I finally finished my dreamcatcher and thought this would be a good time to write a longer reply to a question that was asked by one of my lovely readers in the comments:
“My problem is focus. It’s not desire or motivation, but organized focus. Do you ever run into this?”
Crochet Dreamcatcher
YES! I have many ideas swirling inside my head and often feel oversaturated by the inspiring beautiful art that I see around me and online. I see something I like and I start to wonder what I could achieve with the same medium or in the same style or exploring the same subject. I wish I could try drawing with pastels and coloured pencils, painting with oils, make collages from my own handmade paper, create book illustrations, achieve the level of realistic detail found in botanical illustration, fill pages with the watercolour splashes and puddles, sketch my surroundings daily, paint on large scale, etc. As well as all these above I also love crocheting, knitting, tried my hand at jewellery making, sewing, embroidery, weaving, polymer clay, yarn & fabric dyeing, and would love to learn to make patchwork quilts.

Take this dreamcatcher. I crocheted the middle of it, which took longer than simple weaving would, but I enjoyed using a skill that I mastered as a child. I also wanted the middle of it to look a bit like the compasses of the iron lacework in my paintings and paper-cut.
Centre of dreamcatcher
The weaved beads were made years ago, when I went through the bead-weaving stage, and now I found a perfect use for them.
Weaved beads
And of course the feathers (cockatoo, ghallah & domestic duck) are from my collection that I gathered for the watercolour paintings.
Dreamcatcher detail feathers
Dreamcatcher detail feathers
I wish I could follow my interests in all of these crafts and art areas all at once, but there isn’t enough free time available to me to allow this. Over last few years I was learning to consciously choose what to spend my time on, but also to remember to leave some time for play, research and exploration of ideas. For now I’m (softly) limiting myself to pen and pencil drawing and watercolour painting, as I feel that I have lots of work to do before I’ll master them. At the same time I’m musing on the idea of limiting the themes for my work, instead the medium, because each time I switch to something else I learn something new. It could be fun to explore “painting” lacework & feathers in watercolour, oils, linocuts, crochet, knitting, etc. Today I painted these magpie feathers with watercolours, but maybe next week I’ll see how they would look done in black&white linocut.
Magpie Feathers watercolour

Winsor & Newton watercolours on Arches medium watercolour paper (15 x 21 cm)


17 thoughts on “Focus

  1. 1961.9

    I occasionally run into that problem as well — that whenever I see something I want to achieve, I tend to lose focus in my original style and move on to the next (which is why I still haven’t found my style in painting). However, I found that this loss of focus can also be good. It helps you explore all the different varieties of arts and crafts which can greatly aid in creating our pieces. Such as this beautiful dream catcher you have made, You’ve made use of different styles, techniques, and methods — but all together they turned out really beautiful. P.S: I super love the watercolouring as well. ❤ At first I thought they were real feathers. Wonderful work! 🙂

    1. Zoya Post author

      Isabelle, thank you for your comment and sorry for taking so long to reply. I noticed that looking at various art online & in the galleries helped me to start noticing the common threads in what I liked and what I wanted to paint/communicate via my painting. Also painting a lot helped me realise that I drawn to certain techniques, colours and objects. Enjoy what you create and one day you’ll realise that you arrived to having a recognisable style.

      1. 1961.9

        No problem, it’s okay 😄 Oh. I should pay more attention to myself when I look at those too. I tend to be drawn to everything — must try to find out which I’m really drawn to. Thank you so much!!😄

      1. Zoya Post author

        🙂 Maybe we should all practice thinking about our quirks in positive way (focused instead of obsessive, experimenting instead of scattered, etc)

  2. Laura (Createarteveryday)

    Zoya, was that me? I have a horrible memory, but I vaguely remember that. I’ve decided to focus on faces this year and have set a challenge for 100 faces. No limits on medium, since I don’t see myself as excelling at anything, really. I’ll be curious what you decide. Love your feathers! I think your watercolor work is really exquisite.

    1. Zoya Post author

      Laura, yes, it was. 🙂 I like your decision to focus on one subject. Is it going to be only animal faces or human ones as well?

  3. whenflowerrules

    I love your thoughts on wanting to do it all without being able to do so. For me this is something that comes and goes, I can have a periode of time where I am not creative at all, but when I finally gets back to drawing I always ends up with more ideas than I can manage.

    1. Zoya Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I have less and less non-creative periods, because I really miss making things, get irritable and horrible to be around :-). And yes, the more I do the more ideas I have.

  4. Wendy Barrett

    Hi Zoya, I totally relate to having too many arty and crafty interests to know where to keep my focus. (. I also write which comes with its own sub genres.
    Love your dream catcher – I’m hoping to learn to crochet soon.
    Your magpie feathers are fabulous!

    1. Zoya Post author

      Wendy, thank you. I learned to crochet as a child, so it seemed so easy to me until I started to teach my daughter. Good luck with learning it.

  5. iriselsewhere

    I really couldn’t agree more! I’m always starting one thing and then going off to do something else, it’s ridiculous. I absolutely adore your dreamcatcher anyway, it looks so unique – and your technical skill on those feathers is extraordinary!


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