I was awakened quite early today by my beautiful kitty Coco. For some reason, she was calling out to me just before 5am. Of course, as soon as I got up and came out to see what she wanted, she promptly went into her bed and fell asleep. She’s still there now, almost two hours later.
You gotta love her!
Since I was already up, there was no sense in me trying to go back to sleep. It was a time when it was too close to my normal time of awakening (around six) and I knew that even if I went back to bed, I wouldn’t in all probability be able to fall back asleep. So I made my coffee and decided to start my day.
I was really excited yesterday, as the new painting patterns and painting video that I ordered had arrived. I ran to pick up my mail near dinner time, and had to stop to the store for a couple of necessities (I was out of coffee – egads!) on the way home. When I arrived home, I had a quick dinner and loaded up the video to peek at it and see how it was. It was a video from Holly Hanley (www.hollyhanley.com) who has always been one of my favorite painters and I couldn’t wait to see the techniques that she used to make her cute designs. Below are some of the cute patterns that I purchased from Holly:
While I was skimming through the video, our friend Lee stopped in for a little bit to talk to Keith. When he noticed I was watching a painting video, he asked “What are you watching that for? You are already a great painter.”
I appreciated the compliment, but as I told him, there is ALWAYS something new to learn from others. I am a firm believer that as long as we are on this planet, no matter how adept we become in one thing or another, there is always something else we can discover and learn.
I often get emails from people who are new to scroll sawing or painting. They are usually enthusiastic and have many questions about learning their new skills. I love seeing this excitement, and I try my best to answer what they are asking by sharing my favorite ways to do things and the things that I find make it easier to be successful.
But one thing that I also tell them is to seek out information from as many sources as possible and then you can make your own assessments and develop skills and techniques that will work best for yourself. This rings true in so many things that we encounter in our lives.
I am currently working on some new designs for my decorative painting patterns. I have an idea in my head as to how I want these characters to be, but I haven’t fully developed things yet in my mind. I find that for myself, by exposing myself to many other’s techniques and styles of painting, that it will help me find my own niche and develop a style that is unique to me.
Am I going to ‘copy’ the style my favorites? Absolutely not. But I will use the building blocks of basic skills to create something that I can call my own. Without those basic skills however, it would be very difficult for me to do so.
I use painting as an example because that is what I am working on right now. This also applies to drawing, woodworking and scroll sawing too. While we all follow similar rules when making new projects and designs, it is only after we are confident in our ground level skills that we are able to deviate from them and develop styles that are our own. Without this foundation, it would be much more difficult to advance and venture out on our own.
I don’t mind being a perpetual student. As I explore each new chapter of creativity, be it painting, making large yard art, or even computer work, I find it refreshing and exciting to learn new skills and later on apply them to my own ideas and projects. To me, there is no definite line between creating. I love taking skills from several areas and bringing them together to create a symphony of ideas that play out as one.
And in the process, I will hopefully teach others to join in my song.
Perhaps Coco knew what she was doing this morning when she awoke me early. Instead of being cross with her, I am glad she did, as it gave me an extra hour to spend observing and learning new skills. It’s only just after 7am and I feel that I already had a productive day.
Have a great day today!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"