As I continue my work as a designer, I also continue to learn and grow. I like to think that each project I do – no matter how large or small – teaches me 'something'.
I am often torn between working on my own projects and doing projects from other designers that I admire. Every day as I check my Facebook account and other social media venues I see more and more projects that I want to try. These come in many different types of media – woodworking, painting and even needlework and sewing. I don't think I will ever run out of things to create. But that is a good thing, right?
I try to do my own work during 'regular working hours' and then I allow myself to 'play' in the evenings. But we all know that while that seems like a good plan on paper, it doesn't always work out to that in real life. Things happen and tend to get skewed all over the place. So I do what I can, when I can, and I hope for the best. It keeps things interesting.
Last night, after a day of drawing my next scroll sawing pattern and cutting orders) I went back to work on my "12 Days of Christmas" project designed by Lynne Andrews. (For those of you interested in perhaps creating this project yourself, you can get the Pattern Book on Lynne's site. It is called "Christmas Blessings". We also have a Facebook support group called "12 Days of Christmas Ornaments by Lynne Andrews - We are Making Them!" that you are welcome to join. The group is a great way to see how others are doing completing their sets of these adorable ornaments. Some are just there to cheer us on, which is great. Others are making anywhere from one to multiple sets. Since the project is very detailed, it is wonderful to have a place to share and enjoy our progress and get encouragement and assistance if we need it from other painters. It is really a lovely way to share our love of painting.
Now that I am in the latter stages of this project (I am on Day 8) the subjects for my ornaments turned from "birds" to "people". For me that is quite scary. Since days eight through 12 all have people as their subjects, that means that I will have to paint no less than 30 faces! (I am doing six sets of the ornaments.) That gets a big "YIKES!" from me. Not only do I find faces difficult, but I don't consider it a strong point of my painting skills. Add to that, they are all going to be TINY faces – about the size of your baby finger nail – and they are downright SCARY. (And not in a good way.)
In my previous post, I showed you the first face completed. I was pretty happy with her:
She looked nice and not too silly. Since the ornaments are very whimsical, I thought she fit in well with the tone of the project. I was happy.
But now I had to create her five 'sisters' to look just like her. (Or DO they have to look "just like her"? It was a question I asked myself that gave me an entire new perspective on things.)
I proceeded to do the cow's heads first. Those were pretty easy. After all, in order to screw up the cows face, I would almost have to try. I was pleased with my cows and it was still early enough for me to continue on. I knew that I wanted to tackle those girls' faces first and get that out of my way. That way I could 'relax' and finish up my Day 8 pieces. I did my general basing on the remaining five ornaments, and I finished the next one completely before moving on. (The one in the middle of the photo)
I was not unhappy with the result. While she didn't look exactly like the first girl, she looked like a 'sister'.
I think she looks a little more 'realistic' than the first one, but that is my style of painting showing through I suppose and I don't think it is a bad thing. I continued on and completed all five faces. Here is the result:
No two look exactly alike. Each one has her own expression and 'look' to her. As I look back on them this morning, there are a couple of minor adjustments that I will be doing, but for the most part, they are done.
The most important thing that I learned so far from this is that there are no set and fast rules that each face HAS to look identical to the others. If I take each ornament individually and look at it, I am happy. They all came out rather pretty, I think. It is only when they are put all together here side-by-side that you really see the difference. Is there really anything wrong with that?
These six ornaments will be scattered over two countries and once they are parted from each other, they will never meet again. Why then, should I be obsessed with making them all look identical? It is a question I had to stop and ask myself as I kept picking and picking at making them look the same.
This realization is rather 'freeing', I think. And while I am learning how the tiny variations of the shapes of the nose, mouth and eyes can change the 'look' of the face completely, I am also learning that there are many, many 'right' ways to paint these. And that makes it fun. My "Scary Faces" aren't so scary after all!
I will continue on with my "Day 8" ornaments and hopefully finish them up in the next couple of days. I feel that I am getting back on schedule with them after falling behind this summer. By Christmas, each recipient SHOULD have all 12. One can hope.
In the mean time, I spent the bulk of yesterday drawing up some new scroll saw designs. I can't wait to try them out and cut them and see how they look. So far, I am excited about them. Here is a sample for you to see:
I can't cut today, but I hope to cut them out by tomorrow. Then I will have them ready for our site update at the end of the week. I think they will be a really fun project.
It is overcast here today after a couple of days of much-needed rain. I look forward to working on my projects and staying close to home today. It will be a good and productive time, I think and I hope that I learn something new again, too. I hope you have a lovely day as well on this last day of summer. Autumn is knocking at our door.
Happy Wednesday to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"