Life on the EDGE?

There have been many  blog worthy events in my life lately, but my poor time management skills have prohibited me from scheduling any serious writing time.

I guess I’ll start with the most recent happening in my life. Most likely that is also where I’ll end because lets face it, too much of a good thing can get boring. I’ll try to make it quick.

Two months ago I stepped (actually, I was pushed) way out of my comfort zone.  Now, I consider myself a very adaptable person and I’ve had my share of positive life experiences that were often the result of my being pushed out of my comfort zone, but for the most part, I prefer to stay in my comfy little zone and maybe extend an arm or leg into the uncomfortable world of unknowns from time to time. After all, what is life if you don’t live on the edge just a little?

What makes me uncomfortable?
Strangers
Writing
Large groups of strangers
Talking about myself
Talking about myself to a large group of strangers

Oddly enough though, I’ve been known to respond to online invitations to attend groups and meetings with people I’ve never met before and for the most part I have always had good experiences with doing that. I’ve also had to give presentations and even talk about myself just a little to rooms full of strangers. I can do it, I just don’t like to.  But nothing causes me greater discomfort than having to share my “art” and vision with people, strangers or not. That may come as surprise to the  faithful few who follow me  on Facebook, Instagram and here where all I do is write about my explorations in artistic discovery, but trust me, it is not something I feel entirely confident or comfortable doing. Which explains some of my long absences here. I  do it because I feel I have to if I expect to go anywhere with any of this. ANYWAY….

On one of those occasions where I  decided to drift into the unknown by attending a lecture on social media marketing for artists (with a friend who I also forced out of her comfort zone…) there was mention by the facilitator about applications being accepted for EDGE. EDGE is a one week professional development resident program that helps emerging artists develop their goals. It has helped many an artist set goals and launch successful careers.  The deadline to apply was June 31st. I found out about the program on June 29th – I’m a little foggy on the exact dates, but the point is I didn’t think about applying because well, that would have been way too uncomfortable. I would have had to show actual artists my work AND write about myself AND write about my work and I was not / am not  in any way ready to think about applying for anything like that.  I knew though, that my friend was more than ready and I encouraged her to apply, which she said she might consider while also making a million excuses as to why she shouldn’t. Oh, we are so good for each other.

I put EDGE out of my mind and on the morning of the 31st my friend sent me a hilarious text message. She had decided to apply for EDGE and she thought I should too.  I sent her back  an “LOL” she – of all people! – had decided to apply! I was shocked, amazed, impressed – she did it, good for her! But I had to laugh at her thinking for one moment I was at that level. And that is when she pushed me. But for some reason, I was ok with playing along and thought: what is the worst that could happen?

Well, I could have my soul crushed like a walnut under a wheel loader is what could happen! And frankly, I have had enough of that for the past two years. It’s not so much that I can’t handle rejection. Well, yes actually it is that. I suck at rejection, even though I’ve had plenty of practice with it over the years, it never gets easy.

At her urging and pushing I decided to arm myself with some duct tape for the soul and give it a try. After all, I had 9 hours to fill out the application. Plenty of time. I completed the process with about 10 minutes to spare.  Then I waited. I figured there would be no news until after the July Holiday, so it was pretty easy to forget about it, plus I was pretty sure there wasn’t a chance at all I would be accepted. Then still I wondered…

A couple of weeks went by and I received a very happy and nervous text message  from my pushy friend (yes that is how we communicate – rarely do we ever talk to each other, this way we can stay in our comfort zones and still be social) that she had been accepted! I was so super happy for her. And I patiently waited for my rejection letter to come.

It never came. I began to feel a little tremor in my soul. After a couple of weeks, my soul cracked.

