Monday, February 3, 2014

Work expands or contracts to fill the time you have to do it in

One of my favorite things to say is, "Work expands or contracts to fill the time you have to do it in." 

I first heard this from Myron Helfgott during a sculpture critique in the mid 1980's. He was paraphrasing Parkinson's law which is the adage which states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." It was originally articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson as part of the first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955. But while humorous, I have found it ubiquitously valid in my life.

I have found that when I set a goal with a deadline for completion, I am able to always succeed. I have found that I can adjust the details and effort of a project to accommodate a pre-imposed time table. Deadlines also help me focus on the job and keep me working longer hours as the due date approaches.

Sometimes I go a little crazy and take on too many projects concurrently. Like this year with my two solo shows opening within 2 weeks of each other at Art Works and Anne's Visual Art Studio. But somehow I got the show at Art Works done and I was really happy with it. I even sold a couple of pieces from it!

Now I'm almost ready for my next opening this Friday, Feb. 7th. Paintings are done, smaller paintings framed, pieces titled and priced. I have some good ideas about where I want to hang everything and I even have a few slightly older pieces ready to fill space if necessary.

Everything is ready except for one thing. I had an idea to put a grid of nails on one wall so that a series of pieces I did together could be moved around throughout the show. I experimented with this idea for a while and decided that the nails in the wall would be troublesome so I was going to try to put the nails on wood trim and hang the trim pieces in columns. This was all planned out and ready to attempt and then the unexpected happened.

Sunday morning I was feeding my cats around 11:30 in the morning. The homebodies were all accounted for so I went outside to find Baby, aka the Wild Thing. It had been a nice night so I wasn't concerned that she wanted to spend the night outside. So I looked for her in all the regular places, called her name, looked again and again. Finally I was getting ready to go back inside and try later. I was ready to walk in the door when I turned around one last time and there she was in the driveway.

I was happy and took the food back out to her. She didn't want it on the ground, so I moved her bowls to the top of my Honda. I was waiting for her to jump on the car, but she didn't. Then I noticed that her entire underside was wet and her fur was poking out.

I thought, "why is she wet," and bent down to take a closer look when I smelled it. Somehow, Baby's entire belly and legs were wet with heating oil! Needless to say, I freaked  out and took her inside immediately. She had her first bath, EVER, and then I called the Emergency Vet (Sunday, remember?). They said bring her in or call the poison hot line. I called the hot line first, but was put on hold, so I just gathered her up and drove to Dogwood Emergency Vet on Broad St.

I was a total mess all day long until I called the hospital at 11pm and they said we could bring her home. Of course there are medications to give and she has to stay inside for a while, but she has made a great come back and I'm hopeful that there won't be any long lasting effects.

All this basically shut the door on the hanging grid idea for my series. Now there's no time and I am going to decide with Anne at the gallery which way to hang it and it will just stay in place that way, at least until the next First Friday. The good thing is that I can actually try out the lathe idea in my studio and if it seems like it will work, I can probably add it later.

9 piece series of paintings based on "Game Strategy" hung in a tight, vertical format.