Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Theme: Bring on Spring

It's time.  It's finally time for Winter to buzz off and make way for warmer, happier seasons.  This is the last day of February, and I say good riddance.  I like Valentine's Day, but otherwise I have no use for this month.  It's about time March got here.  March, with its Spring Equinox, my birthday, St. Patrick's Day, daffodils, and, this year, Easter.  I cannot wait.  So, to rush things a little bit, here are some of my favorite things about Spring.

1. The Return of the Birds
Simple tag from 2010 (I think).

Already I've been stepping out of the house and hearing birds in the morning.  That makes me happy.  In Springtime, I like to decorate with birds and use them as a motif in my art, or at least I would use them more if I had more bird stamps.  I have been collecting these pretty little glazed porcelain birds from Michael's craft store.  They look adorable on my living room shelves.

2. My Garden
The view from my bedroom door last May.
The view from my bedroom door in January.
The first one is better, isn't it?  I can't wait to see my lavender blooming again and have fresh herbs growing again.  Not to mention my adorable little fern, Fred, has been suffering indoors all winter and is so dried out he's crispy, even though I mist him every morning (I don't name all my plants, but the fern just looked like it needed a name.)
3. My Birthday
Mr. Pocket is the best.
Yes, this one is about me.  Pretty self-explanatory.
4. Not Freezing My Butt Off.
This is an important one.  I don't have a picture for it, unfortunately.  Or perhaps fortunately.
5. Daffodils
Somehow I have completely failed to have a picture of my favorite flower.  It trumps all of the others because it's the first to come up, aside from crocuses, which I like almost as much.  One of my favorite poems is about daffodils, too.  It's William Wordsworth's "The Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud)"
Are you looking forward to Spring as much as I am?  What are you most looking forward to about it? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Theme: Sing Along

Missed the Valentine's Day post. Timing problem. Not my fault. Okay, entirely my fault. But here I am with a new theme, inspired by my Valentine inspirations. There's one less piece to share than I had intended to have, but that's okay, it'll have to make an appearance some day when I actually get it done right.

Anyway, this week's theme is one that I tend to take for granted. This week's theme is song lyrics. I'm very much inspired by music, especially rock music and Celtic/new age music. I know, strange combination. Though you wouldn't think so if you listened to Blackmore's Night. Anyway, I digress. I work songs into my art quite a bit, whether by incorporating the lyrics themselves or by creating a scene that comes to mind when I listen to a song. So this year for Valentine's Day I was going to do a whole series of tags based on some of my favorite song lyrics about love. Here we go...

Okay, it's sideways at the moment. This is the refrain from A Maid in Bedlam, as recorded by the John Renbourn Group. Not perfect, but it'll do until I have better ideas for it.

One line from Down to My Last by Alter Bridge. The next line is "In your world I'm blind," but I like this sentiment so I focused on the positive.

Remember this guy? From the Oops post? It was going to have the beginning of the theme song for Ouran Highschool Host Club: "Kiss kiss fall in love!" Still need to start this over.

I also showed a glimpse of these canvases last time, because they were a re-work of a failed idea. The lyrics are from the title song on Alter Bridge's first album, One Day Remains. Each canvas has the first half of the line in the red strip and the second half of the line scrawled across the open space.

Also featuring Alter Bridge lyrics (sensing a common theme within the theme?), I threw this together one day in about 10 minutes. It just came to me in the car, and I wanted it to look messy and thrown together, which it does, and that's fine because it's not like I'm going to be trying to sell it or get anybody's approval for it. It's just for me, and for you because I've decided to share. Someday I'll find a frame for it.

Hidden lyrics from Broken Wings, also from Alter Bridge's first album.

It's not all hard rock in my non-lovey dovey stuff. I've got Christmas stuff:

The Peace Carol, from the Muppets and John Denver: A Christmas Together.

*cringe* Early work. With the title line from the theme song of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the 2005 movie version).