Apparently my artist’s statement, statement of work, my “art”, my application was so horrible none of it was even worthy of a rejection letter. I laughed to and at myself. What was I thinking? If It was just a mail in application perhaps the rejection would not have caused me such distress. However, with social media and so many of us on-line everywhere, there was a very deep gut wrenching feeling that not only do I suck, but that I was being passed around on every type of  media device known to man. I could hear the laughter, the jokes and I convinced myself to be happy that I had brought so much joy to so many people for a day. But I seriously became quite embarrassed for a few days too, thinking that everyone from the program might have peaked at one or all of my social media sites in order to assure themselves that they really don’t suck so bad after all.

As my soul crumbled to dust over a couple more weeks, I did finally receive the rejection letter I thought I was so unworthy of. I felt better. I looked at the bright side, the application had forced me to look hard at my goals and think about what I really want to do, should be doing or NOT doing. I also wrote an artist’s statement, a bio and about my process. True, none of it was good enough to convince anyone of my potential, but what I had left was a really polished rough draft that could be tweaked for future use.

HA! Future USE? Like that is ever going to happen.

Yet, I keep at it. Why? I’m not sure. I  will say though, I think I have given up on the art aspect of what I am trying to do and  may just stick with making what sells. Or I may not. I guess I’m still riding that wave.

And Then

And so I continued to go to my studio on a fairly regular basis and just kept making anything that came to mind. Feeling pretty satisfied and generally happy with the process, but like a complete failure with the finished “work”. Yes, these are fun, people like them, but what do they say?

Then, leaving my studio yesterday I had a thought; “#@(K  this *(&T  I’m going to do ART. And it might be weird and strange and SUCK but at this point , I just don’t care.” But then, maybe it wont be weird. Maybe it will be pretty and nice and that is ok, right? And no one even needs to know it exists.

And Then (Again)

I came home yesterday and went through the routine of checking emails and OMG… what should I find in my in box?

These exact words:
Happy Wednesday to you! You were next on our alternate list in case someone from Visual EDGE had to unexpectedly drop, which just happened.

Well, how funny is this? I was pretty quick to want to say “YES!” but before hitting ‘send’ on that, I stopped to think… I was still super excited about my friend getting accepted and the thought of us going together was more exciting than my receiving the offer of acceptance (for a few seconds). I knew she was going, but I also know how she can sometimes talk herself out of things and I wondered if perhaps her anxiety might have gotten the best of her. How funny would it be if I accepted and SHE was the one who dropped out? Clearly this was beyond a text message and a phone call was absolutely in order. Plus, I was not entirely sure I really wanted to go, the thought of being there with all those strangers, talking, showing my “art” to judges and critics… not exactly healing balm for the soul.

After confirming she was, indeed, still attending and convincing me of why it was super important for me to go and what an honor it was to have such a great opportunity, I went ahead and hit ‘send’ on that email reply.

And now, I must go sweep up the dusty crumbles of my crushed soul and return to my comfy place where I will take aim and get ready to toss every little bit haphazardly over the EDGE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs Everywhere

There comes a time when you must stop and listen to the universe. The universe is telling you something. It is telling me something.

I’m not sure exactly what it is saying, some of it is lost in translation, but I think  I can make out the gist of it: ‘Ridiculous’, ‘irrelevant’, ‘useless’, ‘pointless’ and ‘stupid’ (my favorite) are words that keep filtering through.

I spent the past two weeks attempting to write a simple post on, of all things, time management and making time to do the things you love; the things that are important to you. It should have been a simple post. A post an average fifth grader could tap out in a matter of an hour. However, I can only give my time to so many areas. Writing takes time and for me, quiet. Certainly, I have time. But my time should be spent on more important things. Writing for a few minutes here and there throughout the week is  not working. The time I give to other areas I also consider important is not working. I see that now.

So, yes, there comes a time when you must listen to the universe when it tells you to “STOP! For the love of God, STOP wasting your time!”

Of course there are commitments I must follow through with, but I must pursue the areas that are far more beneficial and important, not those grounded purely in my own self interest.  I mean, how many times must I go through this “I’M DONE” stage? Every month there is another sign thrown smack in front of my face, but I choose to ignore it. The one commitment I must follow through with is committing for once and for all to BE done. Stop saying it to myself and just be done and move on to which ever direction I am supposed to be going. And I am now thoroughly convinced the road I have been traveling for the past four years is not the right direction. I have simply been forcing something that is not there.

So, ok Universe! I quit! I’m waiting for you to take me where I am supposed to be.

I haven’t decided to cut myself off completely from all social media. I’m pretty sure I will not be continuing along with my same goals. But I just don’t have the energy  to bother thinking about all that right now.

Anyway – Cheers! Thank you to all of you who have stopped by over the years. It really did mean a lot to me and is what kept me going this long. If I think of anything truly profound or something I think you can’t live without knowing, I may post again.

IMG_0623

 

What’s up with the picture? Nothing, I just like it. I’ve been trying for a very long time to snap a great picture of a raven. Last week this one just flew up and landed right in front of me – how is that for a sign?

 

Changes…

After weeks of trying to find a witty, entertaining way to explain my absence and lack of motivation to write anything more than a laundry list- I give up. So here it is, my not so grand reentry into the blogosphere.

 

What Has Changed

Sadly, Elliot was growing more incoherent each day and developed a very annoying habit of beating her head against the wall for hours on end. I found it impossible to concentrate with all that racket so we had her shipped off to a very fine sanatarium  finishing school so she might be molded into a more polished version of her twisted little self. But this means our bricks and mortar shop, Twisted Elliot, has officially closed.

Once Elliot learns the art of proper parosol twirling and how to distinguish between a pitchfork and a dinner fork and especially how to control urges to stab someone with either, we will happily welcome her back and continue to love her unconditionally.

Yes, it was a little sad to close the door on Twisted Elliot, but all is well. We are in a new studio space, which is exciting (we have windows!) because I feel it will give me a place to work more and worry less about presenting that work in a retail setting.

Here is a peek at the new studio:

I call this the “Collectors Corner”, it’s a place for all those weird things I find on walks or have been given to me by friends… things like deer bones, dead bees, feathers. Not sure what the feng shui in all this is, but it might explain a few things.

collectors corner

storage and photobooth

A major dilemma I’ve faced for years now is having access to a convenient permanent “photo booth”, a designated zone where an item can be placed and photographed immediately upon completion. Since I make small items, this should be pretty easy… it isn’t. This area in a corner of my shelving units has potential, I’ve had  a little luck with some items, but there hasn’t been consistency in the photos and I’m doing a lot of editing, which can be very tedious and time consuming.  But, notice all the empty space on the shelves?  I always have to make sure I save room for the hoard to grow.

work zone Collage

This area by the window has proven to be a good option for a “photo booth” though not a permanent set up. But all I have to do is drape some white paper over my computer and VIOLÁ! Then dump photos int a photo editor and Voilá! again… the key would be to get the shots right from the beginning… oh well. Again, not perfect, but very little set up is required, and on a sunny day the lighting is pretty perfect. I’m enjoying having these two separate work areas, including my brainstorming area (you can tell not so much as a cloud in sight these days). Two work areas make it easy to move back and forth between tasks and projects when I need a break from one or the other…

comfy place

and the comfy spot is great when I need a beak from both. This also makes a nice cozy spot for the occasional visitor (hint, hint).

And then there is this:

packing station

                                                  The pack and wrap station for all those Etsy orders that are going to start pouring in and flying out. But for now it is a good spot to just hang my coat. Notice my fabulous  Blue Apron  boxes? They are great for transporting the dolls to and from shows.

And that’s all the changes that have been happening here. It’s a work in progress, and we are missing Elliot, but when she returns, there will be a place here for her in the newly padded cupboard.

 

What has Stayed the Same

Pretty much everything else has stayed the same.  Well, not really, but I won’t dare bore you with all the bland and boring details. Besides, most of it doesn’t involve me, and I’m not one to gossip… not online anyway.

So, until my next post, which hopefully will be soon, Cheers!

