Thursday, March 6, 2008

How Art Happens

Artists everywhere have sayings about using goofs or splats to their advantage, like "If you can't cover it, feature it" -- things like that. And it works. How many smudges of paint or ink have been turned into delightful illustrations we'll never know. I know that I have taken many pieces to another level only because I messed it up.

I can't say I've been working on this piece for over a year---that would be insane because it has only three words on it. But those three words have been like an albatross for over a year. And, it's something I really wanted to finish and HAD to finish, if only because of the three words --- "Never give up." Except it wasn't just three words, because people usually say "Never never never NEVER give up." It's attributed to Winston Churchill, but in my research I don't find that he actually said those words, just something like it. Nevertheless those additional three "nevers" held me up big time.

The project began with the assignment to draw Romans with serifs, transfer the quote to black paper using white transfer paper, paint the letters in white, then paint the letters in a range of colors (the underpainting of white makes the color pop more). After I completed the big Never Give Up, I let the piece reside in a drawer for a long time while I tried to figure out what to do with the other "nevers." I finally decided to make "coins" with the word "never" on them and float them at the top of the page. I made three coins using Sculpy, painted them, tried many different techniques to get the lettering to stay, then covered them with the Diamond Glaze to give them a raised look. Now all I had to do was hang them from the top. The coin part of the project took me about three months.

I swear I did three. They were all there that morning. But when I went in to work on the last step of placement, there were only two. I freaked. The first one I could blame was the cat. The coin would be perfect to bat around our hardwood floors. I got the flashlight and crawled around the house. I looked under every dusty bed, sofa, door frame, under rugs. I even went through the big trash that has been collected and emptied that day. No luck. So this morning, I looked at the two coins and my three words and tried to make them work. I wonder now if I need a coin at all. I definitely know that two coins don't work. Maybe only one is needed. I've tried it center, left and right. I'm wondering now about hanging it from a long strand and letting it sit in the lower right corner. Sort of the last word. Sooner or later I'm going to get this finished --- if for no other reason than because I can't give up.


Teresa J. Wilber said...

I had to really laugh at this one, Connie, because I could just picture you on the floor, looking for the coin. I laugh, because that could be me!!! It's good to know that others go through the intense process to create the masterpiece. And, masterpiece it is....looks really good, Connie!

sarah said...

I too smiled at the thought of you crawling around looking for the coin. I have to say I love the finished product and can't wait for it to be framed, wrapped and presented to the perfect recipient. You have brought many things to us this trip that were made with obvious love and attention. We are grateful and feel the love!