I can tell that I’m getting in a strong work rhythm because I’ve found myself daydreaming during the day about the next time I get to work on my mezzotints. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time. After a lull that definitely lasted far too long, I’m finally excited about my artwork again. With these mezzotints, all of the imagery has been worked out in advance, so I can focus exclusively on the technical execution. I’m fairly inexperienced with mezzotints, so I need all of my concentration aimed directly on the process. Every plate I’ve worked on is teaching me something new about the technique.
I was talking to some of my students yesterday about the importance of turning your brain off at a certain point in the creative process. Once the imagery has been established, it’s really just a matter of executing the work. The temptation to judge your work prematurely is always there, and I find that the majority of the time this just becomes a huge problem that keeps us from staying on task. For this reason, I’ve been trying to mentally zone out while working on these mezzotints. For me it helps to listen to something that will keep my mind preoccupied. I listen to music once in a while, but after a while I stop hearing it and it doesn’t hold my attention the way I would like it to. I used to listen to NPR a lot, but stopped after a while because many of the news topics were too depressing or upsetting. Lately I’ve been listening to stand up comedy recordings which work well because they’re light and entertaining, but keep me distracted enough so that I am not fussing over every little detail of my work.