And I meant to ask… how is the New Year treating you so far? Have you also had some changes going on in your world? All for the better I hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Camping Everyone

I’m excited to be doing a few Holiday shows, but I’m also feeling very pressed for time. With that, I can only leave you with a photo:

caravan tin Collage

This Christmas caravan was created from an Altoids tin. The roof is made from Sculpey III  polymer clay and rests on a trailer hitch made from a clothes pin, spool and wood bead. Other embellishments include decorative paper, beads, pipe cleaner and charms salvaged from thrift store jewelry. I decided not to make my own bottle brush tree because, well, I just wasn’t feeling motivated to do so.

I’ve done a good job this year using only items I can salvage from my stash and using the paper scraps I have collected over the years. The only purchases I have made are for products I have run out of and some really beautiful, hard to find decorative paper. Mostly I’ve been working on creating my own background papers using photo editing programs.

Hey, this was supposed to be a quick photo only post. So with that, while all is quite and calm, I must get back to work. I have about 100 more of these to make.(!)

And Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Creating a Watermark with PicMonkey

I was certain I knew nothing new under the sun when It came to computers. Usually by the time I’ve figured out a basic skill, it’s old news and there are better and faster ways of doing the same skill. So, imagine my surprise when people approach me with computer related questions. Specifically, how I make and apply watermarks to my photos.

A watermark is the subtle little image, typically the artist or company name or logo, found on a photo.  I’m always asked how I add my personalized mark to my photos, so I thought I’d write a post about it. Personally, I feel a little silly writing this post.There are a million articles available on-line addressing this very issue. All of them much better than this post will be, but, since I’ve been asked, how can I deny requests to share my limited knowledge? If I’ve left something out or you know of a better way to do this, please feel free to share your tips.  I apologize in advance for my lack of tech vocabulary, I’ve attempted to use correct nomenclature when known and I did try my best to avoid words like “doo hicky”and “thingy”, even where, in some cases, those might be more accurate than the words I ended up using.

Before we get started:

1- This is a PicMonkey editing tool. PicMonkey is a free and easy to use photo editing program. You can subscribe to PicMonkey and pay for more upgrades but everything in this post can be done using what is available for free.

2- There are limits to what PicMonkey can do. For one, you can’t “save” unfinished work for later. Once you save your creation or any part of it to your computer, that’s it, done deal. The best you can do is not log out of PicMonkey at all until you have completed your project. I’ve worked on a project for several days at a time by not logging out of PicMonkey – not ideal, but hey, with everything else PicMonkey offers, I can overlook this small inconvenience.

3- I do all my photo editing with PicMonkey. It may be possible to use your overlay created in PicMonkey in other photo editing programs, but I’m not sure how. I know it doesn’t work with iPhoto. I was able to use the cut and past options in preview to add a created overlay to a photo, so perhaps there is the ability to use the overlay in other photo editing programs, I’ve just never tried it.

3 – If you’re interested, you can read my PicMonkey review to find out why it’s my top choice for simple, fast and inexpensive photo editing. No, I don’t get paid to write this stuff.

With all that out of the way, we can now get started.

How to Create a Watermark in PicMonkey 

Create the Transparent Background

The first step is to create a blank transparent background on which to place your watermark. Making the background transparent allows for a subtle image on your photo; one that won’t look like a label has been pasted on your photo.

1 – Go to PicMonkey and choose “collage”.

step 1

2 – You will be prompted to choose photos for your collage from your computer – just click on any photo. You’ll then see the blank collage page with three cells and  a thumbnail of your photo to the left. Delete the photo by clicking on the small “x” located in the right upper corner of your thumbnail. You don’t need it.

step2and 3

3 – Delete all the cells of the collage by clicking on the small x’s that appear in the upper right hand corner of each cell. You’ll be left with one big square.

step 4

4- Go to the back ground option; click on the palette icon at the left then check the box for “transparent background”.

step 5 and 6

step7

When you make the background transparent you’ll have a big transparent square. This is the canvas you will open in edit to create your watermark.

