Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Do I really get paid for thinking?

On the Poppet Planet forums, someone asked me how long it takes to paint Poppets. " How long...?" is the question asked more often than any other when I exhibit art. I must confess, after about thirty of these I'm fairly likely to put on a Zen face and answer, "moo." (Mu)

Not so much that it's a dumb question, but that it's a question without an answer. Sure, it doesn't rate with "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Still, it requires travel.

In other words, the answer is complex.

The techniques I use are based on layers of color, ( which I hope to demonstrate on the forums eventually) and were developed over many years. Because of that, I'm capable of working quickly.

Given a Poppet and paints, could I paint a Little Red Poppet in five minutes? Yes. and No.

Yes, in a "vacuum" with no curing or drying times, no preparation. But, with a system in place,(e.g., a paid staff) could I paint 100 Poppets at an average of 5 minutes each? Possibly. Would I want to?

I'm gonna say no, or at least, not today.

Some pieces take longer than others. Titania took what seemed like forever, because she was the first in a series (Midsummer Night's Dream.)

Let me explain why this matters.

Creating a series is a rather big undertaking. First, because it carries several obligations to my collectors.

When I start a series, (like the Wonderland Poppets) I'm committing to create as many as it takes for collectors to complete their sets. At some point, when I stop making them (and I definitely will) I'll give collectors who already have partial sets the opportunity to complete.

Now, that said, I also must make each character unique in some way. I must rethink the character each time I make one, so there's some facet that's not present in any of the others. Sometimes easy---sometimes not so very.

In addition, I must choose and commit to a painting style and color palette for each series. Which brings me back to why Titania took so long. I had to find a palette that worked well for this series' theme and that would set it apart from other series. I established patterns and colors for Titania that could be modified to work for the others in the group. Then, I have to stick with it throughout the series. Not always easy for the traveling sort of mind.

And finally, records must be kept of how many of each character was created, when, and where it went when it left the studio.

So, when I calculate the time it took to paint Titania, if I'm to be accurate (You can take the girl out of the laboratory....) I must consider work experience, product development, research, time spent thinking about the work and finally, execution (which includes curing and drying times.

It's why sometimes I really enjoy going 'off track' and making strange little single Poppets that don't quite fit anywhere except that they're Poppets.

Original works (the gallery pieces) are very different from collectible works and carry a whole different set of considerations.

I'd say, with the exception of a few experiences, the majority of time spent for every work I make(including and especially the gallery pieces) is the thinking about what, why and then, how.

In other words, the creative process, like time, is not a constant.

If you'd like to delve into this aspect of creating art, or have any questions, come to the forums and we'll dig deeper.

It's full blown desert hot here today. Time to hit the water.
Time to replace all our lightbulbs with CFL's.

* * * ravyn here * * *

Sweet little Faerydusted1 has nominated this blog for a Blogger's Choice Award, in four categories including:

My site was nominated for Best Blog of All Time!

Thanks, FD1 !! And the rest of you, vote early and vote often! **winks**


lisa said...

It's weird, I was looking at this and realizing there's no category for art blogs. Also, looking at all the categories makes me realize that my blog----though to me seems to be all about the creative process---probably seems like a weird mix of little stuff about not too much. I started thinking maybe I should refocus, or plan things a bit better instead of writing whatever's in my head at the end of the day. I started to feel a bit self-conscious about the whole thing. Then I decided a better plan, at least for now, is to remain mostly ignorant about what happens outside of here. I'm sort of comfortable in this little corner of mine. It's a fucked up world out there. I like it better in my head---it's quieter and there's more room to move around in. Still, I'm extremely fortunate that some of you joined me here. Thanks!

chrisa511 said...

We like it in your head too Lisa :) One of the things that I love about your blog is that we do get to see so much about what's going on in your head at the end of the day and in my opinion that's as much about the creative process as anything. It's wonderful to see what inspires you...what moods trigger certain projects, what dreams lead to new creations...it's all part of something bigger.

But I understand your feelings. My blog has absolutely no rhyme or reason to it and I often feel that it just makes no sense and is to illogical...not that my blog ever aimed to be anything in particular. I don't feel that your blog is like that though. I find your blog to be really cohesive when it comes to art, thoughts, processes, emotions, experiences. But like you said, at the end of the day, I'm kind of comfortable with my blog and it works for me. Why fix it if it's not broken...

lisa said...

Chris. Thanks for that. Sounds like good advice. My first year of blogging was full of well- thought- out essays. It became a creative outlet for writing. Later, mostly because Poppet Planet grew so fast, there was little time, so I was forced to find 'my voice.' Turns out, the easiest way to do that is to forget about me, and think about my readers, because most of you have accepted that I'm a bit obsessed with the creative process, that sometimes I get a little weird, and mostly I'm finding my way, just like everyone else.

Dan Guy said...

Given that it's run by PayPerPost, I'm sure they didn't give a lot of thought to creating categories to represent the true spectrum of the blogosphere, but rather what would garner them the most attention with the least work.

