Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Phase 4 - acknowledge limits, update

5 minutes
25 minutes
15 minutes

I went with the largest tree I could easily carry up stairs by myself .
Cost equivalent - 4 cups of fancy coffee, with decorations, 9
The question of who/what I would be if I weren't myself has never made sense to me (if I weren't myself, then I couldn't be myself as someone else, I would just be that person instead - see, it doesn't make much sense now, does it?), but as I cheerfulled up the house this week, it occurred to me - I know the answer!  If I weren't myself - I would be an Elf!  Elves purpose is to make beautiful things, decorate, bake cookies and, generally, sing, dance and cheery about. I was thinking about this because...I got a Christmas tree!   I didn't have ornaments, but I got a few boxes of candy canes (less than $1 for a dozen - that is exciting :)), a few bulbs, and - of course - multi-color lights! (I really really really like multi-color Christmas lights - they combine, colorfulness, mininess, and bright-shininess - three of my very favorite things).
I was so happy about the tree that I decided to sit under it and make an artwork on an unfinished panel I had sitting around. If I had thought it through, I would have self-vetoed the technical decisions here - it's all one layer of vine charcoal which, in theory, is a very-very-bad idea. Vine is extremely fragile, but I've used it alone before (for mini 17).  The fragility of the material makes it extremely responsive to touch and to erasure, so on a toned surface, one can work both dark (with the charcoal) and light (with the erasure) and physically push the medium around with fingers.  All good things, but it's so light that breathing on it too hard messes it up (so in my house, that means it has to be done in one sitting, without "help" from my feline assistant, who, consequently, decided to sit on my shoulders since I was being mean and denying her a napping spot on the panel). Vine smears and wipes away if one drags a sleeve or hand through it. In terms of accepting limits - while other people seem able to work without accidentally smearing, I've never been able to avoid dragging my hand over the panel, so...using this technique, I knew I'd have one shot, starting in the upper right and working down to the lower left; no going back or fixing. I'm not sure how long this took (not good at measuring time while I work, but most of the day). By the evening I coated it with an aerosol acrylic clear coat to set it on the panel and protect it (and then went and brushed my hair - wish I'd though to do that first!), and added a little bit of color pencil to bring out the highlights. Now I just have to decide what to do with the rest of the panel (I may cover the charcoal in paper while I work on the rest or I may call it quits on this one).
"Lost in the forest of and, and, and"
I also made this earlier in the week using letters like in the orange "gemini" piece of a few weeks ago, but turning them into an actual word this time (limiting the number of letters to a-n-d-&). 

feline assistant in the forest of Christmas tree
I went to figure drawing again too, except this time, I got up and started getting ready earlier so that I arrived on time, with all my materials, and was so happy about the vine charcoal piece  that I had a good session.
Limiting is hard for me, because there is always more that I want to do and see and learn, but on the other hand, it can be helpful in terms of focus - like the vine charcoal piece - by only working with one thing, I didn't have to make decisions about which medium or colors to use, only how to use a single medium better. Hmmmmm - there may be something to this one, I feel like I need to keep working on it...