I spent the day Saturday writing instructions. Even though the skeletons were finished and on their way to the magazine for publication, I still had the job of explaining step-by-step how to recreate them. Sometimes that process takes longer than making the actual project.
I have learned along the way to take many pictures. Even if I am unsure as to which direction the project will head, I have never regretted having photos of the process that I used to build a certain item. Even if I don’t use all the photos, it serves to document the process I used and makes writing logical instructions much easier.
Besides writing the instructions for the skeletons, I also needed to write them for the crow pulling the pumpkin cart project.
When that was bumped to a later issue, I moved on to what needed to be done at the time and I never finished up. I was not looking forward to this task, as I had built the project a couple of months ago, but once I began I was pleasantly surprised that I had taken a great deal of pictures of the process, and they were already edited and color corrected and it made everything much easier. I simply following the story board that I had created and it all went very easily.
(Score one for being organized!)
I finished everything up by Saturday afternoon and I decided that Sunday I would take a real day off. I say a ‘real’ day off because most of my days off are spent either running around somewhere or working on other things or cleaning. This would be a “really-truly-do-what-you-want-to-do-day-off.” And I can’t tell you how long it has been since I had one of those.
So what was I to do with that day?
Over the past several weeks, I have really been wanting to do some serious painting. Not the kind of painting for mass production or to recreate over and over again, but the kind of painting that you spend a good deal of time creating and make only one of. Kind of like ‘fine art’ painting as I call it. I love painting wild animals and things in nature and I had done so several years ago. You can see some of the paintings that I created on my Gallery page on my site.
While some of these were done with acrylic paints, several of them were done using Genesis heat-set paint. I had found out several years ago that I cannot use traditional oils because they make me ill. But I do like the Genesis paints. What makes them different is that they are made to stay ‘wet’ and workable until you heat set them with a heat gun or in your oven. They have no smell whatsoever and are workable forever if you don’t heat them. I can testify to that because my set is about 15 years old and the palettes that I have of mixed colors work as if I mixed them yesterday. They are made by the same people who make FIMO polymer clay and the principle is pretty much the same. The good thing is that they work like oils and feel like oils too and you can apply all of the principles (color mixing, etc.) that apply to oil paints to them. (Except the mess and smell) I had forgotten how much I like them.
Last week I ordered a full set of paint from DecoArt called “Traditions”. This is DecoArt’s version of ‘oil’ paint. It is made of acrylic and performs much like oil paints and I had been debating on whether to try it for over two years now. Many of my painting friends on Facebook have talked about an online learning community called “Art Apprentice Online” which has many classes and studies on using this brand of paint. I have been watching it for quite a while and have wanted to join and take some classes, but I always talked myself out of it. Finally, I took the plunge and purchased some of their e-magazines which contain several video lessons and the bug bit me again. I really wanted to learn more about painting. While I did create some nice paintings in the past, I wanted to learn more about color and theory and line and composition and all of that other stuff. It is something that I have always been interested in and has always been a passion of mine.
So I took the plunge (with Keith’s encouragement) and ordered up a good variety of supplies for my new hobby. It felt really good to do this and as I said, it renewed my interest in paint and art in general.
But while waiting last week for my new paints to arrive, I stumbled across another incredible painting site. This one is Kingslan.com and it is the site of Ann Kingslan and Mary Gibilisco, who are two of the best art teachers I know of. I have heard of them time and time again and once at a painting convention I had tried to take a class with them and it was full. I never knew that they had such a wonderful and extensive site. I immediately got lost in it and realized that they too had online lessons and classes. Their prices were very reasonable and I wound up buying a subscription to their video classroom for a month just to try, as well as purchasing some pattern packets. The cool part was that Ann and Mary teach exclusively using Genesis paint, and I was fortunate that I had everything I needed to give some things a try.
I literally dusted off my case of paints and brushes for Genesis and I spent the day yesterday in my version of heaven. I particularly liked a project called the Color Wheel Wreath which explored theory and mixing all the main values of the color wheel. Not only was the project pretty, but it taught all the major mixes and values of the spectrum. It would be the perfect starting point for me.
I decided however not to do a wreath, but to do each flower individually on a 5” x 5” tile. This way I could ‘complete’ a flower each day, and I thought I would have more uses for the tiles than a large wreath (I could make coasters, or a vignette of small paintings). Besides that, it wouldn’t be so overwhelming to me.
So yesterday I got started, and not only did I mix my 28 color green palette for leaves, but I finished the first flower of the wreath – the Wild Rose, which covered the yellow values. Here is how it came out:
I am pretty proud of it. I just scanned it in for this morning, but I may take a better picture using my light box later on today. It may not be perfect, but I feel that it is a good start. I learned so much just from this one flower and even though I started out in the morning feeling awkward and clumsy, I was starting to get the hang of things and feel like I learned quite a bit in the process. It was a great way to spend my day off.
I suppose that I am lucky that I have such a wonderful job that I do every day. I realized that what I choose to do for relaxation isn’t very far off from the things that I do in my every day job. I love art and creating in general. Be it with painting or woodworking or any type of crafting at all. I don’t know what drives me, but I have always been like this, and I am so very fortunate that my life is as it is, and it allows me to follow my passion.
I decided that I need to take at least one day a week to do this type of creating. While many of you may not see the difference in doing this than my every day work, I can tell you it is great. And in the long run, it will make me a better designer on many other levels too.
It is never too late to learn something new.
I wish you all a wonderful week ahead. Happy Monday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"