Monday, October 11, 2010

The Process of Art...and Life, For Me

Good morning, fellow bloggers, and Happy Thanksgiving to all those in Canada!  I love the Thanksgiving holiday, still a month away here in the States.  But I'm already looking forward to it.  It's a great time to reflect on all there is to be thankful for, and to share thanks with family and friends.  Today, I am very thankful for finding "blogland," and each of you within it!  Sharing with each of you has made my life much more fun and pleasurable, and I thank each of you for the part that you play in my life, and blog, today.

The above piece is what I did yesterday.  This is one of the vintage frames that I obtained recently that was originally some shade of off white when I began this project (original frame in a photo below).  There wasn't a back on this piece, and I didn't have a 12" round canvas board to use, so I improvised!  I found an old fabric swatch book in my stash that has a really hard piece of cardboard on its back.  It was plenty large enough to cut a 12" circle from it to use as my base, or substrate.

I had no clue where this was going, but I wanted to begin with a base of book pages.

I used pages from an old book recently purchased on the 650(?)-mile yard sale; I love the cover of this book (and hope to find a purpose for it in the days ahead).  So what to do next?

A coat of Titan Buff seemed like a good idea.  While attempting to rush the drying stage of the paint, a bubble appeared that irritated me.  So I began rubbing it, and it began to peel up.  Initially, I thought, "oh crap!"  But I kept rubbing, and the "bubble" continued to grow larger until one entire book page was uncovered.  It then seemed like a happy accident, that I liked!  The paint was a bit too "thick" for my liking, as I wanted more of the text to show through, so I got out the sandpaper, and sanded it down to a smooth surface, and liked the effect.  Hmm, what next, I asked?

I love using Glimmer Mist; the shimmer it adds is luscious, so I found a bottle that had enough left in it to spray, not truly thinking about what color it was.  But I still wanted to leave some of the background "white" so I used some Glimmer Chips ~~ the crown and Fleur de Lis chips ~~ placing them over my background before misting away.  (I added a bit more Glimmer Mist in a blue shade, that you will notice in the next photo.)  Hmmm, I was liking it, but it needed much more of "something."  I was thinking "texture" but knew that I would place it behind the glass within the frame, so dimensional pieces wouldn't work ~~ like the Tim Holtz Grungeboard pieces I wanted to use, ;). So...

Stamping seemed like a great option!  I attempted to choose stamps that would "fit" with the "regal" feel of the Fleur de Lis and crown, still not really having a plan for where this was going, but I truly wanted the Fleur de Lis to "pop."  I just love the shape of a Fleur de Lis!  Okay, this was working, but the stamps were too prominent, even though I had chosen to use Staz-On brown ink, instead of black.  "Sand it again, silly" was the thought that popped in my head!  So I sanded away, and was happy that the stamping wasn't as prominent anymore, but sad to see the shimmer from the Glimmer Mist fade away.

This is when the "resistance phase" hit, something I had just read about in Anahata Katkin's Older Post after seeing it mentioned on Lorrie Spot's Blog this weekend.  Gosh I dislike this phase of creating ~~ when our inner critic speaks loudly saying, "you're going to mess it up if you move forward now!"  But Anahata tells us that she recommends pushing on through this phase, not giving into our inner critic, as that is what true artists do.  Well, I want to be a "true artist," so I kept pushing on ... even while my instinct was to leave the piece and come back to it later, hoping a different time would provide a different perspective and idea.

 So, after sanding the background down again, I still wanted that Fleur de Lis to pop more, and I wanted that shimmer of the Glimmer Mist to return.  So I used a "white/clear" Glimmer Mist, that only added shimmer ~~ easy enough to solve that dilemma!  Hmm, then I found myself asking, "can I hand draw a larger Fleur de Lis?"  That inner critic said, "heck no!"  but I didn't listen, and decided if I free handed one side of it, then used a ruler to mark off the reference points on the opposite side, perhaps I could do this!  Voila!  It worked!  I used the Glimmer Chip Fleur de Lis as my inspiration for its shape, and while my "tails" are a bit exaggerated, I went with it.  Paint seemed like the more obvious and effective option for filling in the outline, so paint it was!

After painted the Fleur de Lis a Burnt Umber shade, I still was missing the "dimension" I was going for in the piece, so I shaded it with a charcoal pencil and then used Tim Holtz Rock Candy Crackle Paint over it ... and waited for it to dry.  While waiting, I worked on the frame, first using the dark brown Staz-On ink pad to highlight the high points on the frame, then adding some of my favorite Golden paint color, Quinacridone / Nickel Azo Gold, to the inner circle, and then spraying the entire frame with Glimmer Mist (in an orange-ish color that I had used on the base of the artwork).  Oh, it was "coming together, but I still wanted the Fleur de Lis to pop and have more "dimension."  Hmmm.

So I chose to add some Tim Holtz Distress Stickles over the Fleur de Lis!  (Have I mentioned that I love Tim Holtz anything?)  And, Voila!

In my humble opinion, I had reached the "Completion Phase!"  And then I asked myself, "did Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, Anahata, and all the other famous artists, have so many stages and struggles before completing a piece of art?"  I suppose they did, or even more so.  Art, and life in general, have so many stages, and questions to ponder along the way.  I suppose it is whether we stop to question ourselves during those stages, "what should I do next, what could I do here, what effect would that have," that makes all the difference in life and art.  With life in general, I fluctuate between asking too many questions, or asking no questions of myself at all, before moving forward.  I suppose I do likewise with my art ~~ fluctuate between asking no questions, or questioning myself too much.  Yes, I suppose I'm an extremist, seeking a happy medium, ;).  Today, perhaps, I found one for this piece of art.

If you've made it through this post, thanks for sticking with me!  I'd love to hear about your process of creating; have you found that happy medium between questioning too much, or not at all?  Wishing each of you a happy medium within life, and your art, today and always!


  1. I loved reading about the entire process. Even in art journaling, I find I have those happy accidents and moments where I have to force myself to push on through. I'm happy to see I'm not the only one. :)

  2. Love the texture and really enjoyed reading your descriptive entry J! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I have been here a long time, I read this 3 times as it as interesting and detailed with information as anything I have read in magazine or book lately. Maybe it is because I understood exactly what you said, and could identify with your thought process. So well written.

    I like this work a lot because one does not see everything all at once it keeps my interest for a long time, it has simplicity in a complicated way that makes it so beautiful.

  4. Jeanne, this is a wonderful piece. I cant tell you how much I enjoyed reading the really had my attention as I was reading I was thinking now what is she going to do next....and it was always a surprise......Thanks for sharing your process...

    I want to thank you so much for your commment on my blog....I was beginning to think noone had gotten what I was saying then you come along and I said ahha...she get's it......Thanks for the encouragement.....