04 November 2010

a tough day at the office....

Yesterday, I was working on my submission for the Lipstick & Rouge juried show at the Second Space Gallery.
Work in progress....

I was nearly finished {and working on the border} when I made a line that I didn't like. I tried to fix it~ and the second line was worse than the first.  As I was working to fix the second line, I began to have a familiar feeling~ a bad hair day.

You know the feeling~ standing in front of the mirror, getting ready for {insert big event/meeting here} and your hair won't cooperate. Pull it up, put it down, tuck a hair here, pin a hair there... before you know it, your hair is a sad mess and you just should have left it alone in the first place.

Well, this is exactly what happened to my poor piece yesterday. Of course, the third fix looked worse than the second, the fourth worse than the third. By the time I was forty-five minutes deep into trying to "fix" the illustration, I was two seconds away from covering the whole thing up with black ink.

This is new to me~ I have never completely destroyed {as in, covering the entire thing with black ink} a piece before.  When working on art, I try not to acknowledge mishaps as mistakes. I take a moment to remember that I am not fully in charge of what I create, and drawing on wood does lend itself to certain imperfections from time to time.

I took a deep breath, and knew in my heart that I couldn't destroy this girl in front of me.  I had invested time in her~ she hadn't done anything to disappoint me. It was just the background that I was displeased with; so I got rid of it. The table saw came out and my 10.25 x 9.25-inch piece became  5 x 9.25 inches.

I pulled the ink and woodburning lower on the illustration and added stars~ it became a wonderful dark sky. Then I added more burning to the bottom, around her droopy socks and the aspen trees & poppies.
 {the color of my childhood}
And the piece was happy, and the illustrator was happy...

What are some of the ways you choose to deal with things when your work isn't going your way? Do you set it aside? Work through it?


Jennifer Mullin said...

This is a gorgeous piece and I'm glad that you didn't just give up on the whole piece! I adore the little crazy hairs coming out of her head.

I also try to embrace the "mistakes" in my work, which I like to refer to as "happy accidents". I preach this to my art students all the time. There are very few total lost causes.

stella latwinski said...

Thanks Jennifer! Those little hairs are actually her eyelashes. *^_^*

I love the idea of calling mistakes happy accidents!

Micki said...

This is a stunning piece, you must be so pleased that you didn't give up on her!!

I have made many mistakes in my work that end up being something entirely different, sometimes it's a small change that happens for the better and sometimes it's a complete re-do of the the whole painting, I guess working with texture like I do makes it easier to cover a mistake, I could never work as detailed as you do, your work is truly stunning!!

Micki x

Melanie Gardner said...

I love her! She's so cute. Good save.

I have one quilt that I hated when I finished it. So, I cut it up into little pieces and mad it a series of small abstract art quilts instead. I kind of like the idea of "destroying" to make something new.

stella latwinski said...

Micki~ what a wonderful compliment, thank you so much!

Melanie~ I bet your abstract quilts were beautiful!

Erin Lang Norris said...

SO sweet! I love it! I'm glad you stuck with it, I know how drawing on wood can be if something goes awry! You made the best of it and I think it's one of my favorite pieces yet. :)

I have 2 pieces that I've made that I struggled with really hard. I set both of them aside for weeks because I was totally stuck and I don't like to push things. They both ended up being some of my favorite pieces when I finished! One sold within 3 days, the other one I ended up taking off my shop site because I wanted it for my hallway.

stella latwinski said...

Thanks Erin! I hope she makes it into the show. *^_^*

As far as setting work aside and finishing it later, I just had the same thing happen with one of my newest listings~ "Bliss." She sat in my -not quite happy with- pile. I worked on her two months later, listed her, and she sold within the day. Funny how that works...