Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Being A Creative

One of the wonders for any creative type (paint, writing, music, etc.), and with the start of each project, is how creative types seem to create out of thin air. A blank sheet of music becomes Beethoven's 9th Symphony, words on blank sheets of paper become TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, a painter with a blank canvas becomes Van Gogh's STARRY STARRY NIGHT. The material is the base, the starting point in any creation yet look what different results they achieve!

The raw unfinished cedar birdhouse
I found a birdhouse maker on Etsy from Mississippi who at that time was making thick, ½" cedar birdhouses out of recycled fences. He only charged $7 each, they were a little crude but nothing diligent sanding couldn't cure. The problem was they were so big and heavy it cost another $7 to get them to California! Considering this I asked if the rate would be cheaper if I bought more, say 5, at a time. He looked into it and said yes, I could save $1 a birdhouse. I placed my order.

I loved them. Each one had its own story and I was able to create two lovely Rosemaling painted birdhouses soon after. The beauty was they could go outdoors without fear and would last for years, if not decades. I was also told to use oil based Varathane as it was far more weather resistant and would not fail as quickly as acrylic finishes. "Tell clients that when they see dullness on the finish it was time for another coat" he added. I'm using sponge brushes and when finished coating them three times I throw the brushes away. You waste far more water and nasty solvents if you try to save a brush. Shop around. I've gotten sponge brushes for a little as 10¢ each! Since all of my designs are acrylic, you CAN use oil finishes on top. In fact all of my oil paintings are painted on top of an acrylic underpainting.

Putting on the "Crazy Quilt" colors
Since my (literal) near death experience, I wanted to make a real statement announcing that I am back and despite all that has happened as creative as ever! I chose a blank cedar birdhouse like the one shown here and went to town!

The "Crazy Quilt" series I created is one of the most satisfying yet grueling things I paint. The amount of time creating them is almost overwhelming! I spend far more time in their creation than even (so far) my most difficult paintings. In fact, at a recent board meeting of a gallery I recently joined, they were looking for themes. I suggested one month showing crafts and crafters. The leader looked at me and said, "What you create are not crafts. They are works of art!" It stopped me cold.

Every side of a birdhouse, tray, box, whatever you work with is more than two dimensional. In fact there are times all six sides must be painted. That happened here. I did paint 4 sides with "painted fabrics" but then finished off the birdhouse back, bottom and inside with red paint, something I have never done before.

Painted inside and out!
Next comes the "fabric." Yes, every background color has a pattern on top and everywhere you see that color, that pattern has to be repeated. Trust me, by the time that color is done, I am too! I don't want to be repetitive but since its going outside I didn't feel details were quite as important as a birdhouse sitting on the table next to the sofa! Why do us humans have all the fun. Will the birds appreciate the patterns and colors? Who knows but I know the owner will have fun looking outside at the splash of color mounted outside. The beauty of this design is that you push the "front" door open and can clean out the debris from last season. Tidy up so to speak.

Completed Cardinal Quilted Birdhouse
I think that its the process of creating and being able to add or subtract to a project that creates the biggest challenge. Is this the birdhouse I originally envisioned? No. I realized that it was about twice the size of the others I had done before. Fabric colors have to be bigger. To avoid the problem of fabric color I had to increase the number of colors. Not a happy moment.

Then I woke up several days ago and in my dream had added a hand carved bird I purchased at convention. Only I couldn't find it. Bummer! Yesterday I looked in one more place and there it was. A Cardinal ... perfect for the very red coloring of the birdhouse. I got that painted and well, what do you think? Was this the perfect addition?

If I learned anything here it was these things:
• Start somewhere. A sketch helps
• Never be afraid of making a change. If it doesn't work out, try something else
• For me, at least, color is everything. I learned during the recent LACMA exhibit on Expressionism that Saxons (my Dad was born near Dresden) love color. That is the only place though Berlin is closing in. No one I know would ever doubt that I love color!
• Embrace change. IF it doesn't work go in another direction.
• Dreams are good things. Follow them or at least give them a chance
• Have fun.
• Do WHAT you like. Success may or may not come. That has been the hardest lesson for me. Fun and personal growth are more important I've come to realize. Nearly dying makes you look at your life a lot more closely.
• Try to do something everyday. Try something new is even better.

Finally, at long last I am getting back in the groove. Hopefully someone will think I am worth purchasing but finally it will not be the driving force it was. Its fun for me to create and hopefully others will enjoy what I've created as well.

I have a store, KrugsStudio so if you are interested in a variety of birdhouses or crafts and photography one of a kind paintings, please be sure to check out that store as well. KrugsStudio.etsy.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment