Yesterday was incredibly productive. I say that like I am surprised because, frankly I am. Not only did I map out the main shapes for the pieces I am working on, but I cut them too and finished about 90 per cent of the drawings. I think by the late morning I will be done with the drawing part of the project and ready to paint. I didn’t expect that at all.
It strikes me as funny that some projects are just easier to do and bring to reality. The journey between what I envision in my head and the actual finished piece is quite a mystery to me. With each project it is different. Sometimes it is a meandering path that is full of twists and turns and the unknown:
While other times, you can see your destination almost from the beginning of your journey:
I often wonder about that magic formula that defines which path I will be on. Is it planning? Is it inspiration? Or is it because I am drawing on my experience? Perhaps it is a mix of everything.
Whatever the reason, I am well on my way with this project and I am excited because I should be able to spend the majority of the day painting.
I have realized this year that I have not taken my traditional Sunday afternoon “painting-and-jammie-days” to work on my own things. I always looked at Sunday as my day to do what I pleased, and not be concerned if it had to do with my regular job of designing. This was the time when I did most of my ‘big cat’ paintings and other wildlife work. I looked forward to it each week and kind of forced myself to let go of the design work and the screaming deadlines and enjoy doing some fun creating.
But in the past year or so, that once grey area has turned even more grey. While there are the odd days when I feel pressure or stress from my work, for the most part it is so enjoyable that it seems completely unnecessary to take a break from it. Perhaps that is a residual effect of doing something that you really love to do.
The latest project that I am working on is something that I feel is fun and cute and I am anxious to see how it will come out. Today will be especially rewarding as I see the pieces come to life with color. While I love the natural color of wood, I also love seeing things bright and cheerful with color. And these pieces will certainly be that.
The project that I am working on is a set of Halloween ornaments. (Yes – I know it is only January – but the deadlines for the autumn and Halloween products are due in a couple of weeks and I need to go through that time warp and work on it now.) Last year I made a set of witches’ hat ornaments that were quite popular for the little exposure that they had. After all, even though I had them on the site, probably 95% of those who visit my site are woodworkers and not painters. One of my goals this year is to expand the painting side of things too and offer more projects for them (diversify!) Unfortunately, when I created the “Hats Off to Witches!” pattern, it was well into autumn and far past the deadline to include the project in the catalogs. But I sent it in for consideration anyway to the company that picked up my little skating pond scene, and I was told that it would be a candidate for the catalog this year. I was thrilled and it encouraged me to come up with more ideas not only for their consideration, but to offer on my own site. It will be a win/win for everyone and while the deadline may seem early, I will feel far ahead of the game come autumn.
So this time I chose to make a dozen witches’ boot ornaments to kind of complement the hat ornaments. I can already see these cute pieces on my little all season tree, or on a garland or grapevine wreath, or even given out as Halloween treats as magnets.
Ornaments are awesome projects because they are so versatile and you can make one or a dozen in an afternoon. Like the witches’ hats, I used four basic boot shapes so I will be able to provide the wood and stack cut the pieces, bringing the production cost down to a bare minimum. Because of this, I will not only be able to offer the pattern, but also kits at a reasonable cost for those who do not cut wood. Again – if a get overwhelmed with orders (which would be a GOOD problem!) I have resources and helpers to assist me in filling orders and cutting. I think it will all be good!
Here is an example of the line work for one of the boots:
I still have a little refining to do, but for the most part they are ready to go. I am trying to keep them simple, yet cute and something that all level of painters can accomplish.
Even though this project is considered part of my business, it doesn’t mean that it has to feel like ‘work.’ I am as excited about working on this as I would be on any of my own things that I work on for pleasure. I don’t take those feeling for granted and I can’t help but feel very fortunate that I am able to do this as a living. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about how fortunate I am, and it makes me work even harder.
I hope you all have a great Sunday today. Have fun with your day and remember to take time to do something you truly enjoy doing. It will make a big difference in how you view your life.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"