Tada – the first part is done; creating the blank canvas.

Create The Watermark via “Edit”

1 – After you click “edit” your blank canvas will open and you’ll see this checkerboard canvas:checkered background

Now you’re ready to design your watermark. Play around with fonts and other existing overlays and backgrounds until you get the look you want.

For this post I’m going to keep it simple. In my opinion, a watermark should be simple, typically just your name, or the name or logo of your business.

2– Add text by clicking on the “Tt” icon. You’ll see a nice collection of text styles to choose from. Click on “Add Text” and a text box will appear on your checkerboard. My inspiration today comes from watching my cat, who is watching the birds. Well, plotting their deaths more like it. Anyway, choose a font style and enter your text.

texts and overlays

I thought I’d spruce it up a bit by applying an overlay from the PicMonkey stock. You can find an array of overlays in the overlay menu which is located via the butterfly icon.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.24.49 AM 3– When you are happy with your creation, crop it tightly.

You can find the cropping tool in the “basic edits” menu.

cropping

Pull the corners in until you have it cropped tight. Now you are ready to save. Cropping it tight like this gives you more control over how big or small you can make your overlay – at least that has been my observation.

4– Now for the most important part – when you are happy with your overlay SAVE IT! Preferably in a place you can find it on your computer. I am so surprised at how many people I’ve talked to who go through all the above steps every time they want to watermark their photos. WHAT????? You should only have to do all the above steps ONCE to create a watermark which you’ll always have access to.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.25.35 AM

HOW TO SAVE AND FIND AGAIN

Give it a name.  I edit a lot of photos and I have two watermarks I use consistently. To find them easily I have added the letters “A”or “aa” in front of their titles so they are always the first photos to appear in the drop down list from my computer.

PicMonkey will prompt you to save your masterpiece to your computer, then your computer will likely ask you where. I always save my most used items or current projects to my desktop so I’m sure to find them.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.25.49 AM

Again, SAVE. Should I repeat that? And don’t just save it, save it where you will find it easily. Just a suggestion.

So now you have your nifty cool watermark.  But you might be wondering, “How do I put this thing on a photo?” We will do that in the following steps.

Placing Your Watermark on  a Photo

1– Tomorrow, when you want to upload all your fabulous feline fashion finds, or your dinner, to your website you’ll now be able to put your personal stamp on those photos by first opening the photo in PicMonkey “edit”.

Go to PicMonkey and click on “edit”.

1edit photo

Your computer menu will appear. Find the photo you want to edit. Not the overlay – just the photo of your Mac and Cheese… or your Devon Rex… or whatever photo you are planning to add the overlay to. desktop menu

As stated before, I usually put all photos I am planning to edit on my desk top, as well as the items I work with the most, such as my watermarks.  Above you can see the two watermarks labeled with “A” and “aa” so they are the first to appear in my list of choices. This makes it easy to just grab and drop them. Here though, I have the photos I am working with for this post appear first, but you get the point.

Choose the photo you are going to edit.

I chose this one—

profile skull

Do all your editing; cropping, exposure… whatever…then go to the butterfly icon which, if you remember, is the “overlays” menu.

adding overlay

At the very top you will see “Your Own”  – click that and find your amazing overlay that you SAVED. Click on it, click on “open” (located at the bottom of the screen) and it will automatically be dropped onto your photo which should already be opened in PicMonkey.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.28.41 AM

Move it around, resize it by pulling or pushing at those little circle thingy’s in the corners. (I had to throw one “thingy” in there).  I like to fade it out a bit to make it subtle. You can fade it  by using the slider on the overlay tools menu, the one that says “fade” . You can also change the color of the overlay which comes in handy if the original color blends in too much with the color of your photo.  Once you have it where you want it, save your watermarked photo.

That’s it. So, this was really two posts in one. The first being how to create the overlay and SAVE IT and the second being how to apply your SAVED watermark to photos.

A watermark is a good way to build your identity or simply add your signature to the photos you share online. Now, go enjoy making your mark all over the virtual universe!

