Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

As I continue my birdhouse projects, I want to show how one birdhouse led to another. I know, its quite a leap but the simple idea of one really caused me to want to try a technique on a larger piece.

One idea leads to another.
Because I wasn't sure of my skills after my illnesses, I concentrated first on small cheap $1 wooden, what I call mini-birdhouses. Sometimes they are even on sale for 50¢. It don't get cheaper than that folks!!! All they are good for is accent pieces in ones home. Done right though, they add color and on closer inspection, interest, to your home. Its a chance to show a one-of-a-kind piece of art that is very affordable. They might ask how did that artist do that! An artist can't ask for more of a accolade that. And, it attests to your good taste.They make great gifts.

The first birdhouse was pretty sad but it was the starting point for a class of 6 senior residents. As an "artist" no completed project is a failure per se. If you are wise and paid attention, there were lessons learned and let me tell you, they were many! More about that in another column.

I continued painting the bodies of three orange, another yellow and finally bright blue. I designed patterns to use and put freehand on each one. I really liked the yellow base color before I realized the design chosen for it got switched. The flowers coming out of the painted vase seemed perfect and it stayed where it was.

Since I have never liked the plain tops of any birdhouse, mine included,  I got the idea of creating a world of vines with leaves wrapping around all six sides. To top that off, I created a painted trellis that seemed somehow to tie the whole thing together. Photos don't convey the complexity. It is a favorite of mine of all those I have done.
The vines of misery!

I have several star birdhouses that have given me pause over the years making me wonder why on earth I bought them. A sale is a sale but....The first one was a disaster and the sooner forgotten the better. However, the shape was and remains a challenge. I decided that maybe the sides, nearly three inches wide, would be perfect to really create vines with buds and flowers. With a pencil in hand I created a twisting, twining series of stems with leaves and places for the buds. That was easy but a bit tedious and I couldn't wait for it to end. That should have been the first clue.

Using just one color, DecoArts Black Green, I painted and painted and painted those dark vines and leaves - so far 5 hours and counting worth! The buds took minutes in comparison. You know what the worst part is? There is still no shading, no flowers in the leaves, no lines in the leaves so who knows how many more hours will be spent doing that. The final decision will be do I add a trellis here as well? What and hide all that work? Its a possibility still. Lets see when the front and back are done as well.

The front and back are using a more traditional Rosemaling design with arching shapes but Black Green as a base. It certainly won't take 5 hours to do them, that's for sure.

I came to realize though that for all the moaning and groaning, there is an element of pride that I could conceive of this. Will it hang together? I really don't know. I hope so. I do know that if I hadn't done the small birdhouse and tried some crazy ideas from a dream, I would never know. If its a failure I have learned, yet again quite a few lessons. One is, don't bite off more than you can chew!

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