It has been another busy end of the week, as well as weekend. As we are moving into the second week of May, the weather is finally getting warmer and beginning to resemble spring and summer. Hopefully in the next week, I will be picking up my car from the place that is working on it and I will once again have my driving freedom. It has been a long story regarding my vehicle this past year, and I don't want to bore anyone here with those details. There is enough good to focus on and talk about and hopefully that particular chapter in my life will end and I can move on from there. Besides, I am too busy to dwell on it. Why waste time on things that we can't change?
Lately I feel that I have been focusing in more directions than usual. Perhaps it is the result of being home here for the most part with much time to plan and think. Besides figuring out our move in two months and designing my studio, I have been discovering so many new types of creative media and I can't help myself but want to learn them and create with them. It is something that drives me from deep within my heart and I find myself wanted to accomplish more than ever.
Because of that, I see my posts here jumping from one thing to another. I have tagged it with terms like "scroll sawing" and "tole painting" and "needlework", but I could also list it with several other terms such as watercolors, stumpwork, and colored pencil work. Not to mention all the terms that are associated with having a small business. The list of key words could very well be as long as the post themselves. (And that is saying a lot, as those of you who read often know how I can ramble on!)
There are times when I feel I should 'settle' on one or two things. But those thoughts are usually fleeting, because I feel in my heart that everything I do regarding my art and design work is related. There is no hard and fast division between skills from one medium to another. They all seem to bleed over to each other in one way or another and I don't feel the need to curtail that at all.
I am often asked how I keep coming up with the many ideas for designing that I have, and I believe that the answer lies within my lifestyle and my longing to continually learn new forms of creativity. While I realize that this type of life isn't for everyone, I accept it as part of my own personality, and instead of fighting it and trying to channel myself into one aspect of art or another, I embrace the desire to learn and find myself happiest when doing just that. Each distinct type of creating that I do helps every other aspect, I believe. Besides that – it makes me happy to learn new skills and helps me feel accomplished. It is a very positive thing in this world that is sometimes filled with sadness. Therefore, I make that my focus.
One of the most important things that I accomplished over the past few days was to create the pattern for my watercolor seahorse that will be featured in the June issue of Interactive Artist Online Magazine.
Being new to watercolors myself, I feel that creating this painting was a bit of a challenge. I wound up painting the seahorse three times, and each time I learned new things and it got much easier. It also helped me break down the steps to creating it in a very organized manner, which will help me teach it to both beginners and those with more experience. I wound up with 33 step-by-step photos for the pattern, which is not because it is a particularly difficult project (I think rather the opposite) but because I wanted to be able to walk people through the process using baby steps that in themselves were simple and not intimidating. Too often I see people look at the finished product and declare that they would "never be able to do that". I find by guiding them through using baby steps, each step in itself is not hard and as my students follow thorough those steps and complete them successfully, they gain confidence to continue on see that by breaking down the creating process in this way, anything is possible. It is one of the most valuable skills that I have, I believe.
I will be finishing up the text today, and I feel very good about the project as a whole. I hope that it will take some of the fear out of using watercolors that many have, and encourage them to try new techniques.
A second thing that I worked on were some scroll saw patterns.
This is part of a new series of patterns that I began creating a couple of weeks ago. I have so many ideas with this group that it has been difficult for me to channel them into a way to present them that makes sense. Perhaps that is why it has taken me so long to get moving on them, and I have sidelined them several times. My scroll saw followers have said they have 'missed me', but I want to be sure of the direction and format that I will be offering these. I am sure that once I resolve these thoughts, I will be happy that I spent the extra time to think things through first. I am certain everyone will agree. Patience will bring its own reward.
The next avenue which I chose to travel this past week and weekend was in the colored pencil venue. After stocking my beautiful new box with all my colored pencil supplies, I realized how little they have been used. While they are beautiful to look at in the presentation boxes, it would be foolish of me to allow them to sit and not take advantage of them. I began a drawing of a daffodil (the reference photo is from the Anna Mason Art website, where I am enrolled in the colored pencil course)
While I have a long way to go, I am pleased so far with the outcome. It is always exciting to me to learn something new. I am using techniques taught by Lisa Clough (Lachri Fine Art) whom is an increadible artist and has many online classes.
And finally, I did some relaxing with my own stumpwork embrodery project designed by Di van Niekerk.
I am getting close to finishing my panel 4 of my sampler. There are those who can't understand why I find something seemingly so tedious as 'relaxing' but I assure you, it is and I love to do it. It is very relaxing for me to follow the directions of others (especially when they are as well-written as Di's) and not think and just "do".
I am currently working on assembling my first original EMBROIDERY KIT that I will be offering. I decided on starting simply, but there is still a great deal of time and planning involved. I finally made my order to John James Needles in the UK for what I think I will be using for my kits. I want the kits to be pretty much 'all inclusive' of fabric and specialty threads and I plan to dye some of the fabric myself. The only thing they won't include is the DMC threads, although I am leaning toward including small swatches so they can be easily found and matched. DMC threads come in over 500 colors and types and while I own the full set of them, there is no way I can stock them for kits. I have no idea if I will sell one kit or a hundred and it is just too big of an undertaking for me to stock something that is so readily available or substituted. I will, however be including the beautiful specialty threads from places like Valdani and the hand-dyed ribbon and fabrics, beads, embellishments and needles. I think this will work fine. You will have to come back to see. I will certainly blog about that when ready.
I am afraid I have written another long post today. I suppose that is expected after several days of missing. I don't know sometimes whether it is better to hold off until I am well on my way working on things or keep you posted as I go. You need to let me know on that.
Keith also has a new pattern on the site that he wanted me to show you.
I love his SLDK669 Camping Rules Sectional Plaque and I think it will be a big hit for the summer. You can order the pattern on our site if you are interested.
I hope you had a great weekend. I look forward to working more on these projects that I mentioned, as well as starting some new ones. I will try to keep up with you here as I create. Variety is the spice of life, they say. My life is very spicy, apparently!
I was thrilled at the response from my new Wordpress account. I hope you like having choices in which to read my posts and I encourage you to comment often so that I am seen more on the web. I try to answer as quickly as I can.
I wish you a wonderful week ahead. Happy Monday to you!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"