For a great source of tips, tricks and tutorials I’d suggest you swing on over and subscribe to the  PicMonkey blog – you’re sure to go ape over it.

I Have Ways to Make You Talk

You never know what twists and turns might happen in the studio.

What started out as two separate pieces, each destined for starring roles in their own story, turned into something completely different.

First, there was a bird, which I stumbled upon (literally, I tripped right over him) in a thrift store and paid too much for, probably because the thrift store was an antique store – and you know how the word antique increases the price of an object by about 200%. This bird is definitely not an antique. But I couldn’t resist, he was taking to me, chattering away about all the grand dreams he had. Until I got him home, then not a peep. For months.

One day, I decided to make him talk, so I painted him, hoping to coax some ideas from him. I would’ve been happy with anything he had to say. I was just tired of him sitting there, mocking me, blank eyed and mute.

The Empire, start

And he stayed in this whitewashed comatose state for many more months.

I decided I would tackle another project until that damn bird decided to start talking again.

The Empire, project beginning

This would be easy, I had a few ideas of what to do with this piece. Some kind of diorama for sure. I began collecting and forming parts to create an underwater scene but ended up going down another path chasing butterflies through a secret garden. ACkkkkk. This clock was not the right shape for that. But the butterflies carried me back to another time; the days when primordial sludge oozed over the earths surface and that one tiny little single-celled organism supposedly brought forth all the diverse, amazing and complex life we see on our planet today. I would create a time line of life on earth.

Then something happened and I lost interest in the idea.  To the unfinished project pile went the clock along with that mute, mocking bird.

When I hit an artistic block, I start reorganizing my work space. This could be to make room for the flow of creative energy or just simply a diversion tactic, I’m not entirely sure. As it happened on this particular day, in a moment of reorganization when I haphazardly placed the bird atop the clock, a new idea sprang forth.

First, a bit of surgery would be required. bird project I needed to repair the gaping hole in my not so feathered friend’s chest. Dry wall compound worked well for this. And while the opening in his chest was too large, the opening in the clock was too small, so that needed to be fixed as well.

After a few minor alterations…

The Empire

I wanted to include a globe in this piece and I was glad to find a papier-mache egg in my stash. I was not so glad though, when I made a few mistakes in painting it and had to find a way to wash the paint off the papier mache. You know what happens to paper when it gets overly wet… as I tried to gently erase my mistakes the paper began to disintegrate. But I was pretty happy to find a black smooth surface underneath.  I free hand cut a tiny map of the world – my deepest apologies for those island countries that may have been relocated or completely omitted – I think Italy is missing its boot heel. But, it doesn’t matter it is the end of the world after all.

The egg sits atop a rumbling wave of black sludge; a polymer clay tsunami.

It was important that the egg rotate, notice it is not on its axis, I struggled with tilting or keeping straight. I thought an earth in complete turmoil would most likely be off its axis, so this works, which was nice because the egg already had centered holes in it.

egg Collage

To make the earth rotate, I used a battery operated clock mechanism. This presented two problems; one, the mechanism sat too low and two, the battery would have to be changed which meant the egg would have to be removable. A small wooden spool made a good support and added the right height for the mechanism. I drilled a small hole in the clock bottom to place a peg which the spool would fit onto (2), giving the egg a little support and also allowing for the unit to be removed so the battery could be replaced (3).

That is about it for this month. I suppose I could go on and on about all the symbology of this piece here, but I think it speaks on its own. Or maybe not. But I do think maybe that bird learned a valuable lesson.

TTFN –

Bates and Switch

Remember this?

paperowlCollage He was to be an addition to an altered Altoids tin paying homage to a classic American film. In keeping with the mood of that film though, I realized he should be in black and white, so it was back to the folding board for me. The second time around you think I would’ve been quite proficient at the folding and cutting. NOPE. Those tinny talons became nothing but a challenge to my patience. After three attempts and several days, I finally had an acceptable specimen.

