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 ;)


Maryanne said...

Bravo!!! I think it's great that you decided to show the things that didn't work out. I hate it when things don't work out because then I second guess myself. But, they are learning experiences. Great post!

Diana Taylor said...

Well, call me weird but I really like some of your fails! The three canvases are fantastic and I can see so much potential in them (I would have called them the start of a success had I got that far!)- they have an interesting Japanese feel to them which I would definitely explore further. I also love your 'muddy' tags and love the effect you've achieved. Very brave to share you fails - mine go straight in the bin usually, but maybe I shall re-think - I am sure I learn from my mistakes but usually on a subconscious level, perhaps it would be interesting to consciously be aware of lessons learned and analyse reasons for fails - you've given me food for thought! By the way, have you tried 'Detail' embossing powder - I get much finer and better results with it - that might have been the problem with your embossing fail?
Thanks so much for visiting my blog earlier - I'm just off to see what else I've missed on your blog posts!