Thursday, February 4, 2010

Project TAKEABREAK: A Few Completed Projects

To subside any of your needs to view created artwork while I'm on my short few day hiatus, I've posted a few projects I completed in late December which inspired my Project Art-A-Day.
(I hope this some-what makes up for yesterday, today, and tomorrow?)

This first set of images I worked on as Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews (on my husband's side). I Photoshopped (and incorporated Illustrator) to collage for a unique print for each child. I tried mainly to use fabric textures as a basis for my images.

Next, I used Photoshop and Illustrator, again, to create a one-of-a-kind movie cover for my brother-in-law, Clark.

And lastly, I used photoshop to create a personalized In/Out board for my mom, who is a Radiation Therapist. The patients adore her, and when she's not at work, they always ask where she is-- so a temporary In/Out post-it was placed up by the other staff. I decided she needed a more permanent, fun board. I used foam core to create the pieces, and my husband helped drill and attach her rotating arm.

Project TAKEABREAK: A note of honesty.

Over the past few days, I've been feeling the pressure of creating each and every day. I could write to you about how "I don't have enough space," "not enough materials," how "my creative "store" has run dry and needs a re-filling," or just plain "don't you know I have other things to do??". All of these are true, and certainly whiney if I were to expand, and no one is checking out my blog to hear me whine, right?

"Suck it up!" you say?

Today I spent three hours playing with Sculpey, just trying to come up with something I was happy with. I found (online) a cool idea of using Sculpey to make a book cover. I tried using some of the letters (for example, see the Piper Print) I had previously drawn up to cut out of the book cover. Fun idea? Well, somehow, it just wasn't working for me today. Then I thought about making interesting objects out of Sculpey to then eventually use when creating a mobile! Cool, huh? Yes... perhaps later down the line, because, again... it just wasn't working for me today. I opened up my sewn sheep project, and realized that THAT project, too, just isn't floating my boat, right now. So I've decided, "Is it so bad to take a few days off? A day to recharge? To get my life up to snuff? To let the creative 'store' recharge and refill?"

The answer is yes. And no.

The YES argument:
Like any good artist, writer, etc., practice each and every day, even with something small, and even when you don't feel like producing, is what brings upon breakthroughs and discoveries both large and small. The key is to keep pushing along, even when you don't feel the vibe. Later, it's easy (and fun) to look back and sift through everything you've worked on in order to pull out the good from the good (and the good from the bad), and be able to then pursue new directions or more complex projects, possible combining multiple avenues along the way. Without the process to explore (even when we don't want to), it's difficult (or nearly impossible) to build upon our prior experiences and grow to become better artist (or better at whatever you do).

The NO argument:
Sometimes, it's true, you just need a break. Like anything, we need time to restore (back to our normal equilibrium) and refill (with ideas, thoughts, energy). There's nothing worse than that feeling you get when you're bored, tired, or just having a creative cramp: STALE and CONTRIVED! Ohhhh, those loathsome words! When in doubt, searching databases (art stores, educational lesson plans, museums, museums, museums...) is always a helpful tool to help get that inspiration right back where it needs to be. Another aspect is that I have spent my career as an artist creating for other people, and "on the side" I have created artwork for myself. What I call "my art" is specifically something that I create because I FEEL the art, I WANT to create the art, and I LOVE the art. Isn't it always far more exciting to do something because you want to, and because you're interested in it? Once I start placing art into the category of something I HAVE to do, it unfortunately becomes a little bit closer to the word CHORE (or WORK). I use the word work in parentheses because even projects I'm excited about can become work, however, it's the excitement that pushes the project to continue (and me to ignore the idea of it being work) as opposed to it becoming a chore. Another aspect is the idea that the 'creative store' (which you can tell I love to call it), can be depleted by other things besides just running out of ideas. For example, my house has been under the constant state or reorganization as we have virtually no storage closets or spaces, and we are opening up my studio to become a bedroom once again. Therefore, I spend at least an hour a day (often times, several hours a day), coming up with creative solutions to storing our every day essentials so that the house doesn't stay in this state of disarray and clutter. (Which, easily I can recognize is another cramp to me feeling like I want to create- disorganization and claustrophobia!) Another area of creative drain could come from creating dinners, writing lesson plans, and other daily ins-and-outs of life.

"I've been reading this and all I hear is WHINING! Suck it up!"

What's the moral of the story? You get to decide what's acceptable for you. I'm not complaining about my situation, because, of course, I put myself in it! But, I am trying to take a moment (away from creating) to discuss creating. We all need to take a look and recognize the pros and cons that affect us as artists (or creators of anything), and acknowledge that it's okay to take a break, just as much as it is not okay.

So today, and tomorrow, I take a break. Forgive me! I'll work hard to keep you impressed, or at least mildly entertained. Is that a deal? In the meantime, send me suggestions!! I promise I'll take them... and I'll make them!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Project EIGHTEEN (16 Continued): Nursery Sheep Collage- Adding Fabric and other Textiles

Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool?

For the rest of the day today (after working on project SEVENTEEN, and in a means to make up for my illness yesterd
ay), I've worked more on Project SIXTEEN (see below). I'm working more with illustrator, and photoshop now, to work with collaging pieces together. This is more of a work-up before I go to sew anything. I may have mentioned before that I'm not thrilled with how this piece is coming along, but I thought I'd continue with it for now. I anticipate that this will give me a good basis for the sewing part, once I decide on a template/pattern/design that I do really like.

Project SEVENTEEN: Sunlight Prints

Today I decided to try something that I've concluded will be better off to try when it's warmer outside: Sunlight Prints, or Cyanoprints, are gorgeous when you have the right materials. Mostly, they are made of natural objects, like highly textured leaves (like ferns), or flowers, for example. These are done using light sensitive paper, that you can "develop" in water. My husband bought me a small kit a long time ago, and I thought it might be a fun project to attempt these. So, what I have so far is not too exciting, to be honest. I did my first print using some leaves from my plant, and placing the print out on my deck... as it snowed, and needless to say, as it was cloudy. How much fun will it be to collect plants, flowers, twigs from the park in the spring time? Instead, I've been scrounging around the house looking for interesting objects that either have lots of texture, or have some interesting translucent quality. My prints make me feel like I'm having a grade-school moment. Ahhh, elementary art projects. (Nothing wrong with that, I just think perhaps a child could have done better than what I've done today!)

Another idea that the kit suggests is trying to photocopy an image onto acetate and using that against the paper. So, then I remembered some interesting images that I have created/collaged together that would be far more interesting as a cyanotype than as the image it is itself (in my opinion anyway). But alas! It's not so easy to print (from my printer) onto acetate/transparency! The ink just balls up, and believe me, I'm sure I'm not using the correct transparency paper for my printer. So really, it's my fault.

All in all, today's project is a bit of a bust... at least for now. I'll probably come back to it in the spring, especially because it'll be a great excuse to get out of the house, wander the streets (or the botanical gardens), and it's just plain easy. What a great introduction to photography!

On a side note, you can apparently make your OWN cyanoprint paper, but due to the chemicals involved, that will have to wait as well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Project SEVENTEEN: Postponed

Hi everyone,
This is a quick message to let you all know that due to a stomach virus, I'm down for the count for today, Monday. There will be no project today, but I do hope to make it up!
Thanks for following, and keep those suggestions rolling!