The Idea

I first saw the movie Psycho when I was a kid. Of course, the most memorable scene in Psycho is the shower scene. While it is the scene many of us think of first, it wasn’t my intent to recapture that particular setting. For me, it was the eerie setting of the parlor, with its shadows, tense ambiance and of course those ominous birds looming in the background; trapped, hinting at not only what was to come, but also of characters seen and unseen. My little feathered friend was to be the perfect prop for that scene.

Then, a funny thing happened. While rummaging through the bins of one of my favorite “junk” stores,  I came across a small glass tile. The feel of it was smooth, the view through it was tinted, but just enough so as not to distort an image placed behind it. Its slick surface and tint led me to think of a window, a voyeur and finally, the slickness of shower tiles. It was also the perfect size for the inside of an Altoids tin.

Looked like it would be the shower scene after all…

I decided to recreate the shower scene using the glass tile, but I also felt the need to capture a hint of that creepy parlor idea. However, I thought an owl perched in the shower would be a little odd. I had to find another element to use as the backdrop for the setting, which meant I’d have to switch out my owl for something more fitting for the scene.

You may remember Norman spying on Marion Crane through a peephole hidden behind a painting which hung in his parlor, or perhaps “study” is a better word. According to my research that painting was Susanna and the Elders and is based on a biblical story from the book of Daniel about a woman bathing in her garden. Susanna is spied on by two elders who threaten to turn her over to the authorities for the crime of adultery if she does not have sex with them. Throughout history this scene  has been studied and painted by many artists, but I chose to use Artemisia Gentileschi’s interpretation.  Artemisia went through her own trials and tribulations at the hands of a man and a biased judicial system as well, in fact it is believed she painted her version of Susanna and the Elders (at the age of 17!) as an expression of the turmoil she experienced.

Aside from the history of this particular painting, I liked it because I felt it perfectly referenced both the parlor scene and the shower scene. I wanted to use it as a collage that would bring the two scenes together.  I made a black and white copy of the painting, cut it up and began playing around with the pieces.  I was happy with how the billowing robes became an extension of the shower curtain and how Susanna’s torso and right hand fit nicely with Marion’s head and left hand.

I debated whether to use the red paint. We all know how gory the scene was, I didn’t think it was necessary to recapture that element, but I did end up choosing to use a bit of red, for no other reason than to give a little color.

 

psycho altoids tin

 A Little Background

I had this Psycho themed idea in my head for a while, I spent months collecting bits and pieces; keys, tapestry, curtain hooks, even an actual fly. I also spent a lot of time researching the movie Psycho as well as the story and painting of Susana and the Elders. Over a period of 4 months I spent several hours arranging and rearranging the pieces only to toss it all aside then return to at a later time, usually with something new to add. Weeks would go by with no progress, but it was always in the back of my mind.

I tend to get stuck on an idea and develop tunnel vision, ignoring anything that might be a  another alternative to my original idea. I’m also a little impatient and want to complete a project in a day. However, after being taken in a new direction with this, even after having to switch out the main focus of the idea, I’ve learned to be patient and I’m beginning to feel ok with the fact that I have many unfinished projects, which I will finish someday.

I share this part of the process not to pass myself off as a tortured artistic genius and I realize this piece lacks any artistic qualities at all; it doesn’t serve to educate, raise awareness or challenge an ideology and in all, it is simply put together using basic skills. But, in the process of making it, I learned patience, to pay attention to my surroundings as I’d hunt for that one thing that would bring all the pieces together. Though my owl didn’t make the final cut, the process of putting him together (more than once) also taught me patience and perseverance –  and that I really do enjoy working with paper.  I’m learning to not let frustration defeat me. The final product looks nothing like my original idea, but that is part of the process as well I guess.  I believe all this has a purpose and someday I may figure out what exactly that purpose is.

I’d really like to hear about your creative process. Do you have a special formula for bringing an idea to fruition? What have you learned about yourself through the creative process or on the path of creative / artistic self-expression?