Reflecting on ICAD 2017 Week 4
Yesterday marked the end of Week 4 for the 2017 Index-Card-a-Day Challenge, a daily art challenge in which you create something each day on index card for the 61 days of June and July. Last night, before it got dark, I thought I should grab my weekly group photo so that I could slide it in today amid my work hours. Now that I am home again, I feel out of sorts. I wasn’t ready to come home, and I feel unsettled in my space. I got comfortable in the space of my mother’s house, the open living room, the easiness of certain things, the abundance of light just a few steps away, the ability to walk to the door and let light pour in through the porch door or walk outside. Three weeks away and a series of Thursdays and Fridays off also gave me a rare feeling of decadence in terms of time. Each Thursday, I had the chance to sit and reflect on the previous week of ICAD. I had the extra brain space to contemplate creative things, even if I didn’t really have the time or tools there to bring things about. Four-day weekends and three-day work weeks. Luxurious. Decadent. Fleeting.
Home again, and back to a regular work week, Thursday dawned differently. I have been sitting at my desk all week, in a room that is too dark, with my back to the door and the window. I sit here all day every day, closed in and longing for space and light. Simple things like positioning make a huge difference, and sometimes we only realize these things through contrast or juxtaposition. I can’t reorient my office or my work schedule. This is, I suppose, the beauty of small vacations or periods of time away. We get to breathe differently. We get to expand. We get to settle into spaces and rhythms that are different from our own. But we have to return. We have to snap back into gear and focus and our own realities and day-to-day. We have to find the thread of forward motion that keeps us moving in our days and keeps us dodging stillness and discontent.
My “self” needs a good talking to, for sure. I am watching that part of me even as I watch this week slide away. I am watching, cautious. I know my own warning signs. I know this feeling. I am watching, puzzled, really, by the feelings of this week. I am watching, puzzled by the reality that the entire month of June passed without a podcast, by how quickly time moves and by how easily these kinds of gaps can happen.
So yesterday marked the end of ICAD Week 4. Thinking I would beat the schedule by taking a photo ahead of time, I cleared the cutting mat on the table and pulled out the cards for the week. All of these were inside the pink clipboard case I’ve been using as a convenient drawing board. But I could only find 6. Puzzled, I opened the manila envelope that I’ve been toting around with the cards for this year. Most of the cards are dated, and in riffling through them, I found one that is not dated and two that have the same date, so one is clearly an error. But I didn’t find the missing card. I counted again. Six. I mentally paired the cards with the days… birthday… Saturday…. plane trip home… Monday… Tuesday… The other one must have been Thursday, although I couldn’t place the doing of that one even though it’s a favorite. No day unaccounted. And then I realized that the missing day was “that” day… Wednesday.
I couldn’t take my group photo because I hadn’t yet drawn my card for the day!
So, I will take it today and will slot it into this space, a precursor to my thoughts on the week and on being home. I think Week 4 has yielded some of my favorite cards so far, although the very first card remains my favorite, which is puzzling. I firmly believe that after 28 drawings (for the challenge and at least a dozen or so before the challenge) in this style, I am improving. But the very first card remains my favorite. That’s a mental brain teaser that I think about now and again. But, Week 4 contains some favorites… the one red herring is the birthday selfie. If I could remove one piece from my series, it would be that one. That saddens me because it was a card to mark my birthday, to mark a day that has far too much self-imposed philosophy for me. I should have done a straight ballpoint. I should have steered clear of the idea of using the black chip. I should have told my tired self late that night that without the right “colors” of pen on hand, the rainbow hair was a bad, bad, bad idea. I should have realized the “hardness” of the card that would emerge from the choices I made.
If I could remove one card, it would be that one. It is the jarring card of the week. It, along with a green and a magenta paint chip in the two prior weeks, will stand out in this series in ways I don’t like. I should have respected my own series and desire for this soft blue exploration. (I don’t want to use blue ink in general — it isn’t me. But the ballpoint blue has won my heart.)
So, Week 4 is a mixed bag. But Week 4 contains a sailor (or so I envision him), a prairie girl, a woman with sunglasses and green hair (that I know even though I didn’t show it), and two other portraits based on photos that really speak to me. The final piece, contains a touch of color that I may regret, but as I looked at the drawing last night, a drawing that ends up with a slightly hard edge to it, I added in the pink for the cheek hearts. It is true to the photo. These little bits of experiment often end up the little bits I wish I had not done. At the same time, these bits are part of the exploration and experiment.
I remain really happy with ballpoint, and I think my “pressure” is getting better. I continue to work with that aspect, and I can feel a change when I hold the pen. I also see improvements in other ways.
I may only manage one drawing a day, but right now I am happy with what I am doing and with the inner drive that keeps me doing it each day.