Creating a good work of art takes time.
It demands patience.
It can't be rushed.
There will be days, months, years even, when you look at your canvas and think all the time you've spent on it has been for nothing.
But that's just exactly when you have to keep on going.
Because the day will arrive when you realize that all those insignificant little dots were adding up to something extraordinary.
While I certainly do not count myself as an artist per se, I do consider any room that I design a canvas of sorts. For that matter, I consider life to be a canvas of sorts, but that is a dissertation for another day. As with many artists, I fall victim to self-doubt throughout the ebb and flow of my creative process. This round of The One Room Challenge™ is no exception. Here in week 5 I have to remind myself to just keep on going because it feels as though no significant progress has been made even though I have been working all week in this 5 x 11 box of a room.
If you have no earthly idea what I am talking about then get out from under your rock and read about it here. If you are visiting for the first time, what took you so damn long? I am re-doing my bathroom in 6 weeks as part of The One Room Challenge™ linking event. For a recap of weeks 1 – 4 click on the links below:
Whenever I find myself with a crisis of confidence or in a creative stale mate, I seek inspiration from kindred spirit animals. Lisa Borgnes Giramonti is one such animal. Although we have never spoken or even ever exchanged so much as an email, I am wildly inspired by her. I feel her, deeply. I react viscerally to her writing, her love of literature, and her profound appreciation for detail in the art of living. The art of living is something about which I feel quite passionate. While I concede that we are not solving humanity's problems with good design or the One Room Challenge, specifically, the importance of art in life, which as it turns out, is nothing more than committing to something and following through wholeheartedly with your best work or intention, is as vitally important as breathing.
Committing to a challenge to re-do a room from start to finish in 6 weeks may seem easy. It may even seem frivolous. Let me assure you, that it is not. When you add to that - public accountability in the social media arena, it is a downright terrifyingly defining call-to-action. Even when armed with a team of professionals ready to do your bidding, delays happen. And I don’t have a team of professionals on hand… The deadline is precisely what makes participating in this so exciting and nerve-wracking and marriage-wrecking all wrapped into one. Even though art cannot be rushed, deadlines keep us accountable. As Ira Glass advocates, all of us who do creative work get into it because we have decent taste, or at least we think we do, and we realize that we must do a lot of work, even if it isn't that great, in order to create something extraordinarily special. We must set deadlines for ourselves to turn out the work. Each and every time I agree to do the ORC, I know I am chasing that elusive 'special greatness' or in the parlance of connoisseurs, my master piece. But, as Ira points out, most quit too soon. Most give up in the mediocre stages of creation, and this is what I must remind myself in the midst of each round - especially in week 5 with disparate patches of dry wall dots. I know I am not great. I know that my reach does not always match my vision. But one thing I have learned from being a perfectionist, is that it is far better to try and fail with your whole heart, then to have never failed at all because you didn't try, or worse, because you only tried half-heartedly.
This ORC thing is mind boggling to my mister. It is down right confounding to my non-design amigos. It seems easy to my fellow arm-chair decorating enthusiasts who peruse Pinterest and tear inspiration sheets from shelter mags. I know this first hand because I was one during the first handful of rounds. It is an entirely different thing altogether to design a room and take it from concept through to full installation – let alone do it in 6 weeks, in the public arena, on any kind of reasonable budget.
My friend Linda from Calling it Home started this brilliant ORC a few years ago and it has since become a major phenomenon, rightfully so, trademarked, with mega watt participants, mondo reno budgets, sponsors, and editorial worthy results. But at its core the ORC has always been about motivating and inspiring creative people to do more of their own work. As a result, legions of creatives have rallied to the call and have done an extraordinary thing. They have created. And continue to create their own work and put it out there, which in turn, inspires others to create. While I stress about whether or not I will finish, or while I experience crazy pangs of anxiety about falling short, or whether or not my vision will live up to expectation, I remind myself of both the smallness and bigness of the task at hand. I am creating for creation sake, with my whole heart, so that one day, after many, many creations, I can realize that special thing. But it is also just a damn room.
