This month, THE DAILY DOODLE has transitioned to THE WEEKLY DOODLE. So, it seemed like an appropriate time to doodle myself a little Doodle-Interviewer to help me share what I've learned from THE DOODLE so far. If you have additional questions for the doodler, or if you'd like to share about what YOU'VE learned from the DAILY DOODLE, please respond in the comments below, or when you share DOODLE #69 on your timeline (it will, as usual, double your chances to win the doodle).
Where did THE DAILY DOODLE come from?
I wanted my art website to be fresh and exciting for people to visit often and see new pieces of art, however, the larger, more in depth oil paintings I was working on, took too long to complete. Meanwhile, I’d been missing my “doodling.” So, one night, while I was writing in my journal (and doodling), I thought up THE DAILY DOODLE as a way to doodle more, keep my website fresh, and be able to send original art to people without dealing with the constraints of a monetary exchange.. I sat on the idea for a few months, and chose to start it on my birthday, as a present to myself (I usually give myself art supplies and a day in my studio for my birthday), and as a fun way to “document” my trip around the sun in doodles.
What exactly is a doodle?
My definition of a doodle is a spontaneous and improvisational piece of art. The limitations that I set on my doodles for this project was that they could be completed in less than a day (most of mine took from 20 minutes to 3 hours), and that they could fit in a 6” x 9” envelope, which I could mail for a stamp.
What have you learned as a Daily Doodler?
THE DAILY DOODLE has three main parts: creating an original spontaneous piece of art everyday, sharing it, and giving it away. Thanks to THE DOODLE, I learned a lot about what I find personally fulfilling and challenging about each of those parts of the creative process.
Some days required tremendous effort to keep the barking hounds of “making something good enough” at bay so that I could begin, and most days I was shocked to see another original doodle emerge on the paper from what seemed like nowhere. I learned to respect and trust the mysteries of the creative process. The author, Julia Cameron, has a deal with these mysteries that goes, "I'll take care of the quantity, you take care of the quality," that definitely worked for me as a doodler. I also learned that what I enjoy the most about the act of creation, is discovering something new. The doodles that were the most satisfying to create, were the ones that surprised me the most, the ones where I found a new way to play with color, line, character, paint, paper, highlights, shadows, etc… like discovering a new game to play.
The vulnerability and toughness required to publicly share my art daily, often without enough to time to evaluate it first, was a big challenge for me. Some days it felt like busking naked on the street with no one looking my way, and some days it felt like being showered with applause and gifts from strangers. I was often surprised by how much positive response there was for doodles I wanted to hide, and also sometimes a little heart broken by a smaller response to doodles that I adored. I forged a strong and helpful boundary between when the art is mine during the creation process, and after I’ve shared it with the world and it no longer belongs to me. I also learned just how deeply and profoundly nourishing it is as an artist, when someone takes the time to curiously engage with a piece of art I’ve created and then share their response with me.
Sending each doodle off reinforced my ability to truly let go after the creation part of my process was complete. It was really hard to let go of some doodles, especially since the art of mine that I usually hold onto is the first experiment with something, and most of the doodles fit into that category. Some days, I put off the drawing as long as possible when it was for a doodle I really wanted to keep for myself. Then, I’d draw out a name, and as soon as I'd read it and thought about this person who wanted something I'd made, I’d feel a shift from a tight stingy grip to a flood of warm generosity and experience the deep satisfaction of having a gift to give, and someone to give it to.
Can you tell us more about The Doodle as a Gift?
I heard the theater director, Anne Bogart, speak at a lecture this year, and one of the things that stuck with me was the distinction she drew between art as “survival” and art as “gift giving.” The Daily Doodle provided me with an amazing opportunity to experience the full potential of art making as gift giving and receiving.
The act of creation was a gift to me as the doodler -it is pure joy to get to play, discover, and learn in the present moment, and making the time each day for that, felt like creating an opportunity to get a present.
As the doodler, I also experienced the gift of having my doodles received with anticipation and appreciation each day online, which felt like the gift of good company- the attention of those wonderful people in your life who are genuinely curious, who listen completely, and respond with new insights about what you share. Speaking of insights, there were the incredible and unexpected gifts of poems, songs, stories, new perspectives, worlds, friendships, and camaraderie that I felt showered with as people responded to the doodles I posted.
I also received the gift of knowing I’d made a difference, when I received messages from people who had started their own DAILY DOODLES, picked up their paints again after years and decades of not creating, tried some new art supplies, started writing again, kept writing, learned to articulate responses to visual art, or just let me know that seeing my doodle each morning brought some beauty and joy into their day.
