Tag Archives: thoughts

Pondering the Why of Failure

Today, I’ve been just a little too sick to get much done, which is fairly demoralizing. It should take more than a sniffle to derail my plans. However, after a few small errands, I found myself wanting to curl up and sleep at work, and realized the likelihood of me getting anything done was slim. I’ve thus spent my evening perusing various online distractions, mostly art related.

During my perusing, I noticed a trend in the pieces I was drawn to:  all of them had tightly clustered bunches of collage. And then I thought back to where things went wrong last night. It was fine when I was getting ready to glue, but by the time I had more than a smidgen of paint, it went down-hill. So… maybe I’m overusing the paint? I’m still not sure how to proceed from here (or when I’ll have the energy) but I’m open to thoughts. Do I overuse paint? How can I incorporate this “collage cluster” thing that seems to appeal to me? And just what does one do about a yucky page?

Just a little disappointing

So I finished that page, but I am NOT happy with it, which is really disappointing as it was supposed to be the sort of page I could look back on and pick myself up if I was feeling low. Except… now I don’t even want to look at it at all. Figures.

The page started with how I was feeling sunday night after Koby left. I was feeling really down, and just… lonely. Only it wasn’t registering in my mind as “I miss Koby.” It was translating as “Sigh. As usual, no one is there. I wish someone cared.” And then suddenly, I was flabbergasted. For over a week, I was literally INUNDATED with love. Countless hugs, sweet and uplifting words, little gifts, a really big gift, sitting with me through my back pain– basically, more than I could possibly quantify. My thoughts were entirely illogical. So… this page was a reminder to myself about the difference between missing people and being unloved. Only, as I said, I hate how it turned out. I wonder now if I should paint over it and redo it.

It started out so well too. I used a background that was previously prepared, and when I laid the lined paper and scrapbook paper on it, it looked lovely. But then the paper didn’t stay white like I planned, and the lettering is awful, and then I kept adding, and it only got worse. So… I don’t know what I’m going to do now.

New Years Resolutions

The Context:

Last November I participated in NaNoWriMo (hence my sudden absence). Thus, I was writing 1667 words a day towards a very poorly plotted quasi-fantasy novel. It was a huge challenge, and for the first time in the 4 or 5 years I’ve participated, I actually won (defined by reaching 50,000 words before midnight on November 30). I even did that despite sabotage by my computer. Hurrah. I never did reach the end, but I really want to work on my art for awhile.

The Conundrum:

This last week, I saw the movie  “Julie and Julia,” which chronicles the story of a woman (Julie) who gives herself one year to work her way through Julia Child’s cookbook “French Cuisine for Servantless American Cooks” — and blogs about it. I really only have a minimal interest in cooking, but I thought “Wow. I want to have some kind of goal like that for my art.”  For the last few days I’ve been thinking. Then, I realized, “Oh my word, New Years is coming!!!”  Thus I started thinking harder.  Now, in the last few hours of 2009 I’ve (mostly) settled upon something.

The Goal:

“Each week, I will choose and complete (x amount) of projects directly from or inspired by one in an art magazine, art book, or blog tutorial.”

I still need to define “X” (I’m thinking 3? Any input on that?) and I may need to have an exception for complete (in case it’s a large, multi-step project, in which case, perhaps it can be broken into chunks?) I’m still working this out.

The Rest:

In the meantime, I am having a fairly tame New Years Eve playing on the wii with my parents and enjoying a few snacks. Tomorrow, however, the challenge will begin (after the traditional movie with my family).

Other New Years Resolutions:

  • Finish the gawky novel I began in November– if for no other reason, so that I can pick it apart and start over.
  • Continue on the wii fit at least a little bit (I am vaguely skinny by default, NOT because I’m healthy).
  • Get a teaching position, or at the very least, MORE jobs.
  • Save enough to move out.

What does 2010 hold for you?

Firsties- Early birds and Night-owls

My first page(s) in my altered book/art journal. I decided to dedicate it to my disfunctional relationship with the earth’s rotation.night owl art journal

I am glad I’ve started, and yet I have mixed feelings about this page. Its not at all what I envisioned (although by now I aught to know to expect that). One of the biggest challenges, aside from the gesso issues, was working in the double page spread. This is a first for me. I’m still not certain I’ve really pulled it off cohesively. I solicit any advice, be it specific to this page, or just in general. It just looks either too balanced, or too heavy on either side, but either way, as if it doesn’t match. How does one counteract that? I’m not entirely sure it’s done.  It doesn’t help that it’s about 394 times uglier on the computer. Imagine more pastel blues throughout, and imagine the edges with more blue, less shadow. Mostly, just imagine it less ugly. (edit: blues are fixed, mostly)

I apologize for the terrible picture quality. I just remembered that the reason I’ve been working small for so long is because then it fits on the scanner. Being that the whole book is big, photographing the pages is going to be an ongoing learning experience, and an unpleasant one at that, I suspect. (edit: outside in bright sunlight helped some, but still not great. )

I never learn

I SAID I wasn’t going to make any more cards. I realized I was horrible at it. And what do I do? My college roommate’s wedding comes up, and I don’t want to give her an impersonal store card when the gift is already something from the registry rather than something with any thought from me. So, despite previous lessons, I made a card. It is the most horrendously ugly thing I’ve ever seen. For a WEDDING. Where things are supposed to be pretty and elegant. And now, I have a few hours to find a solution, which will likely be some store thing, only with less time to choose a nice one.

I am an idiot.

Thoughts on Card-Making.

I never really understood this whole “card-making” craze. Who do you send all these cards to? How do you come up with clever little hallmark worthy phrases? How do you keep from gagging with all the cutesy themes?

However, I do follow a few challenge sites that include (or focus exclusively upon) cards, and I gave it a try. Despite the HOURS of work that went into making my tree card, I did enjoy it, to an extent. I believe my boyfriend liked it, at least. However, I have resolved I will never make a card again. (Yes, I am aware that by saying so, I will probably end up doing one again for some inescapable cause or another.) My reasoning is as follows.

  1. I don’t do cutesy. I just… can’t. It makes me sick to my stomach.
  2. I work much more complex than what seems to be the way with card making. I can’t stick to a few simple shapes cut from pretty paper.  Part of that is my objection to cutesy, as mentioned in #1. Part of it is that I don’t feel like I’ve DONE anything when it’s that simple. My creativity is not satisfied at all. It feels only slightly better than those prefab projects we did in kindergarten.
  3. I have a heck of a time coming up with something meaningful and clever to say, and I refuse to use canned sentiments. If I wanted canned sentiments, I’d buy a card at the local drug store.
  4. My work is rarely precise. I am a mixed-media artist. Not a good one I realize, but nonetheless, paint flinging is part of my process. Precision bores me, and then when I can’t keep it simple (see #2) its a pain in the butt to try to be precise for the entirety of a complex project.
  5. I don’t have anyone to send cards to anyhow, and if I did, I probably would take too long on the card and then it would be late anyhow.

Card making is just not for me. I gave it a shot, and I still don’t get it.

On a related note, it may be awhile before I post anything, for two reasons.  One, I’m kinda hitting a lovely bout of the doldrums. No inspiration lately. Two, the scanner I am accustomed to using is hooked up to a monitor that decided to stop working. Its within the warranty period, but it still will take time before its fixed/replaced. I can probably use the camera, but those often come out rather odd. By the time I have anything to make, the technical difficulties will likely be past.

ATC: Summer (An Exercise in Failure, Persistence, and Success)

I set out knowing exactly what my first art piece on my new desk was going to be. It should have been simple (and thus, should have been posted early last night). While running errands last week, I saw something that seemed like a good composition (and a good entry for the “Doors and Windows” challenge on one of the challenge sites.)

I sketched it down, determined to do it later, in marker. I did, and it looked good, but it was missing something. So… I added. Unfortunately, the more I added, the worse it got. The words were somewhat fun to add, going every which direction, but they just detracted from any discernible focal point, rather than adding. I resigned it as a failure. But… I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I crumpled it, flattened it, wet it, crumpled it more, then tried stitching the words. Then… stitched a piece to mount it on (stupidly choosing to do it by hand, which took nigh close to forever) and stitched it to the backing (this time, by machine. I is smart artist!) The stitching added what I needed. I now declare it finished– and a long sight from what I intended.

This piece really got me thinking about the art process. Some thoughts that came to mind:

  • Two years ago, when I first took a serious interest in mixed-media, collage, art journaling, and the like, it was in part because I was mourning the lack of art in my life– a lack that occured because I’d get sooo frustrated with the quality of my drawings. I couldn’t shake perfectionistic tendencies, and I was no longer enjoying art. Art Journaling was supposed to be a way for me to escape that perfectionism, to take risks, and accept failure. It certainly didn’t start out that way, but I think I’ve reached that point. I’m bummed if a piece doesn’t go how I want, but it doesn’t leave me in a foul or dismal mood.
  • The reason I still prefer mixed-media now is two-fold. First, its much more forgiving. A mistake need not be final. If you start with one medium, sometimes there’s simply nothing more that can be done with that same media to fix or mediate the mistake. However, by adding other media, you can change the piece. Second, its just more fun.
  • Mixed-Media pieces almost always turn out more interesting– less perfect, yes, but still more interesting. There is a depth to them that is lacking in their single medium counterparts. Layers build up, and it adds a level of mystery, and compels the viewer to look a second and third time to take it all in.
  • Persistence does pay off in mixed-media. Mistakes don’t have to be mistakes. You can add to them, and the layers build up, and change a piece– although not always how you think. Persistance must be coupled with a willingness to forego what you envisioned for what the piece will become. More often than not, the two are not the same. Sometimes the result is better than your original plan. Just have faith that -something- will come out of it, and don’t try too hard to dictate what.
  • If a piece doesn’t seem to be going well, its probably either a lack of value balance (not enough whites, mediums, and darks) or a lack of a focal point (sometimes a result of the values being off). When in doubt, find (or add) a focal point, and check your values.

See my other ATCs.