It seems to me that people who get into surface pattern design typically come from either a fine art background or a graphic design background. I think I'm a little unusual in that I don't really come from either. I have a little bit of each approach and sensibility when I design. When I started getting back into art a few years ago I knew I wanted to learn how to work digitally because I thought I might really enjoy it. I really appreciate the flexibility and possibility in digital art/design. I can move things around and experiment with different effects and colors. I also just kind of like working on a computer and I find it easier to get to a final product when I'm working digitally. Maybe I'm just a control freak...that's a possibility.
Our assignment for MATS this week challenged us to work off the computer (!) and we were to make an abstract collage piece appropriate for wall art. The only other constraints were color (we were all given two colors + neutrals to work with based on our astrological sign: as an Aries I got blue and purple), it had to contain a floral of some kind, and some text (at least one word). I bought my 24x24" canvas and then I just stared at it. I didn't know where to start! This kind of abstract painting just isn't my usual MO. I like the work of artists like Jessica Swift, but I've never really identified it as my style, per se. But I was willing to give it a go.
I started by putting on a layer of light blue paint, adding darker blue on top and dragging a wallpaper brush through it so it looked like denim. Then I started layering on tissue paper in the shape of loose flowers. At this point I was pretty happy with what I had so far and was feeling rather proud of myself!
The next day though, when I went to add more paint, it all kind of fell apart. I didn't like anything I added and I felt like everything I did just made it worse. Undo! Undo! Undo! But instead of hitting Cmd+Z and starting over I had to somehow re-do it or just plain cover up what I didn't like. At one point I was peeling off paper with a razor blade. It got a little . . . frustrating. My "control issues" were on full display. This painting and I were not getting along. I think it was last week in class Lilla talked about knowing when to just give up and when to work through it. I think the thing about painting is you have to continually work through it because it's constantly evolving. Not that that doesn't happen when you work digitally, but with my painting, every mark I made was "permanent" in a way, so I just had to keep going.
It was at this point, when time to work on my project was quickly running out, that all three of my kids decided painting looked really fun and by golly they really wanted to paint this very moment. Sigh. Now it was, "Mom, can you open this?" "Mom, I need new water!" "Mom, how do you paint a boat?" Goodbye concentration and focus! I needed to wrap this up and I still didn't have a WORD on my painting. I ultimately decided to add my words digitally because I knew that my lettering skills would really be challenged in PAINT. Plus, I wasn't really sure I wanted text on my painting anyway - I was worried about it being too schmaltzy. I really liked the idea of using the word "flourish" because of the flowers in my piece and where I kind of feel like I am at this point of this new career of mine - just beginning to "bloom" in a way - to be a little schmaltzy. So there you have it. I made wall art!
Next week is the last week of MATS A! All good things must come to an end as they say.