Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Artistic growing pains

Boy do I have a lot of projects going on right now. I love working on one for a little while, taking a break and starting in on another. This allows me a chance to step back and revisit my work with a fresh set of eyes. This is especially necessary right now because almost all of the projects I am working on involve a learning curve. I have a really strong need to go outside of my comfort zone these days. Some sort of impulse to validate myself as an artist has been driving me to explore without seeking out instructions. This has left me in a precarious mood. When I hit a wall with one of my albums Sunday a whole bunch of self doubt and fear swept over me. And yesterday, when I finally got the embellishments and colors in sync with the overall feel of the project, my "artist anxiety" diminished and my spirits were restored. Lessons were learned but I have to question the price paid in the process. Is pain a fair price for growth? Hmmmmm...This is what I've been working on:
The first project in this "cluster of creativity" is a staggered, spiral bound chipboard album. I scraplifted the overall concept from the Zutter website. The difference in mine is that I added Bazzill cardstock pages in between the chipboard to pull out the rich colors of K & Company's Wild Saffron paper. When I started this book, I had just received my Zutter and was dying to give it a try so I dug into this project without any sort of sketch or plan. After I cut the chipboard, inked and adhered the paper and bound the book, I found myself having trouble coming up with the overall theme and words to use. I wanted to do something really unique but many of the ideas I had were too many letters for the pages or did not coordinate with the Tuscan feel of the paper. LESSONS LEARNED: Consider theme and purpose before you construct the project. Being excited about a new tool or product does not make basic design principles any less true. Another thing I learned was that by adding the cardstock in between each chipboard page, there was less surface for the letters to adhere to the chipboard pages. Overall, I really like how this album turned out but I haven't done anything with pictures, journaling or embellishments yet.
This next project really had me in a strangle hold. I scraplifted the concept from a product demonstration for the Zutter machine on HSN. The back bone of the album is a 12 x 12 piece of cardstock. The pages are attached in a gate fold but the pages vary in size. The various chipboard pages are 6 x6, 12 x 6, 6 x 12, 6 x 3, 12 x 3 and 12 x 8. I had been wanting to use the rest of my Danny O paper and this edgy and fun design was the perfect place for it. I covered both sides and stamped with Fancy Pant's acrylics in black to dress up the collage tone. I ran into a few problems in the actual assembly with the Zutter and my pages did not end up where they belonged. This mistake really bummed me out because the cover pages I had chosen were now buried towards the end. The covers I ended up with were were not meant to be next to one another and felt dry and uninviting. My hope was that it would come together once I added some texture. To do this, I used my Ranger Paint Dabbers but the end result did not grab me. Instead of looking like brush stokes and smears, the paint looked contrived. I went to bed on Sunday night feeling crummy. I let these obstacles get to me and I started doubting my abilities. Monday morning, I was still feeling licked so I decided I had better do something to make it stop. This motivated me to take the album apart and put it back together the way I wanted it. Suddenly, the project was speaking to me. Yes, this is what I was after! LESSON LEARNED - (again an obvious one) if I don't like where a project is headed, I am allowed to change its course.
The embellishments and title I selected worked just as I envisioned. The photos I had planned on using were perfect. it was coming together better than I had expected!
It is such a great feeling to have a project start to take life. The process however, often involves discomfort - I would like to change that. I want to grow as an artist without doubting myself. Is this even possible?
I am also working on creating my own acrylic album rather than spending $18+ on an 8 x 8 from kits2remember or other products out there. I went to TAP plastics and had them cut the panels for me at $1.11 each. I was pretty excited that it had been so simple until I put the 1/16 acrylic in the Zutter. It was too thick to gracefully cut through the plastic and it cracked when I finally forced it. The same was true for the Crop-o-dile large hole punch. When I used the small hole punch, I had no cracking but then the binder rings wouldn't fit through the hole at the hinge. I finally showed this project to my husband and he said all we needed to do was take a trip to the hardware store and he would be able to solve the problem. LESSON LEARNED: (Hmmmm - I think I've heard this before... )2 heads are better than one.
I have a few other projects I have been tinkering with each of which has taught me something -
  • unique envelope designs which I want to use for a mini album - LESSON LEARNED: skip the ornate details until after you have the envelop folded and adhered. No sense spending time cutting and punching if the basic design doesn't work.
  • my sister's birth announcements - I still haven't got a design I'm crazy about - LESSON LEARNED - Use magazines and websites to get inspiration rather than spending hours trying to reinvent the wheel.
  • twinking H2O's and stamping for collage - LESSON LEARNED - invite the kids to experiment with mediums - it is amazing what you can learn from their uninhibited style.
  • Granny's 95th birthday album - LESSON LEARNED - scrap with love and it will all fall into place

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