Trying to prune back your organic randomness and "refocus" sounds like the worst possible recipe for fun and successful blogging. ^_^

faerydusted1 said...

Hahaha... I think I did that ages ago. I remember being very confused at the lack of art blog and other than the 'best blog evah' being a little like 'well, ok, Lisa could fit into this category'. xP

I expect your voice would change naturally as you progress, but I hope you don't reorginize because of all that. I nominated this spot in the hopes of exposing other people to a blog where its honest. Sometimes its funny, sometimes its gritty. But its always sincere, and that's pretty rare these days.

I would hope you wouldn't let the pressure of 'hottest mom blogger' sway your writing style.

(I really just couldn't resist that one... please forgive me ;P)

And that's all I have to say about that.

(BTW, you are still one of the few blogs that I get through a feed on lj at work, since blogger is blocked. Funny that I can get to poppet planet just fine. And live journal, for that matter. Go figure.)

Work now. Coffee Please.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Being up for a "Hottest Mommy Blogger" award should in no way change your writing style.

It might, however, tempt you into putting a few more photos of you in that suit by the pool with Orion up on the blog.

And I couldn't help noticing that Neil is up for "Hottest Daddy Blogger." Make of that what you will.

Damn! I know Hot people!

Really enjoyed your piece on the poppet process, btw. Thanks.

Michelle Liebgott-Osinga said...

Perhaps this isn't really the right place to ask, but I have been trying to figure out what material your Poppets are made of. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Dan Guy and Faerydusted1: Yeah, I know it's BS, but here's the thing--I'm guessing that most of the readers of this blog enjoy 'poppetvision' because they already understood what it is, if not by that particular name. Poppets seem to give us a focus for a point of view (broad, self-teaching, exploring, tolerant, etc) I'm fairly certain most came here because they were readers already. After all, a lot of you came here from Neil Gaiman's blog (because he sent you---thanks Neil!) so are already of a kin. When something like this silly blogger thing comes up, it's an opportunity (albeit narrow) to bring in someone who was looking for us but had no idea they were. And, it's free. Some of you have probably figured out that I don't make a lot of money on Little Red (and now Blue) Poppets. Those guys are about the message. Always have been, always will be. It's the gallery pieces and the collectible poppets that make this possible. I am deeply indebted to my collectors.
That said, whew---almost became a sermon---yes, I'll accept those Hot Mommie votes. It all comes back to 'the cause.'

Unknown said...

Michelle: You can ask anything here. The Poppets are cast from resin and marble dust---that's what gives them weight and why they feel a bit cold to the touch.
Some people call this "Cold Cast Marble" but really, it's marble dust mixed into resin.

Unknown said...

Jordan's Mom: You crack me up!

Hmmm. dunno about that---I'm all for the cause, but am I willing to post a hot mommy shot for the cause? I know.., I danced in a rat suit... Still, I have 5 votes. How many does Neil have? Like 5000? He didn't have to pose in a wetsuit. You're telling me the poppet diving video wasn't enough for you guys. Hmmm, What must I be doing wrong here?

faerydusted1 said...

Up early again! We're making a habit of this. ;D

One small point- I didn't head over here because of Neil's blog. I started following Neil's after yours. No lie. (So although I have read his stuff for years, I was totally your squeeing fangirl first. So there. xP)

I found your work from a friend who said 'Hey, you've got to go check this Hot Mommy Blogger'.
Or something like that...

But I think I get what you're saying, maybe. There's a pressure to be what you think a group of people might want. Especially when faced with a larger population.

Keeping yourself centered in all of that is a ginormous task- and a lot to ask.

But enough of this self-doubt! We have spoken. And we are a selfish bunch. We like our Lisa writing what she writes and it must not change.

(I think the voting is skewed anyway- you have to search for the one you vote for to find it...)

Carl V. Anderson said...

"Creating a series is a rather big undertaking. First, because it carries several obligations to my collectors"

I love that sentence for so many reasons. First, because I never really thought very hard about how much work a series actually would be, and second because I love that you, as an artist, care that much about those of us who collect what you create.

Making various series with Poppets seems to me like a really cool adventure, considering the fact that you could do this with any subject matter you are interested in. The nearly endless amount of choices make what you do chose to work on very interesting, and I always enjoy your representations of the various characters. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future.

Isman H. Suryaman said...

If you lived in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, you could've answered, "About five kilometers."

Because that kind of distance in Jakarta could mean five minutes, one hour, or Mu. It's no longer a pure logical activity. For an average citizen, it already involves a lot of free time to stare into nowhere and think, "Why am I here?" (or sometimes, "Where are my clothes?")

Anyway, I'm very interested in a book/poppet exchange. However, you might need a crash course in Indonesian to read my books. Let me know if you're still up for it.

lisa said...

the fool: I know...I have no good 'excuse' for some of the books in my collection. Still, I'm fairly certain they're supposed to be there, and somewhat hopeful eventually I'll figure out why. email me at Poppetplanetgirl@aol.com and we'll make arrangements.

---possibly it's the Poppet who is supposed to be with YOU