Thursday, November 29, 2012

No More "Mistakes"

Art Time. Precious words, aren't they? Especially this time of year when we're all so busy.

Surprisingly, I found myself with some art time on my hands and made my way to the studio.

I managed to step away from the computer a good part of the Thanksgiving weekend and I started on a couple of pieces of art that are going in a new direction for me.

Which I can't show to you just yet.

However, that's not going to stop me from talking about a very profound experience I had while painting...I made a mistake (and no, that's not the profound experience I'm talking about.)

It's been a while since I've done any work outside of my journal and I should have been expecting a slip, but I wasn't.

I was giving myself a really good tongue lashing, talking about how stupid I was to make such a mistake and that I should know better. I'm telling you, I was really giving myself a good thrashing. I was furious.

Here's the odd part—the mistake wasn't fatal to the piece of work. Mistakes are seldom fatal. Annoying, aggravating, and irritating, yes, but they are seldom fatal. It simply meant I would have to work in a different way to "fix" the piece.

In the middle of my tirade, I realized what I was doing and stopped. After all, if you've been on an Imaginary Trip with me, you know that I encourage making mistakes because that's how we learn.

Taking a breath to calm down, I asked myself, "Okay, what did I learn?"

As the question settled over me, I felt the tension ease and the feeling of defeat began to dissolve. I didn't feel quite so bad about messing up. And I was no longer tempted to quit and walk storm out of the studio.

As I started to evaluate what I had done and what I would do differently if I started over, I could easily see where I had gotten into trouble. By asking what I learned, I minimized the situation rather than make it gargantuan when I was busy insisting it a mistake.

You may be thinking semantics. But I disagree this time.

Take out a piece of your own art that you've made a mistake on and ask yourself, "what did I learn?"

Take note of your breathing, how tense you are, and how you feel about yourself when you focus in on the mistake. Are you still mad at yourself? Angry that you messed up the sketch? Now, think about what you learned. If you truly focused on figuring out what you learned, did you feel the tension and anger drain away?

Are you feeling tempted to pick up your pen again rather than being so annoyed with yourself that you had no desire to create another page?

That feeling right there, my friends, that feeling of wanting to try again rather than quitting is what I'm talking about! That feeling is the key to not only creating more art, but also to feeling good about it! For me, it's priceless. It means less downtime, less de-motivation, and more confidence!

Cool, huh?!

Now, if you're like me, you'll see a lot more application of "What did I learn?" than just art. It applies to just about any part of our lives where we're less than perfect.

So for the holidays, I am going to ask you to give yourself a gift. Remove the words mistake, mistakes, screw up, messed up and any other similar words from your vocabulary until the end of the year.

If things go in a different direction than you planned, ask yourself what you learned rather than beating yourself up. Take note of feelings, thoughts and your energy level. Take note of whether you finish the page and start another or if you still hang your brushes up until the feeling of defeat fades.

Give yourself the gift of no more "mistakes" by focusing on what you've learned. 

And please let me know what you've learned here on the blog!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Got It Covered!

I have been on a kick the last few weeks to finalize several projects that have been languishing in my studio. I'm hoping this kick will continue until at least the end of the year. 
My NOLA Live! Journal has been moved, shuffled, and piled, ignored, dropped, lost misplaced and then found rediscovered, but it still laid unfinished until this weekend.
I don't even want to tell you how many times I moved the darn thing rather than just going ahead and finishing!

It probably took that long because of the need to find the mat cutter, cut the board down, come up with an idea, paint it, unearth my binding machine in the very back, bottom corner under a stack of heavy boxes and finally do the binding and finish up the final touches on the cover.
Am I thrilled to have this done!?! YES! But talk about going from to Orlando from Tampa via Omaha?! Good grief! Since this is a Stillman & Birn sketchbook, I could have just as easily used with the original covers and glued a piece of watercolor paper onto the front and been done—months ago.
Still, I'm thrilled to have it done. The photos don't begin to do it justice as there are a lot of subtle color changes and details that are not visible. I deliberately left the title dateless as I've decided to put the second NOLA trip (November 2013) in the second half of this journal.

I still need to create a title page and a list of all the wonderful artists who joined me. Then, I think I'm done. Until November!

The cover was created using watercolor, acrylic ink a stamp, and a stencil. The title block is a separate piece of watercolor with hand lettering that's been glued down to the cover for added dimension.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote!

Go and exercise your rights. 

Go vote. 

Go be a part of history in the making. 

Go vote. 

Go and be heard. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

And The Winner Is....

...well, before we get to that, some of you mentioned wanting a larger peek. Since Blogger now limits the view size of the art, I thought I'd post a couple of peeks of different sections of Nature's Classroom.
Detailed View of Nature's Classroom
© Laure Ferlita
I noted that there was a bit of commentary on the amount of detail that I've included in this piece of work. Left to my own devices, I would paint details to the point of ad nauseam. Like most things I have found that I need to strike a balance between my need for details with other pieces that are fast and leave a lot to the imagination.
A detailed view of Nature's Classroom
© Laure Ferlita
The really nice thing about this painting is that when I found myself craving the detail work, I could work on this piece to satisfy that obsession while continuing to do quick sketch work in my journal. When you are as attracted to (obsessed with?) details as I am, it takes time to learn that not all artwork needs to be detailed.

It comes down to what I'm trying to say in the work or a feeling I'm trying to evoke. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes, more is more. Learning to "see" what works best takes time end lots of experimentation not to mention practice!

Without further delay, our winner is....rrARTz! Congratulations, Randi! 
Send me an email with the address of where you'd like the print mailed.

For those of you that are interested, you can purchase a copy of the print below using the PayPal button. Prints will be available on the blog at a price of $24.99 USD plus $5.00 shipping in the US for the next 7 days.

After that, the print will be moved to Etsy and will be $34.99 USD plus $5.00 shipping.

As always, thanks so much for the kind words! You make my day and make me want to keep painting!!