to lose yourself in the vacuum you’ve created. The Kolb reflective cycle is something I’ve used from the very start of my educational career (alongside the Gibbs reflective cycle), but these don't help establish a finish point, especially in the case of artwort.
It's difficult to know when you're done but far too easy to overwork an image. Unfortunately overworking is something I've been guilty of in the past so now I've learned to take a step back. When I feel like something is about right I leave it for a few days/weeks/months. Returning to it with 'fresh eyes' allows me to reconsider the peice and more often than not I realise there's very little left that actually needs doing.
This is also where an artists network comes into it's own. For the most part you work alone, conceptualising and then actualising the project. It is so very easy to become lost in it all and swept along until the work morphs into something unrcognisable. To stop this, I've found critique sessons unbelievably helpful. Even those people who aren't artistically incline can offer interesting insight into your work and help you guage if youre achieving what you set out to.
At the moment I've moved on from my first image, setting it aside in favour of working on the next set of images. It's fortunate that I can do this as it means I can still be productive whilst taking a break from the work that is stumping me. When I get to this point with the next lot of images (which is a certainty) I'll go back to the previous series. This to-ing and fro-ing should help eliminate some of the issues that I have as long as I manage my time. I'm hopeing to put together a critique session at college with my peers as well. Whilst I have this tool at my dispsal I might as well use it. For now though, I'll set series one aside and start making series two. Moving on from the forest to butterflies. Wish me luck.