The Power of 1

Three Dog Night was wrong, 1 is not a lonely number. From my perspective, the power of 1 is a place of professional and personal strength. For me it is impossible to separate life and work, they are so deeply interwoven into a seamless whole.

Often, artists and designers are accused of being self centered–we’re not, not really. For some, like me, the solitary stance is necessary to be able to hear the ideas that flow through and around me. Professionally, like the sun king, I’m the center of my own creative life’s universe. Mark Twain very aptly said, ‘Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head.” I choose to live my life in the middle of that storm and to use it to propel forward motion–for myself.

Sometimes I find myself unable (or unwilling?) to start a new project until it is visualized in my head. These broad ideas are the big picture that I work out in detail later. I never get it right the first time–that’s where the designer’s skill comes into play. If I don’t get it right and I loose the thread of the idea I work on developing it so becomes something more richly detailed sophisticated than the big picture was. Drawing, for me, is like the sirens beckoning sailors to crash on the rocks, I draw to call back and develop ideas more fully than they are in the rocks of my mind’s eye.

I do collaborate sometimes. I’ve worked with others who plod and work through ideas–I can do that, but it doesn’t result in my best work. In the busy season, when I sometimes have studio assistants, when I’m hanging around the studio making myself busy with other things they think I’m procrastinating, doing nothing, wasting time, pacing aimlessly. They’re not quiet enough, they don’t understand the process, and they haven’t learned to be their own centers yet.

5 thoughts on “The Power of 1

  1. The creative process is a fascinating unfolding you almost feel guilty watching unfold. Almost. 😉 Seeing another’s enthusiasms and despairs bubbling is pretty wild and strictly personal. We all do this differently, yet the same – we that cause the end product – rendering a blank canvas something living and vibrant, fraught with personal meaning and subtlety. Inevitably it has meaning for ourselves, of course, but perhaps more importantly, it is humanely and sympathetically interpreted for our clients. You have a very refreshing honesty, Miss Rumphius. If I may, allow me to empathize a little. I feel the same at my best.

  2. Steve–The more I think about these things the deeper I go. I’m kind of glad I can hide behind Miss R…

  3. Some of my best (and worst) ideas come to me when it looks like I’m procrastinating. My brain goes into freefall and wherever it lands is usually a great starting point.

  4. I think the plodding part is actually craft, not art. I can design a yard by simply placing things around till it looks good. The customer wants a fire pit, ok put it over there, a BBQ could go over here. They want a Sonoran look so a couple of Mesquite trees, five Sages and twelve Lantana, add a couple boulders, one Agave and poof! But to me, this is not inspiration or art. I need a feeling, a concept or some sort of a vision to start. Till that happens, I procrastinate. My mind is working on the problem though, that never stops. If I drive across town and every plant, every rock, brick, patio, trellis, everything I see goes into the grinder. I was at a mall once and I saw this large pot with a mosaic tile design on it. The colors and the texture got me going. It’s like something connects and I’m off. Till then it’s all nervous energy.

    Anyway, that’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

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