Limbo in the Studio

No, I’m not doing that crazy dance where you try to defy gravity while wriggling under a low bar! I don’t have the limber for the limbo, and besides, I don’t have room in my studio for such shenanigans. This is Limbo in the sense of that suspended room between Heaven and Hell, where time has no meaning and not much really happens except the most exquisitely refined essence of boredom. With nowhere to go, no one to see, nowhere to sell, it’s easy to slip into one day being much like any other.

Now, I’m not usually one to succumb to boredom (there’s always something to do!), but an entire year has slipped by since my last couple of posts, and not a lot has changed. All of last year’s bright-shiny-new-year good intentions to keep up the blog and the social media stuff evaporated in a fog of continuing pandemic ennui. By the time December rolled around, I felt like I hadn’t done much at all for a whole year! But — ta-da! — I habitually keep a journal, and I do document pretty much everything creative I do, so I went hunting for clues that I had actually been alive and functioning as something other than a cat-serving robot for the last year. My search confirmed that yes, I had been much less “productive” than is normal for me, but I had not been idle.

I found this very reassuring. So not only do I feel better about last year, but now I have something to write about, and some art to show you, as I once more make extravagant promises about hitching up my various social media beasties to my creative wagon, gathering up the reins, and shouting “giddyup!”. So here’s some of my faves from the past year:

Scatcat and Nova the Space Cat in an offstage moment.

I’ve already reported on the beginning of last year in the post I made about the 12 Days of Zooly, so I won’t repeat that here. I did do the Opus Daily Practice Challenge again in February, which is coming up again in a few days! — what would I do without art challenges?

I always try to pick a theme for my challenges, though that often mutates as the challenge develops. This time I decided to work on drawing faces. This quickly bored me (which is probably why I don’t work on them enough!) and I branched off into figures, then, predictably, to fantasy and animals.

I had also decided I’d be working in my sketchbook, but I got tired of that too — so I switched back and forth between sketchbook and Procreate on my iPad. Which was just as well, I needed the variety and to stretch my digital skills a bit too. The little fellow with the baby Phoenix above was done entirely digitally, even though it looks like pencils on coloured paper; really the techniques are not that different!

Pan and his bird buddy are digital; Mama and Kitten are pencil in sketchbook; the Lion is digital.

I had been working in Procreate all along for the Quadra Cats, but working in greyscale with a set of established characters is quite different to working in colour with new subjects. I even played a little with some very different styles, which was lots of fun.

This simplifying led to making a multi-panel exploration of the philosophical implications of the word “pride” — I forget how it came about, but there was a conversation I was involved in on Facebook which caused me to write a short essay on my thoughts around the subject, which then of course needed to be illustrated!

I’ve continued to work (way too slowly) on the fourth book in the “Explore with Sam and Crystal” series, which is to be about orcas and their many interconnections, both in the natural world and with humans. I admit I’m having trouble getting traction with this; it’s a huge project, and with the state of mind I find myself in amid all the things that are going on in the world, small projects just seem to be more doable. Some sketches from early in the year:

I’ll save the rest of last year for the next post — see, a cliffhanger for both reader and writer, to make sure we both come back! Until then, I’ll leave you with this thought:

If you find yourself struggling to create while in limbo, size your projects to fit the confines of your energy, attention span, and time available, not to mention the square footage of your particular limbo environment. Remember, the tiniest motion can still be an act of creation!

3 responses to “Limbo in the Studio

  1. Pingback: The Hot Summer Zoo | Karen Gillmore Art·

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