Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Some Days…I Am A Blooming Idiot

I truly wish studios came equipped with little guardians (maybe a daemon?) that were capable of body slamming and hog-tying us when we started to do something really stupid, but alas, they don't and I did.

It all started out harmlessly enough. I've continued to work in my Winter Interrupted sketchbook from the workshop a few weeks ago and I managed to paint the first sunset painting I've ever liked:
Our Last Sunset
Watercolor
Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook

And life was good.

Until I went into the kitchen and noticed a really cool texture on some new paper towels we had just bought that looked a lot like a beach towel-ish texture. Well, the brain synapse fired off—beach+sunset+beach towel=brilliant idea!

Yeah, except not so much.

I am FOREVER telling folks to experiment on another piece of paper first rather than commit to your artwork and risk being an unhappy camper. So I did and it kinda worked. I used a blue stamp pad on the paper towel and stamped it on tracing paper. It worked well enough that I decided to go for it.

It didn't work. My page was a much larger area and the towel was drying before I could get an imprint.

I should have just stopped. But oh, no. Nothing quite so brilliant crossed my mind.

(And I had no little guardian to say, "You are on the verge of a colossal mistake. Step away from the sketchbook and no one gets hurt.") 

Instead, I thought, "Hey, I have a stamp with a similar texture!"

Similar but not the same and apparently, the differences escaped my notice.

Our Last Sunset
Watercolor with stamping around image
Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook
And so I stamped it. Not bad, really, but NOTHING like I had in mind. The lines were too…straight and rigid. I wanted relaxed and flow-y. Meandering, maybe.

Annoyed with my results, I sulked for a while, trying to find a way to make the page work. Not too much later, a new thought struck!

In another moment of sheer brilliance, I decided to add gesso to the offending texture to "knock-back" the blue and hopefully obscure some of the lines.

Only, it didn't really work. (Grumble, grumble.)

So, this time, not in brilliance, but out of desperation, I decided to add some more color…blues, lavenders and grays.

(Do I at least get a point or two for persistence?)

And it sucked! I'm sure you are just as shocked as I was.

Thank goodness for gesso and baby wipes. I removed as much of the color as I could and in doing so managed to smear a bit of paint into the white border around the sketch. Oh, the horror!! I had to fix it!

(What do you mean, "Where's the photo?! I didn't want anyone to see that!)

In trying to fix the smeared paint, I touched the very dark paint and it BLED!

And then I had an even bigger mess.

("Arrrrgh, just shoot me now! Can you not see what you're doing, lass? Stop already before you've completely ruint the thing," pleads the imaginary guardian.)

But did I stop? No. I. Did. Not.

So in my final moment of staggering brilliance—you, in the back, stop with the eye-rolling and chuckles—I grabbed a couple of pieces of tape to use over the sketch so that the paint wouldn't run while I cleaned up the smear AND the bleeding.

And it didn't. The paint didn't run a bit.

But the paper tore and the paint lifted when I lifted the tape.

("For the love of Pete, woman, just...just stop!!" my little guardian would have been screaming at me.)

After repairing the smear, the bleed and the area where the paper tore and where the painted lifted, I was almost, but not quite, back to where I started.

In a quiet moment of admitted defeat, I decided to heed the advice of my make believe guardian and just journal on the page and call it finished before I did something I couldn't salvage.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the only true moment of brilliance I had through the whole, entire process.
The Final Sunset Page
(And if I had said guardian, at this point, his hair ripped out of his head, his voice hoarse from screaming, shoulders slumped, he would have tendered his resignation while muttering something about "bloody brilliant, my arse" as he trudged out the door.)

I think I'm in the market for a new imaginary guardian...

27 comments:

  1. Poor girl. LOL It has happened to all of us. Time and again. :/

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    1. Yes, I suspect it won't be the last time either, Lisa. Sigh.

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  3. Oh my God I have SO been there! My first husband was sort of my guardian, he would often say "STOP before you f**k it up!" I try to hear his voice when I'm in danger of doing this. Again. :D

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    1. I've begun to think it's a condition of being an artist, Kate. Chris is pretty good about telling me when I'm getting close to screwing up, but I usually do it anyway!

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  4. Now if you had told us this was intentional, and that you achieved the effect you set out to do with texture, design, and pattern as a surface for your lovely sunset painting, I would have never been the wiser to your struggles and still would have thought this was a wonderful page :-) But yeah, I do that kind of stuff more often than I'd like to admit!

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    1. Then I consider myself in good company, Ann. I thought about just letting it go, but it really was just too epically stupid not to share.

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  5. I'm laughing because who hasn't done that! It's still a beautiful page, so other than your sanity, no real harm done.

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    1. Ha! The sanity was shot a long time ago…may be part of the problem!

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  6. This writing cracks me up - this is something that I am so familiar with, too. I love the page - the sunset IS the best!! Going to watch some of your vids now - thanks!

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    1. Thank you, Patti! The entertainment value *almost* makes up for the aggravation of my "bright ideas!"

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  7. It doesn't look like you struggled so much. It really is a pretty sunset and since it steals the show, it's a success still! The background is definitely background so it works to me!

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    1. Thank you, Timaree. I really was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to glue another piece of paper down as cutting it out was not an option.

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  8. Well, sorry for all your struggles, but your end result is still fabulous. Love that sunset!!!

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl, truth be told, I'd still rather I NOT have done what I did. Oh well. That ship sailed!

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  9. And another thing. If you did have a guardian who stopped you, you wouldn't have learned nearly as much!

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    1. Hmmm, I'm thinking there are some things I might rather not learn! But you do point out a valid argument.

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  10. LOVE your sunset….but love your story even MORE!!!! I have kicked myself for doing such things in the studio as well. My aunt taught me to paint when I was a little girl and she used to say "don't putsy with it" when she knew I was about to overdo it. I still hear her words in my mind. Glad to know I'm not the only one. :) Your fix turned out beautifully. The journaling around the painting is gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you, Corn and Wine (love the name)! My favorite thing to say along those same lines is "Don't futz around with it." Too bad I wasn't taking my own advice that day!

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  11. Dear Laure - I think first that your sunset is gorgeous and as for your story that went along with it I was laughing the whole time I read it. What artist cannot relate? Seems like we all at times just don't know when to quit! Looks to me like you did a great rescue job! Have a super week.

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! I'm telling you, the guardian idea is a good one…if there was just a way to implement it!

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  12. Too too funny Laure! OMG, what creative souls couldn't relate to this post? I've had so many of these instances happen to me, that I've been placed on the "Imaginary guardian" hit list! They will not come near me! I'm glad you saved this beautiful photo of the sunset! It truly is fascinating!

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    1. Thank you, Myra. It seems most of us need someone to intercede on our creative efforts and "good idea!"

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  13. wonderful sunset .... and a wonderful story to start my day. Remember, you are the one who dared me to just do it / go for broke / dare to make mistakes. Now you have to pay some dues

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    1. Yes, paying our dues and learning to keep going is what it's all about! Thanks for reminding me, Elva!

      P.S. I remember daring you, but did I say anything about telling the world about said mistakes??? ;•)

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  14. A lovely sunset....and a great story....you should be a writer....a comedy writer!! Love the colours, and those darks in the foreground.

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  15. Hahaha...I liked Elva's comment..."pay some dues." But that aside....I love your mistakes. It looks like a page from graph paper...and the gesso on the border makes me think of sand. The "mistakes" really bring it to life! :-)

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