There are days when I feel like I do not accomplish all that I want to do. Usually, if I sit down and really think about it and list the things that I did throughout the day, I find that things aren’t really as bad as I originally thought and that in actuality, I did achieve a lot. It is just that what I choose to do takes time and thought, and I need to remind myself of that sometimes and not expect everything to be done in the blink of an eye.
I am currently working on four patterns. In some ways, this is like spinning several plates, but in others, it is actually more efficient for me to do things this way because every step isn’t completed instantly (like allowing coats of paint or finish to dry) and working with a partner means the sharing of both our tools and space to work with them. By working on multiple things of a different nature, it always gives me something to do that won’t interfere with what Keith is working on and it makes for a pleasant working environment.
I drew up a pattern the other day and had it to the point where I wanted to cut it out on the saw. However, Keith was at a point in his own designing where he needed to spend several hours at the saw cutting his own new and intricate design. I didn’t want to infringe on his sawing time because he had a much longer road ahead of him regarding the cutting and I knew it would take several days overall for him to complete it.
This didn’t bother me though because I still had pattern packets to work on and that would keep me at my computer and away from the saw for quite some time. As a result, everyone was being productive and there were no hard feelings regarding who gets to use the tools at what time.
You may remember the painted pumpkin candle tray that I finished last week. I was very pleased at how it came out, and I still needed to put together the instructional packet for it. I find that painting patterns can be a bit more intimidating – especially for the beginner – and I want to be sure that I will be able to explain the process clearly so that even a new painter will be able to accomplish the design.
In order to accomplish this, I decided to recreate each of the shades of pumpkins (there were two different color schemes that I used – light and dark) and really break the instructions down into baby steps so that people will feel comfortable about making them and perhaps learning a new process. In looking at the finished item, I could see how it may be a bit intimidating for a new painter to complete. Here is a picture of the first and last step:
I heard from many people that said they would love to make it, but would never be able to do it. As a teacher, I feel that anyone can do anything they set their mind to, as long as they take baby steps. Looking at things this way as small progressions makes the final product far less intimidating and many times it gives people the courage to give in and try.
So I repainted two of the pumpkins, one light and one dark and I documented each step along the way and broke it down into ten simple steps (this is the light one.)
As you follow along through the progressions, you can see that there isn’t a great deal of change from one step to the next. It seems much easier to go from figure 4 to figure 5 than from the first step to the last. Many times when people look on a project, they are unable to break these steps down into manageable parts and it is overwhelming and they walk away. Just as one of my favorite sayings regarding scroll sawing is ‘one hole at a time’, I use the same philosophy when teaching painting and try to convey the message that ‘one step at a time’ is the way to learn.
It takes a good deal of time for me to do this. The photos that I used here are just scanned in and not at all color corrected yet so some of the detailing may not be evident. It would be easier for me to do my packets without these step by step pictures, but with so many of my customers having access to the internet and buying patterns that way, there is a virtually unlimited amount of space for me to be able to teach them properly. Even if I am selling print copies, with my printer setup it is not an issue and I am able to provide good color copies without much trouble.
So things are sometimes slow going, but when I look at the finished product(s), I am happy with the results. I know that the packets that I offer are not only line work where people are left on their own to figure things out. Each one is a lesson – be it in painting or in scroll sawing and I hope to walk them through the process at a pace that they feel comfortable with.
My goal for today and tomorrow is to finish up the packets for these four projects. I need to send the kitty chalkboard out the door on Monday, and I hope to do so with everything completed. I am also making another chalkboard for my own site, as well as finishing up the tray pattern and since I needed to re-do the pumpkins from it anyway, I decided to make a separate pattern packet which consists of just the pumpkins to use as magnets, ornaments or anything else one may think of.
All that should be sufficient to keep me out of trouble for the weekend.
I wish you all a good day too. I hope you have some time to relax and be creative and do something you enjoy!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"