Sunday, August 31, 2014

Are You Creative Too?

With rare exceptions those reading this blog are creative or are like me, they think they are. Not being able to sleep (ah the torture of the creative), I finally got up this morning and thought about this question. Am I creative? Really? The image that came to mind, and certainly not one that appeals to me, well until 3 am on a dark yet still warm Sunday morning, was Munch's painting The Scream. We've all been there and if you haven't, you are very, very lucky.

The past few days I have been trying to go back to my craft artistic roots and am finding that it is easier said than done. Over the years I have tried new and different techniques adding layers of complexity to my original simple yet very colorful, traditional designs. Now, this is not to say that my hand painted crafts being worked on now aren't traditional but they certainly have become more complex. After working on several projects all day and re-doing one of them a lot, I certainly felt like our screaming friend. I had never had this problem before and going to bed probably wondered why.

As a project it is very simple. Merely a diamond shaped birdhouse (do birds really like living in a shape like that?) in a wonderful yellow using Pennsylvania inspired designs.
Yellow Birdhouse
The problems started with the roof. I decided to decorate the center panel of a three panel roof. Sketching and then painting the design in I realized that I had pointed them both going to the front. Shouldn't one go one way, the other one the opposite? This is a creative decision that doesn't make a difference one way or another. To me however, it did. Waking up yesterday the first thing I did was paint out one of the designs and later make it go the other way.

Next came the front, back and side designs. The sides were easy, they were to match. The front and back however, I decided to make different, something I'd never done. Usually I am trying to disguise the birdhouse hole with something, usually a flower that is beginning to make me feel predictable. As a technique though, it does work. The back would be totally different with a flower pattern radiating from the central "X". After painting what was more a Rosemaling detail, I found that I didn't like that and tried several times to correct the pale blue I had chosen for the lines. I think its another coat of yellow after I sand down the errant lines and begin working them from dark to light.

Next came the flower colors. I had settled on DecoArts Country Red for flowers and hearts along with their Traditions Vermillion as a counterpoint. Stems and leaves were three shades of teal, going from strong to pastel tones that somehow seems to work well. I've discovered that by "antiquing" saturated colors, they tone down and suddenly all colors seem to work together.

In this case though, I had found a bottle of crackle paint and wanted to give it a try. So, if and when everything gets finally painted, all adjustments made, then goes on the crackle. I was told a very neat way to bring out the cracks was to use men's shoe polish, the waxy kind. Black or brown work best as some polish will remain in the cracks when you rub the top layer off enhancing the aged, crackled effect.

Don't be afraid to make course corrections in the midst of a project. Its your idea, your time and effort. Never settle for less than what you want! It is very easy today with acrylic paints and such to make course corrections and with any luck at all, you will be the only one to ever know. I will be sure to show you the finished birdhouse. It is almost a learning experience again and is teaching me what it is like to be "creative!"

Please visit my craft store at and my fine art store at Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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