Windows and Doors
Return again, return again
It feels so good when an art piece spontaneously emerges. Like staring at a paned window until its design lodges in your head and you think about it and think about it and then draw it and double it and flip it and animate it until it becomes this symbol or sigil or logo for what, I don’t know. Maybe for my art practice?
Whatever I do or don’t with this little image (file-named as Moon Sun Rainbow Wheel), creating it was a wake-up call. While I was working on it I felt caffeinated, plugged in, alive, in flow. This was in stark contrast to the rest of 2022, when I didn’t feel that way very often.
Last January, after five diligent cycles, I paused my practice of completing a series of 49 pieces each year, roughly one piece a week. I was burned out, and also worried that I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees. That the effort required to complete each individual piece distracted me from understanding the full arc of the project. That the weekly effort distracted me from pretty much anything else.
Stepping away from the weekly cycle was initially liberating. I was brimming with ideas for the future of Rainbow Squared and finally had a little more space to start turning them into plans. But then came the dread.
I felt like I opened a door into a grand hallway full of other doors. I had intentionally kept the project flexible (vague?) all along, steering in multiple directions at once. Is this visual art? Writing? Performance? Is it one person’s project? Collaborative? Curated? Open source? Does it need to have a gallery show? Does it need to have a social media presence? Is it a creative exercise regime? Is it a divination deck? What is its relationship to Tarot? To the Omer? To being Jewish? Is it Witchcraft? Is it stupid? Is it sacred?
Walking through the right door would realize the full potential for the project. Walking through the wrong door would risk my time, my energy, my resources, and my dignity. Choosing any particular door at all would mean not choosing others. So I hung out in the hallway, staring through a skylight at the changing moon. I wrote just enough to be able to stay in the building, but I didn’t move much.
So now I am leaving the hallway. I am picking a damn door and walking through it. It might even be the door I just came from; they all look kind of the same from the outside. Which is just as well since I suspect a lot of these doors lead to the same place.
For 2023, I’m going back to making weekly(ish) Rainbow Squared pieces, working on another series of 49. Back to going in order, from Red Red to Red Orange to Red Yellow all the way to Black White Purple to Black White Black White. My sixth cycle, my seventh year.
I will focus more specifically on creating (another) deck of cards, working as intimately as ever with the tarot. My goal, however, is not to create any one definitive deck. My goal is to emerge from this year with a guide for others to follow the Rainbow Squared journey themselves, creating their own definitive deck.
After a year of ambivalence, I understand that this project has been and always will be about the journey. That the path I take doesn’t matter as much as continuing to move, continuing to make. Despite the very real strain of committing to practice art on top of everything else, it’s the only way I feel like myself. I don’t know when this particular project will be finished, but I know that I need to show up consistently. I want to show up. And after a year without it, I know that weekly accountability is the way I can make that happen.
Thanks for reading Rainbow Squared! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.