I had fun yesterday, although it was a day of trial and error. As I see the ideas that I had been working on come to be, I experienced feelings of both excitement and some apprehension.
I think we all go through times of when we envision something that we are making, only to have it come out not exactly as we pictured it in our heads This isn’t always a bad thing, as sometimes it comes out even better than we imagined. But sometimes it just comes up a little bit different than expected, and as we are working on it, we wonder if we will like the results at all.
I suppose it is part of the not knowing until we try. It is also part of trying new things and stretching our boundaries a bit and exploring new techniques. I think that people have in their minds that for some people, there is little they do that doesn’t work out for them. I know that I look upon certain designers with expectations of only good things coming from them. Their track record stands before them and to others on the outside, designing new things seems to come easy and natural for them.
But for those of us who really know other designers and have friends who design, we know it isn’t always the case. Many designers are good enough to share not only their victories with others, but also their struggles and even their failures. I think that is why forums and places like this are important. By seeing not only the successes of each other, but also sharing the times when things didn’t go particularly well, it brings back a kind of ‘humanizing’ factor into our work and helps us understand that these little hiccups in our process are something that is considered normal among our peers, and even expected.
Knowing that motivates us to continue on whereas if we were working on our own, we may have given up long ago. I think it is very valuable.
My painting group was like that. Even though we all did our own different projects and worked at our own pace, I can think of many times when we were there to encourage and support each other. If someone had trouble with a particular part of their project, the rest of us were there to help out and even make light of the error. There were many times when we actually belly-laughed about certain mishaps, and even added a little good-natured teasing. One of our favorite sayings was “It looks good if you are driving by at 25 mph!”
That kind of friendship and acceptance really made learning new things fun. Even if none of us had tried a certain technique, between us all we managed to figure things out and we all learned from each other. It was a great thing.
Now we have graduated to ‘cyber groups.’ While we are no longer to get together in person, we have the next best thing – our computers – that allow us to socialize and visit and create with each other. Like anything, it has its plusses and minuses. While we are unable to sit in the same room with our fellow artists, we find that our classroom is much larger, and we are able to communicate with those all across the globe. And there are times when that feedback is just as valuable as when one was sitting by our side.
In any case, I did accomplish some things yesterday.
I was able to finish part of the first phase of this idea that I had. I had decided that I wanted to make some interesting and beautiful Venetian style mask ornaments. I don’t know why I liked this idea so much, but for some reason it came to mind and stuck with me.
As I stated in earlier posts, there are going to be several versions of this idea, all geared to different people. You will see the other two come to be shortly
The first version is for the painters in the group. The masks are simple scroll sawn pieces cut from 1/8” Baltic birch. They measure approximately 4” in diameter and can be used as ornaments, garlands or even magnets. On this group, I decided to use some of the textured MUD from Margot Clark (www.margotclark.com) that I had used on the Hoiday Bell ornaments. The MUD comes in both black and white and is a great way to add dimension and interest to these types of design. The first three that I created are as follows:
As you can see from the pictures, the overall painting of these pieces is quite simple. For the top mask (the black and gold one) I only used two colors of paint – (black and gold) and I used some black MUD to add some textured scrolls. After the MUD dried (it dries very hard) I was able to lightly brush it with the gold paint, giving it an antiqued look. I then simply glued on a couple of gold rhinestones and the feathers and it really dressed the simple piece up a lot.
The second mask, I chose to go for a different look. It is also quite simple to do, and would be easy to create even for a beginner. I blocked in the mask colors with pearlescent paint, and then piped in the dividing lines in white MUD. The only shading on the piece was on the white pearl, which I lightly shaded with gold to give an antique look. Again, I added some rhinestones and feathers for interest.
I debated whether or not to brush some silver metallic paint over the white MUD, but for now, I chose not to. I still may do so later on, but I didn’t want to go overboard.
And finally, I made a third mask in a harlequin theme. For this version, I chose to paint a white and copper metallic pattern on it for the base, again shading only the white with gold. I wanted a good contrast on the details, so I again used the black MUD and when it was dry brushed it lightly in gold. This gave a sense of strong contrast, yet a continuity to the piece. I kept to using clear crystals on this one, as any other color may have just made the piece look too mish-mosh. The black feather balanced the light and dark nicely, I though.
That is as far as I got. It may not have been as far as I would have liked, but it was a start. I have in my head so many beautiful color combinations that would really look nice and it was hard to sort them out and just stick to one at a time. It certainly is fun though.
After all three of these were finished and dry, I sat back and just looked at them for a bit. There were moments when I was painting and creating when I had my doubts about this project, and I felt discouraged. What if I am the only one who likes them? What if they aren’t something that anyone else would want to do?
I had a moment of wondering why I wanted to make these pieces so much, and what was driving me to do so. There are just some projects that I need to make. I don’t know what drives me sometimes other than the fact that I like them.
But then I snapped out of it and came to my senses and pulled on what I have been saying here all along.
“Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” ― Maya Angelou
This is one time that I need to take my own advice. I never want to lose sight of that way of thinking.
I hope you 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"