Yesterday was a full day. It seemed that every minute I was busy but it was one of those days where at the end of it I looked at what I physically accomplished and it didn’t seem that it should have been so hard to do. I think some projects are like that though. They take much more out of us then we realize.
My main accomplishment was getting the written instructions of the Skating Pond done and to the Assistant Editor (who is the woman who used to be the Editor) of the Christmas 365 magazine. We had communicated since the other day and she was very happy that I was keeping the project in the magazine, but she requested the written instructions as soon as possible. When I told her that I would have them by Friday, she was glad because she said she could work on them over the weekend. So it was time for me to stay focused and get them done.
When I paint a new project, I keep a little notebook to jot down the colors that I am using as I go. The brand of paint I use (DecoArt) has over 250 colors available and it is easy to go on a rampage and use 100 colors on a project. If I were doing one of my own paintings, like my Cheetah that is on my site, I wouldn’t really be concerned with how many different paints I used. I love using acrylics and use them for many of my ‘fine art’ type of paintings because I am familiar with them and can get them to perform like oils without the odor or mess.
However, one thing that I don’t like doing with them is mixing them to achieve a certain color. They dry very quickly and it is near impossible to achieve the identical color back to back when you are mixing. You are probably wondering why anyone with a palette of over 250 colors would want more colors, but you would be surprised how many times when doing delicate shading or highlighting that you feel you need a color that isn’t there. All I can say is that it is like the question of “do we ever have enough wood?” You can replace it with ” do we ever have enough colors?” and most artists will also answer with a resounding “no”.
My DecoArt Palette:
These are all their Americana Acrylics. I keep them all in a bench in the living room for easy access. The missing colors are the ones I am using now, as they fill it up pretty much. It is easy to see how one could just keep grabbing colors at will, without regard as to how many different ones will be used.
When I design a project for a pattern packet or for the magazine, I try to remember that others may not have all the colors in the palette as I do and I do try to overlap colors when possible. Now keep in mind, that I don’t compromise the design at all by doing this. It is just a matter of if I need a red and there are two or three reds that are close in color that would work, I would lean to the one I may have already used and continue with that instead of introducing a new and very similar color. To me it is just regarding the painter who may want to do the project.
I remember when I first started painting out of books, I would go to Michael’s or sometimes several of the craft supply stores with my list of paints in hand to get the paint colors I needed for a particular project. Typically there would be one or two colors that the store didn’t carry and it would initiate what I would call “A Quest” where I would hit every paint store in the south suburbs of Chicago looking for that color. More than a few times, after searching and finally finding the coveted color, I would go home and paint the design only to find that the elusive color would only be used to highlight a cheek or paint in a tiny button. How frustrating when I thought back on the hours of hunting for it!
For that reason, I also have taken to offering color swatches on my pattern packets. For the swatches, I smear a small drop of the color and name it right on the pattern so people can see what it looks like and the relation to the other colors (ie – if it is a slightly darker red than the previous base coat). This way if they already have something close, it will save them the time and money of trying to get a color that they don’t have.
But for the magazine and doing an article such as this, I needed to be dead-on. After all, part of what makes the magazine work is the advertising from the paint and brush companies and they also will pay a small endorsement fee for published articles to us designers for using their products.
Many designers use several brands of both paint and brushes and switch back and forth from article to article. For those of you who know me well enough through this blog however, you can guess that I stick to one brand for each. I have my reasons and I will talk about that another time perhaps.
So the instructions came to ten written pages, without the corresponding pictures or the paint list. That was a lot of technical writing even for me. I was planning on painting last night, but I finally sat down to do so and it was already 9:30 pm. I was tired and just felt like reading for a bit and calling it a night. I curled up with one of my three favorite cats “Richard” and read through some new books I received on Wednesday until I fell asleep.
Here is a picture of Richard in his Happy Place:
I think for today and tomorrow I am going to take it a bit easy. I think I passed a good milestone yesterday. Writing the instructions for the skaters and all this commotion regarding them has made me want to finish my set even more. I don’t, however want to start in on it late at night when I am already tired from the day’s events. I think I will spend the weekend working on it “at leisure”. I want to make some more sticky buns, as the last batch is gone and also I have a birthday party today for a good friend that will be a fun and social event. I haven’t been with people in a bit and am looking forward to some face-to-face visiting.
Robert (my wood magazine editor) loved the star ornaments and I am going to be designing a set for him that will be done in light wood and tinted like I tinted the candle trays with red, white and blue coloring. This set of stars will be patriotic for those who haven’t already guessed and will be great for our Spring or Summer issues of the magazine. But I will get to that Monday.
I also have new candle trays to do for Halloween that I need to get done by the end of September. But a break is in order for now. I want to do what I want to do and have some fun. :) Keeping that balance is what will keep me fresh and from burning out.
Have a wonderful day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"