What does the work want?

Creative Twists, Turns, and Detours

My hopeful initial plan with this piece, and all of my paintings that are still in Arizona – as well as my Fender Twin Reverb amplifier and my Fender acoustic guitar – was to rent a vehicle, pack them up in a rental van and drive them to the east coast. I changed my plans when the cost of rental cars exploded, not to mention the cost of fuel.

Sky touches down feb 2022-2 B © Holly Troy 2022

Since I made this video, four paintings – Coney Island, Downtown Beat, Where the Light Gets In, and Be, Do, Have – have sold. Sky Touches Down, my work in progress, still awaits me. It is OK. This year, the focus on my mom’s care has been heavy. I’ve been doing tiny projects when I can – making the tiniest steps.

This larger piece, I’m grateful to let it breathe. This year was heavy, and I think Sky Touches Down deserves to be light and joyful and playful. I don’t think I have been in the right frame of mind for what the work deserves. 

As Graham Parker would ask, “What does the work want?” I have to admit, often, I would rather answer to the work than answer to myself. 

Sky Touches Down – Progress and Process

This an edited transcript of the video:

Hey, everybody, I wanted to share a little bit with you about a creative project I’m working on, and   a little bit about creative process.

This piece is called Sky Touches Down. It’s a 40 by 40 inch painting. This is probably going on about the fourth or fifth layer at the moment. The last big layer, were these three large circles here that are abstracted flowers – or something – they’re large circles, and, I wasn’t satisfied with it.

So I was sitting with it, sitting with it, sitting with it. And then one day I went for a walk in the field in autumn, when all the colors here in Flagstaff start to turn brown, and purple, and bright red, orange, and this yellow green.

And so I painted more circles because the sunflower fields are filled with all these amazing shapes and flowers. That’s my inspiration.

And this painting is here in Flagstaff, kind of give you some more detail. And I’ll be moving it to New York, it’s on hold. I’m moving it to my studio in New York in the spring, and then I’ll be able to finish it. I’m really looking forward to finishing this painting.

It’s not easy, sometimes putting a project aside. But that’s what my life calls for at the moment. Sometimes creative projects, or even creative energy ebbs and flows, require us to work on other things. And I would say to you, if you’re creating anything, or if you’re working on any kind of project, even if you’re feeling your energy slow down, do a little bit of work, or, turn to other projects, even if it’s for five or 10 minutes a day.

While I can’t work on this painting right now until I bring it to my new studio, I have other things that I am working on. And so by the time I get to work on this painting, which I’m really looking forward to, I’ll already have a collection of work that I’ve made. I haven’t stopped painting other things because I can’t paint this one — I just keep on going with something else.

That how it is. So I encourage you to do whatever it is that you love to do — to at least make sure you do it for a few minutes every day. If you are lucky enough to work on something for hours and hours every day, that’s awesome! Do it! Otherwise, step-by-step, one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have massive amounts of work finished.

And it’s really — it’s really play. Serious play. Though it’s not always play. I mean, there’s a lot I go through I’m making art. I come to crisis points, and then I end up adding another layer. It’s sometimes at the crisis point where you have to stop and step back. Or, you go, “Okay, I’m diving in, right?” And you do that. You do that thing that alters your painting forever. We might make a mark and then go for a walk -— or paint over the whole painting. I’ve done that a few times.

I am really looking forward to this piece getting this piece done. It’s a 40 by 40 inch oil painting. I encourage you to continue making art as well. This is fun for me to have something to look forward to, something that I don’t have to invent right off the bat as well. If you put a piece, or some aside, sometimes you can go back to them and you don’t have to start something from complete scratch every day. That can be a relief!

Peace and love!

I would love to know:

  • What are you working on?
  • Do you want to take that work into 2023?
  • Is there anything you are setting aside? Letting go of altogether?

Feel free to comment.

Sky touches down feb 2022-6 B © Holly Troy 2022

Sky touches down feb 2022-5 B © Holly Troy 2022

Sky touches down feb 2022-3 B © Holly Troy 2022

Have a great day!

December 2, 2022
Holly Troy


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Holly hails from an illustrious lineage of fortune tellers, yogis, folk healers, troubadours and poets of the fine and mystical arts. Shape-shifting Tantric Siren of the Lunar Mysteries, she surfs the ebbs and flows of the multiverse on the Pure Sound of Creation. Her alchemy is Sacred Folly — revolutionary transformation through Love, deep play, Beauty, and music.

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