What does all this rambling esoteric mumbo jumbo mean? It means that I need to simply get on with it, and leave the doubt behind. I will do what I set out do. Create a room. It may be great or it may not. I hope it happens within the allotted amount of time. At the outset in Week 1, I said this would be a simple refresh project. Slap some paint on the walls, switch out some hardware, and fancy up a shower curtain. Best laid plans of mice and men…
But like with many projects, scope creep has happened. Things have evolved from the original plan...
Instead of a simple vanity light swap, I got blinded by the light of gold petal sconces and a vintage glamazon 70s brass chrome paramour that I have been quietly stalking for no less than 2 years. No exaggeration.
Last week I left off hoping that we could run the electricity without incident over the weekend and I am happy to report that our marriage survived the task at hand. The kharmic explosion of the combo fan/light, while in my best interests for a new-to-me brass light, left a huge gaping square hole in the ceiling. We got the electrical sorted out and in the practical interest of ease, we elected to wait to put the fixtures up until after painting, given the size and shape of the fixtures. Fingers crossed our electrical wizardry is correct.
Moving electricity from an overhead vanity to sconces and replacing a torched overhead fan/light combo has resulted in the neverending patch work story. Which leads to lots of waiting for said patches to dry. And lots of sanding. And lots of cleaning. And more patching and more waiting. And more sanding. Rinse and repeat. While I was up on my ladder patching holes, I came face to face with the slap shod drywall work I did 8 years ago. It was lumpy bumpy at best. I rushed the paint job 8 years ago and I am rectifying those mistakes this go round. That of course means more sanding and patching. But I have made progress, or at least more of a mess. Case in point:
|in which I thought I was done with a few simple patches|
|in which I realized that the walls looked like the back of my thighs|
|oh look, a tiny hole patch...|
|oh wait, many more patchy patches. at least I have sconce wiring, right?|
All of this to say that I am almost exactly where I was last year when faced with the reality of going into week 5 without paint on the walls. My right arm has once again fallen off from fatigue and landed somewhere in Australia. Which means nothing gets installed until paint is dry. Which really means I have no idea if my vision is any good in reality. What if I hate the paint? Hence that inevitable moment of self-doubt - that creative process of a hamster wheel that runs the gamut of euphoric best idea ever, humbling self-doubt, down to the crippling realization of minimal progress, intoxicating hope of survival, and back up to euphoric amazingness of concept realized. Let’s hope I can claw my hamster butt up from feeling that my efforts have been futile through hopes of survival and back to euphoric amazingness.
Because current reality looks a lot like this:
Finish sanding walls to glossy smoothness
Prime ceiling and walls
Paint walls and trim
Install overhead light
Install towel rod
Install shower rod
Finish trim on curtain
Shiver me patchy freakin timbers.
But I cannot leave you in an esoteric pit of despair. On the upside, I received my JennyAndrews-Anderson painting and it is simply brilliance in art form. A true artist. And at 3pm today, brass sexiness arrived at my door in the form of my faucet which I ordered only 2 days ago. Bam. Love me some Amazon Prime.
By next week, I will have rushed to get a finished product to show you on time. It is my hope that in the end, all of my insignificant-seeming little patch dots add up to something quite extraordinary. While I am hoping for a glamorous loo worthy of Mame Dennis or, to put a finer point on it, a masterpiece of a bathroom, I will be exceedingly satisfied that I have given this room my whole heart. I will charge ahead inspired with a breath-of -life vitality for having produced another creation from start to finish.
Now, speaking of inspiration, go check out the other linking participants. And speaking of art in life, check out the final reveals of the 20 ORC participants next Wednesday. True artistry indeed.
Be sure to tune in next Thursday for my cliff-hanger…
All designs, layouts, and photos by Emily Vanderputten unless otherwise noted
kisses, mrs. V