I've got lots more floating around in my head, never committed to paper and whatnot. More Alter Bridge, some Shinedown, some traditional songs, all kinds of stuff. Who knows if I'll ever get it all done. In the meantime, at least I'm never without an internal soundtrack. What music inspires you?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday Theme: Oops.

The purple is staying for the rest of the week, folks.  Because my Ravens are the SUPERBOWL CHAMPIONS!!!

So, logically, I should have something purple this week, or something Ravens-related.  Maybe even a theme honoring Edgar Allen Poe, whose famous poem the team is named for.  But I don't.  Partly inspired by a recent mistake and partly inspired by how Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is always willing to admit where he and the team made mistakes, I am making mistakes the theme of this week's post.

See, as artists, when we share our work we don't often share our failed experiments.  We show off what worked, what we're proud of, what turned out just perfectly.  And that's great, because it shows people that yes, we are actually kind of good at this stuff, and it's therefore worth the time and effort and money we put into it.  But there are a lot of fails along the way.  For those of you not as internet culture savvy, "fail" is now a verb, noun, and I'm pretty sure it's an adjective now too.  Modified for emphasis by preceding it with "epic."  For reference, click here.

The great thing about art fails is that they keep you humble, and you learn so much from them.  Okay that's two things.  Grammar fail.  Anyway, the point is, I decided to share some of my fails with you, my few but loyal Pocketeers, so that you can see what I learned and maybe learn from my mistakes instead of having to make your own.  And because sometimes it's funny.  Here we go...

Art fails happen for so many reasons.  Sometimes, something doesn't look the way you thought it would.  Like these layered canvases.  I had such grand plans...

Turns out, black tissue paper is REALLY DARK.  This would be an epic fail.

I'll be honest, I was really discouraged with these.  But after a while, I took what I didn't like about them and used that knowledge to entirely redesign what I was trying to do.  And that's how I ended up with these:
Much better results.

There's also this, which then became scratch paper to test the next steps of my project on:
Don't know if you can see, but I got a little too crazy with layering the quatrefoil stencil and it just looked messy but not in the fun way.  And this was to be Mom's birthday tag, so it had to look good.

Sometimes, the materials fail you.  Like when your embossing powder doesn't stay put:
WTF happened here?

Or your inks get all muddy:
At least these I might be able to salvage.

When that happens, I just start over and relegate the failed piece to either the scrap pile or the "maybe I can still do something with this someday, just not now" pile.  And to be honest, those piles are usually the same pile, teetering on the edge of my worktable, hopefully not falling off and scattering all over the floor.

Sometimes, you're just dumb, and forget to mask off the space around the edge of your stencil:
You can even see that I tried to wipe it up before it dried.  Say it with me, folks:  FAIL!

But it's okay because you learn and the next time you do it better (and less heavy-handed, too):

Or you're dumb and forget that gesso is not as porous as bare paper, and will not accept water-based spray inks nearly as well, and your awesome red spray effect ends up pink because it all dabbed off:

Still other times, you just over do it.  It's not something I often do, since I favor a simple look, but it happens.
WAY more pink than I wanted all in one spot, not to mention that AFTER I glued down the graph paper I decided I should've written on the looseleaf.  Head. Hit. Desk.

This last one is the oops moment that inspired the post.  I hate it.  But here goes.  Remember this, from the tree post?
Off to a promising start, yes?

Well... I got a little carried away... and, well... here...
Mom says it's not THAT bad.  I hate it.

What really killed it was a combination of two things.  Futzing too much with the crayon wax that I melted onto it from the top because I'm a perfectionist, and adding the thick gesso quatrefoils.  Mainly the gesso quatrefoils.  They just crowded the thing too much.  So, I took that knowledge and a Michaels coupon (to get more canvas) and started over.  Now I have this:
Much happier with this one.

I'm still going to keep the first one.  I've been starting to keep my mistakes, because I think it's important to look back at what you learned from, both to refresh what you've learned and to remind you how far you've come.  I could show you so many more fails, but I haven't kept them all, and, well, these are the good ones ;)