This week I immersed myself in the project of creating five original card designs for my dear friend, Liz. She asked me if I would consider designing some cards for her organization that she and her business partner, Michelle, could use as a fundraising tool. I loved being offered this challenge and opportunity. I was given complete freedom to approach the task, with no specific direction or expectations.
That freedom made the project a lot of fun, but it also was a bit daunting! So many decisions to make. What colors should I use? How can I make these designs look like a cohesive “set?” What would the unifying theme be? Should I continue working with geometric design, or try something more flowing, more symbolic, or even more abstract? Will the designs meet their expectations?
I began the process the way I always do, by playing around with various papers to see what colors and patterns catch my eye. I decided I would work on a smaller scale for this project, so began cutting 9″ x 12″ pieces of mat board while I mulled over paper choice and design ideas.
Colors? I had an inspiration that the organization’s logo would be a great way to focus my paper choices and give the designs a cohesive feel. As a bonus, I thought the images could work as a branding tool!
Once the papers were selected and the size determined, I grabbed my newsprint pad and sketched some ideas. These sketches were just a starting point. The thing that happens whenever I work on a piece – even if I start with a clear design and idea – is that it ALWAYS evolves and changes as I work with it! The finished piece is never identical to the initial concept. That’s what makes the creative process so much fun. There is an elusive, mysterious “dialogue” that occurs between the artist and the image in progress. It is literally interactive. Sometimes I will look at a piece for hours, moving various shapes and colors around until I receive the “aha” insight that this particular position, color, shape is the perfect one. Only then do I glue the paper to the mat board.
And, yes, those geometric patterns seem to keep coming through me, so I “obey” and allow them to emerge!
Creating art is a profound meditation. I lose all sense of time and place while I’m working. I don’t think about anything. I am solely focused on the image as it evolves. This state of meditation is exhilarating beyond description. And when the piece is complete, there is a rewarding sense of rightness, of satisfaction and joy, and sometimes awe, that something that did not exist before has emerged out of nothingness to concretely exist in the world. It’s magic!