Then of course, there is the physical gift of opening a 6” x 9” manila envelope to receive your very own original doodle, and for me, knowing that something I created is being loved and appreciated, and is giving pleasure or inspiration to someone in the world. As a Doodler, I received that wonderful nourishing sense of purpose fulfilled from knowing the gifts I gave were received, and that has been an incredible gift!
How has the Daily Doodle changed you and your art?
I’m faster. I “let it rip” more. Being prolific helps me take bigger risks; I’m less concerned about each piece working, knowing I’ll make another one the next day, so I swing out bigger. Also, I’ve learned how to really “let go” of a piece after it’s created. To step back, and just be one voice observing. Do it, and move on, don’t get hung up on evaluation, and criticism. This has bled into my theater improv, too, and provided me some extra freedom on stage
Why are you changing the Daily Doodle to the Weekly Doodle?
Mostly, it’s the time consuming weight of the daily “doodle administration.” Photographing (and if I did the doodle after dark, setting up all the lights in my apartment to get a decent picture), uploading, cropping, color adjusting, posting to three different places on line, collecting all the responses and responding, adding some of those to the site, doing the drawing, mailing the doodle out. –all that was taking more time than I was willing to give each day.
There were also days when I didn’t want to doodle, and forcing myself, even if it culminated in a really awesome doodle that I was happy with in the end, made me feel like a pissed off slave building a pyramid for a pharoah. (See Doodle #40, The Mean Doodle Mistress, pictured at right, for my best visual expression of this.) That’s when I changed the Daily Doodle to a six day a week project. I’m a strong believer in the importance of a day of rest. That helped, but I still felt like I was “getting through” the year, which isn’t the relationship I want with my life.
Changing the Daily Doodle to the Weekly Doodle, allows me to really enjoy the process of creating, sharing, and giving indefinitely, while maintaining the balance of the rest of my life. Also, I’m looking forward to pursuing some other art projects this year.
Did you achieve what you wanted to with THE DOODLE PROJECT?
I love making art, and I love giving it to people, but there isn’t always a pull for that. It can take a lot of fight to carve out the space from my life to make a gift that no one wants yet, like building a house on spec instead of contract. In the past, it’s felt a little crazy to devote so much work and passion to something that only I care about. After THE DOODLE, there’s now a little call for my art in the world that I needed to hear. Creating an audience for my art draws more of it out of me. So, yes- THE DAILY DOODLE has transformed my playful artistic expression into an actual gift, fulfilling it’s creative potential as a communication given and received, and providing me with the experience of my art as a contribution, something I’ve always wanted to achieve as an artist. Also, I now have original art all over the world, from El Salvador to India, Germany to Sweden, appreciated by loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers.
What’s next artistically for the Doodler?
Well, of course I’ll be continuing to create, share and give away a new doodle every week (with occasional bonus doodles thrown in mid-week). So keep your eye on Eliza Furmansky Fine Art so you don't miss out on the opportunity to win YOUR doodle.
Also I’m starting another collaborative project to watch for on my facebook page, too: I'm hoping to do a 24 hour “theme painting” a couple times a month. I enjoy keeping my doodles as strictly “free fall improvisations,” but I had so much fun painting from a theme for the 14/48 Festival, that I want to play with that some more. So, I’m planning on collecting “themes” from my doodle fans to paint on my every other Friday Studio Day.
And then there's Zaza Fearless (read more about this project here), a large, very detailed, oil painting that’s a surrealistic time traveling depiction of the evolution of the universe on a piece of thread, that I’d love to add to weekly, share it’s growth, and even have people contribute ideas for what part of the universe they want me to paint next.
…and I’m taking a children’s book illustration class, and illustrating a reading curriculum text that I’m really excited about getting to contribute to, since I've been using the curriculum with my Learning Journey students for years!
I hope everyone who has enjoyed THE DAILY DOODLE, continues to enjoy and collaborate with me on the WEEKLY DOODLE and on the other art projects I'll be sharing more of soon! Thanks for taking the time to look at some of my doodles and read my interview!
What advice would you give to future doodlers/creatives?
Don’t give up. Keep playing. Don’t be afraid to share. Remember to acknowledge yourself, and that you're doing it for fun. Don't let it become a grind. Seek what inspires you, and nourish yourself with it.
To win this week's doodle, of the DOODLE INTERVIEWER above, share this link on your facebook page and tag or message Eliza Furmansky Fine Art so I know to put your name in my daily lottery jar. If I've "liked" your post, you know you're in the jar.
To get your name in the jar twice, when you share the doodle, add something YOU'VE learned from THE DAILY DOODLE, or add a question for the Doodler.
The Drawing for the original will be Monday night, 2/10/2014!