It is probably no secret to any of you that not only do I create scroll saw patterns and projects for a living, but I also create painting patterns. I have always felt that the two fields were closely related, as when I first began painting I very quickly found a need to learn to cut my own wood so I could have a good supply of things to paint. I have always been one to learn to do things for myself. Perhaps it was because I was impatient or because I was always changing the painting patterns that I purchased and therefore had a need to have some custom wood cut. Or maybe it was because at this the in my life when I was just learning to paint, I had a best friend who was very much like me and had a wonderfully supportive father who believed in encouraging one to do things for oneself and be self-sufficient. Cari's dad was a wonderful teacher and he and Cari were the ones that really introduced me to the scroll saw. I truly loved it, and I felt the process of scroll sawing was very close to that of sewing – which I also had done since childhood – so I suppose it came naturally to me.
Back then (nearly 20 years ago!) it was far easier to be a woodworking pattern designer than a painting pattern designer. I had very limited means, and the world was nowhere near as 'technologically advanced' as today. Painting patterns needed many color photos to help teach the process whereas woodworking patterns only needed line work. Not only was printing the actual patterns far more expensive because they needed to be in color, but without things like digital cameras and PDF files and programs such as Photoshop, the process was not only more costly, but far more difficult.
As a result, I focused on woodworking patterns and wound up choosing that way to make my living. While I always love scroll sawing and woodworking, I still had a deep love of adding color and painting wood as well.
Several years ago, I decided to once again try to make painting a part of my business. Great advances were made in many aspects that I just spoke of, and in addition there were many new products on the market that I feel appeal to both painters and woodworkers alike. I am finding that it isn't so much the 'either' 'or' mindset that used to be present many years ago, and that many woodworkers are enjoying painting and painters are enjoying woodworking as well. This makes me pretty happy.
Last week I finished up my painted version of a fun Halloween plaque that I call "Nevermore". It is based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem "The Raven" and I really enjoyed creating it. It will be featured in the August issue of Interactive Artist Online Magazine and will be my debut project with them. I was very pleased at the response I received from it, and I will be offering the wood pieces as kits to those who paint and don't cut wood.
I like the plaque very much as well. In fact I liked it so much, I offered to do a scroll saw version of it for my project for the November version of Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine, which will ship at the end of September. I think it will translate well into an all woodworking project.
So I spent yesterday re-drawing the pattern to work as a wood plaque. This wasn't difficult, but took a bit of time for me to do so. The tangle of branches, which were easy to paint in two dimensions now had to be a bit 'straightened out' so that they would successfully be done in three. There was some 'tweaking' of the lettering (NOT TWERKING!) so that the average scroller could be successful in cutting them and a couple of other things that just had to be ironed out. Re-drawing things took most of the day, but I am really pretty happy with the results and I think that I will be able to successfully replicate the plaque using just wood. At least I think I can.
So today I will be spending the day cutting. I am pretty excited about how it looks in my head and I hope that it comes out as nice as the painted version did. I am going to cut it using a variety of hard wood and plywood and I may actually tint some of the plywood to make it look a little better. I think the scrollers will forgive me for that. Of course they can use all hard wood if they have it on hand.
Thinking in different media is like thinking in different languages. Some projects translate very well from a painted project to a woodworking project and vice-versa. Others (where subtle shading is necessary) have a harder time doing so and things don't look quite 'right' when trying to present something in both ways.
Another example is the ornaments that I just completed yesterday. While they looked beautiful done in hardwood, with the design cut out:
They looked equally beautiful painted:
It is all a matter of personal preference.
Is this cheating on my part? Maybe just a little. But since I have been so involved in both painting and woodworking, it is very difficult for me to think of a particular project in only ONE way. So much of what I do easily translates from wood to painting and back again. I just love being able to offer both versions. While they are quite similar, the processes are like comparing the proverbial 'apples' to 'oranges'. I think that it is all good and I hope that it encourages both painters and woodworkers to think of things using a bit wider scope.
So today is another day at the saw. It is a hazy, yet calm morning here on the river. While it hasn't been what we would call a 'hot' summer, it is still very pleasant – as the weather has seemed much more autumn-like than anything. And autumn is my favorite season, so if we have two of them, that is fine with me.
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday and a great weekend.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"