I have always loved reading Edgar Allen Poe stories. From as far back as I remember, he has been one of my favorites. I loved the depth of emotion he wrote with and the feelings that reading his works evoke. He was certainly a gifted author.
I often talk about all the ideas that live in my head. As a designer, I feel very fortunate to have that because it wasn't very long ago when I remember struggling to think of new things to create that would be both unique and exciting. But lately, that hasn't seemed to be an issue with me.
Sometimes I share these ideas and thoughts with a select few in my life. It isn't always Keith. Sometimes it is friends or fellow artists or family members. More so however, I like to wait and slowly reveal what I am creating as it is being created. This blog is a wonderful place to do that. I am not only able to give insight to others who design (I have many friends and followers that do) but also those who do not, as I feel it gives them a bit of understanding into all that creating a project from start to finish entails. For some reason, that is important to me. I like to demonstrate step-by-step the layers of thought and consideration that goes into the finished piece, and hopefully they will be able to apply some of these steps into their own creativity.
I am not fond of trying to explain what the finished project will be prior to me starting it. For even though I feel I have the ability to communicate well here in my posts, I often have trouble doing so when I am trying to explain the final pieces. I am used to seeing a blank stare back from whomever I am attempting to describe the piece to, and at that point of my design process, I don't feel that I am very open to suggestions from others. It interferes with the flow of things in my head and sometimes ruins the project for me altogether.
I am uncertain as to why this is the case. My only conclusion is that I am not able to adequately describe what I am seeing in my head and therefore the opinions/suggestions of others would be based on something they don't fully understand. Those who work from inspiration know that there is a time in developing the design when we as the artists are very fragile. We are moving ahead softly and cautiously as it is, trying to sort through our own thoughts and even a hint of criticism could easily derail the entire process. For this reason, I found it better to for the most part keep things to myself when I am producing something new, for after it is completed, I am better equip emotionally to deal with the comments and suggestions from others.
Besides – I find it more fun to reveal the design slowly as I complete it. It is as if I am able to gently peel the layers away like an onion skin, slowly and carefully exposing the inner core. I think this is more exciting for both myself and those who are observing, as it allows ones' imagination to fill in the blanks and many find sport in guessing the direction the design is heading. It is much like a game.
I appreciate that many of you enjoyed seeing this project come to life. The kind encouragement only made me want to do a better job. In the end, I find that I am very pleased with the result, and I was able to pretty much nail the image of the project that just a few days ago only existed in my imagination. That is a reward in itself.
So now the time has come when I can say to myself, this design is "completed."
Those who design painting patterns all realize that this moment isn't always clear. It seems that there is always more that can be done. A bit of a deeper shade. A tiny highlight. Some additional toning to add a bit more continuity. Many paintings can go on forever. Well – at least for quite a while. But for practicality sake, there has to be a time for us to step back, look and say to ourselves, "I'm finished." I believe I have reached that point.
Here's where we were at yesterday:
Many of you thought it was 'done'. I knew however that I had a couple of additional things to do I wanted to make some smaller branches to fill things in a bit. I also knew that the raven itself needed some additional shadows and highlights. His eye needed more definition as well. (Oh – and he didn't have feet or legs!)
I began with the raven. While he look "ok" originally:
I added some more shading and highlighting to give him additional depth and shape. I also worked a bit on his eye to make it more predominent. (Oh – and I did his legs and feet!)
Here is the result:
While I didn't do much, I feel that what I did was effective in bringing him from "ok" to "much better." I hope you all agree.
I also worked on the branches, and gave them additional shadows to add shape. I had to restrain myself from adding highlights. Although I wanted them to have a good shape, I didn't want them to stand out too much. It would have made the painting a busy mess. After all – the scene is supposed to be in near darkness, so shapes are not always so defined. I also needed to be cautious when adding the secondary branches. It would have been easy to get "too enthusiastic" and go crazy with them and again – clutter things up too much. I believe I did alright though, and there is just enough, but not too much.
Here is the finished piece:
I am pleased. :)
The one thing that I debated in the picture is the visibility of the clock. I realize that it is for the most part hidden and that one has to really "look" to notice it at all. For a brief moment, I thought of brushing over it with perhaps the Glamour Dust Ultra Fine Glitter paint to bring it to attention a bit more. But that moment passed quickly.
When I originally composed this design in my mind, I wanted the clock to be subtle. From an artists standpoint, I don't want to serve the entire painting up on a platter all at once. There are enough paintings like that around. I am proud of this painting because I think I achieved my goal of causing one to linger a bit and "think" when gazing upon it.
Because of the brightness, the moon is the first focal point to catch your eye. Secondly, is the raven itself, dark and foreboding in the foreground. As we look at him, we see him looking at something else, and naturally, our eyes look to see what it is.
The clock! About to strike midnight.
"Once upon a midnight dreary, as I ponder weak and weary . . . "
And we are there with Poe. Mission (hopefully!) accomplished.
I have had many inquiries regarding the pattern availability. I will mention it here, but I realize that many won't read this far! <grin>
I created this painting for an online magazine called Interactive Artist Online. It is a wonderful online magazine that is published six times a year. This pattern will be available through them for their August 2014 issue. I will be offering the surfaces for this pattern on my site at Sheila Landry Designs. In a few months (after the pattern is released to me) it will be available on my site, but that will probably be after the first of 2015.
I am also in the process of creating a WOOD ONLY scroll sawn version of this pattern for Creative Woodworks and Crafts' November Issue (which will be on the stands late September.) I will certainly blog about that in the next week or so as I progress in creating it.
Today I am going to be writing all day. I need to finish up the instructions for this plaque, which are very detailed and have many photographs that I took along the way. It is really not a difficult painting to accomplish.
I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me. I enjoyed sharing it with you and I can't say how much I appreciate your encouragements and kind comments. It really was uplifting!
It is another warm and beautiful sunny day here in Nova Scotia. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend as well.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"