When Have I Suffered Enough For My Art?

It’s OK to laugh now. I mean at me and the things I am about to reveal about myself. In the several weeks of blogging that I have done it has mostly been confined to my artistic troubles. I have let in little glimpses of myself beyond that, but it occurred to me that maybe people might want to read something a little more uplifting, well not exactly uplifting, but it might just give you cause to do that laughing I deemed permissible. For today’s project I decided to work on a small table. I’ll go into the details of it momentarily, except for now to say  that it involved using a wood burner, and it inspired tonight’s blog.

When I was twelve I slit my wrist. Before you gasp in horror let me tell you it wasn’t intentional. Crafty, artistic child that I was, I was in the process of trying to make a present for my working mother. I don’t remember exactly what I was making, but we can all assume it was a project from Highlight’s Magazine, I was an avid reader, and for those of you who are old enough to remember, I still quote Goofus and Gallant. I was cutting a bleach bottle in half with an open blade, it got stuck on the seam so I did what any brainiac would do, I slashed hard at it while holding it in my other hand. My parents were at work, so my big sister put a rubber band on my wrist to stop the bleeding. (She was a freshly turned fourteen year-old, how would she know?) Fortunately my dad came home shortly after that and took me to the emergency room. Two hours later with a butterfly bandage, because it was too late for stitches, and an interrogation by the police officer on duty who I had to convince I wasn’t trying to kill myself, I had for the first time officially suffered for my art. I bring this up because today while using my wood burner I turned to Dan and said that I couldn’t believe my parents gave me a wood burner for Christmas that same year. They gave a burning hot, searing weapon to their daughter, the daughter who accidentally slit her wrist, the daughter who had a gap between her front teeth until she tripped over her sister and smashed her face on the sidewalk, the same girl who can’t tumble, failed swimming lessons, can’t roller skate and didn’t figure out how to ride a bike until she was nine. Did anyone ever get the toy where you poured paint on a spinning device similar to a record player? I got it, spun the paint all over my bed. Stepped on a tube of acrylic paint in my teenage bedroom and shot hot pink across the olive-green carpet. I swear I have no fingerprints, they are all attached to the hot glue that I have had to pull off my burning fingers. My dad’s favorite story to tell about me to anyone willing to listen (and even those who don’t want to listen) is that I failed Phys Ed in high school. It’s true, of course my P.E. teacher is a dead ringer for the witch in the Wizard of Oz, I kid you not, I’ve got the yearbooks to prove it. Then there is of course my six knee surgeries. Tripped over a vacuum cleaner and fell down a flight of stairs, fell off a ladder, (twice) tried to hang a kitchen curtain, you get the idea. (Although Dan said he likes to tell people I did it pole dancing. Which might be possible if I could actually get on a pole) What I want to know is if suffering makes your art better, then why aren’t my paintings at the Getty yet?

Now that you all know just how pathetic I can be, I will tell you where I’m not. I took this five dollar table that I bought at a yard sale and am in the process of turning it into something I love. (I have a before photo. I’m not sure where in my pictures it is right now, but I promise to post it when I put up the finished table tomorrow) I had two ideas for it. One would have turned it into something for a kid’s room, but I went instead with an idea based on a piece of vintage fabric. Dan painted the base black for me. On the top I wood burned a floral design that I am painting with those Martha Stewart Pearl paints I mentioned before. I love, love, love them! It looks like inlaid Mother Of Pearl. I still need to draw two more of the flowers for the top and burn them. It is painstaking and time-consuming, but I love the finished look. When I am finished with the flowers I am going to add a light coat of stain.

It’s been a good day, and I only burned myself once!



Still Moving Slow

IMG_9719Still a little under the weather, so I just did a small still life sketch with colored pencil.  I struggled a little as always with perspective, but I feel like it’s getting better.  I think maybe a need a day of just doing a lot of sketching, nothing precise, but just some free form sketching.  I’m still a little timid and uptight in my drawing. Amongst the piles of stuff in my studio are giant sketchbooks that belonged to my kids from their school days. I think I need to make it my mission this week to just grab a piece of charcoal and fill one of them. I also need to get back to the painting that I started. It has been dry to the touch for more than a week. I had planned to get back to it ASAP, but I have been allowing other projects to get in the way. If I’m going to be honest with myself I think I’ve been avoiding it.  It will be my first full figure painting, but again, time to face those fears head on! 

Here Comes The Bride

Tonight I’m really happy with myself. I spent the day working on two completely different projects, one which I enjoyed, the other not so much. I read on Pinterest how to make a homemade canvas print. It didn’t work on the first try, but that was because I rushed it, the second version came out really good with one exception, I cut the photo just a hint too narrow. The sides get painted black which cures all ills as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t photograph it yet, and I’m tired so I’ll post it tomorrow.

The other project was a crafty sort of thing, which I really don’t do much of, but it still came out well.

After all of that and cooking dinner, it was as usual  late when I started my project. Once I actually got my supplies together and did the basic sketch it was after eight. I once again attempted something I haven’t done before, a watercolor portrait. Earlier in the day I was looking at the photos of my daughter’s recent wedding. I came across more than a few that I loved, but one really stood out. I loved it so much that I decided to draw it, but once I sat down tonight I thought I’d really like to paint it. Because I am the queen of instant gratification I chose watercolor. I knew I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it, but dove in. It’s funny that as often as I talk about the “not good enough” that lives in my brain, I sometimes forget that and forge ahead, and that is always a good thing. I am very happy to say that I think the results are really good. Most especially because I did the painting in about an hour and a half while watching television, in my lap, and with horrible lighting, and it was my first. I think the practice in both technique and confidence are starting to pay off. Here is my beautiful daughter, Jessica.Image