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Percolating Dawdle

By Karen Bagnard
Posted: 10/04/2022
Tags: karen bagnard

Percolating Dawdle



Karen Bagnard


Percolating dawdle, it’s a beautiful thing. Dawdle is that thing we do to avoid something that needs to be done. Percolating is the mind working giving dawdling genuine socially-redeeming graces. It is a practice I’ve been engaged in most of my life; however, it is only in recent years that I have embraced it with glee and gusto.


I’m quite good at procrastination, particularly if it involves a deadline of any kind… even a self-imposed deadline. There may be any number of reasons for it: Fear; anxiety; laziness; eating, you-name-it.


My oldest daughter, Anna, pointed out to me several years ago that there is no need for me to “beat myself up” over this habit. Just embrace it and recognize that “you do your best work under pressure.” What a relief to hear her say that!!! I knew she was right.


It was back in December that the Braille Institute asked me if I would be interested in designing a holiday card for them to send out in 2022. I was delighted! Honored! Excited to do this! Back then the 2022 holidays seemed a very long way away. It would be a long time before I would have to have some drawings done. We decided to meet to discuss further after New Year’s.


In about February I met with Braille to discuss some ideas I had. They liked them and stressed the importance of making the design non-denominational. They wanted a “winter” theme rather than a “holiday” theme. They also added a snow fairy to my list of ideas. 


The snow fairy, I felt certain, was a response to the fairy drawings on my website. I warned them that I do not draw quite like that anymore due to vision loss and distortion but I would do my best to produce a snow fairy in the drawings, as well.


Frankly, the idea of a snow fairy didn’t excite me at all. What did I envision? I saw a Nordic fairy with blond hair… boring. I also realized that, since it was their idea, I had damned well better come up with a drawing of one.


I dawdled. I put off drawing anything. Partly because I didn’t want to draw the snow fairy and partly because I lacked confidence to draw anything.


While I was dawdling, I was also percolating the ideas I had. These designs don’t need to be at the printers until October. I dawdled some more. After all, October is a long way away.


As I dawdled, I also kept percolating the ideas. Finally, I got the light! I saw a little brown snow fairy with curly black hair and wings of snowflakes. She has dark glasses and a white cane and she is adorable… not boring! This little fairy is not the same old blond Nordic fairy. She’s a little fairy in which little brown girls can see themselves. She represents the diversity of the population in the area that Braille Institute serves. Percolating was done! The brew was ready!


But the dawdling continued due to the fear that I might not be able to draw this fairy that I was seeing. To help myself get started I set a deadline for myself of June 30. June 30 came and went. Then I set a deadline of July 31. I was a week away from July 31 and, again, that self-imposed deadline wasn’t working. Ah ha! I called Braille and asked if they would be available to meet with me to see my drawings, which, BTW, were not even drawn, yet. We set a date of August 4 at 4:00 p.m.


The fears and doubts piled up. The dawdling continued. The percolating of how to accomplish these drawings started in earnest. The pressure was on! 


About a week before August 4, I finished the first drawing. That one was the least intimidating one. It’s a snowman looking up at the sky with snow falling. He is wearing dark glasses and holding a white cane. It’s titled, “Snow Kisses.” Someone asked me if the snowman had a name and I responded, “Seymour!”


My next drawing was “Snow Moon.” It would also serve as a practice for the idea I had for the snowflake fairy wings. It would also serve as a practice piece for the fine line technique I used to do with such ease. It was a success! I felt really good about my watercolor technique for the wings and I felt really good about how my linework looked.


The days were now down to four before our meeting and I was still dawdling and percolating over the snow fairy. I feared that I was not going to be able to do this. I even said out loud, “f….k it! I don’t have to do it.” 


At that point I heard the echo of what I tell my art students all the time: “Be brave! Try it! You will amaze yourself!”


“F….k it” turned into, “Hell, yeah! I can do this!”


I got to this point the day before our meeting! The percolating also made me think of two versions of this fairy… one leaping and one standing upright like a showgirl. Oh great! Now I’m down to the wire and I just doubled my work! That’s actually great progress!


I sketched both of the fairies and then I went to bed and slept exceptionally well.


Thursday morning I was up early, made my coffee and began the finished drawings. I cleared the work table, turned on my Barryessa lamp with the big magnifying glass, kept my cat, Madge, at bay, turned on some meditative flute music and got into it. 


Between layers of watercolor and needing to give my eyes a break, I got showered and dressed, did the dishes, made my bed, returned emails, etc. 


By 3:30 three drawings were all done but the fourth still had a lot of linework to complete. I looked at the clock and said to myself, “Aw, this is good enough for now.”


The voice of the percolator kicked in and said, “What are you going to do for a half hour? Just keep working!” So I did.


Ten minutes before I was on Microsoft Teams with Braille, all four drawings were done. I was no longer nervous or even doubtful. I was satisfied and confident. 


I showed each drawing in the order they were completed, starting with “Snow Kisses”, then “Snow Moon”, then the leaping snow fairy and lastly the standing snow fairy. I talked about each drawing and what inspired me. Each drawing elicited smiles and “awes” and they liked them all. Since they could not make up their mind about which drawing they wanted, they asked me to show them again. I showed them again while I was recorded. The recording would be presented to the rest of the Marketing Department team and the Development Department to weigh in. 


Soon I will be hearing back to learn which drawing they select. In the meantime I have been asked to write a story about what inspired me and how I tackled the challenges and what all this means to me personally. I’ve been asked for photographs of me working on these drawings and a headshot. They are planning a story for their website or their magazine.


Percolating dawdle is, indeed, a good thing! I finally have a full appreciation of how important it is.


Note: I always retain all rights on my drawings but, for this holiday season, Braille will have an exclusive on the drawing they select. Next year it will be added to my own line. However, I will show this image on my website for this year. I have also decided that it will be the launching place on my website for my new images, the Picasso Series and Dancing Lines.

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