Secret Garden Series – #4 PEACOCK

It’s soooo hot!!!!

I’m finding it hard to focus! I told myself I was making a set of 8 paintings about a fantasy garden and here I sit only just completing #4. I’d say I’m crawling… at least that is how I feel. I thought about this for a moment. For the past two weeks, I have slightly dreaded showing up to the canvas. Why is that? The easy answer is that I am a Gemini personality with ADHD tendencies, but a little deeper, I think it might be all the detail. These paintings are so loaded with detail, it’s like painting 17 different paintings within one. Because of this, I don’t get that instant gratification of making serious headway. The painting can look the same for many days. Boo. I like fireworks and race cars!

With this said, in times like this, I refer back to one of my all time favorite films “Field of Dreams”. I whisper to myself “…go the distance” and “If you build it, they will come…” The film was about building a baseball field, but really, the message is about having BLIND faith. Even when you don’t know the outcome, what your doing or why, listen to that little inner voice and JUST DO IT. Boy, That film came out in 1989. That was a while ago. I’m kind of laughing because apparently I have been whispering “go the distance” to my self for like 31 years. When do all of my dreams come to fruition???

Over and Over I am realizing that when these big 18″ x 24″ watercolors are completed, it’s the little vignettes that I love. For instance, my favorite parts of the peacock painting are these:

They don’t feel as overtly planned as the larger composition, yet I could have never created the ease of the animals location without the heavy planning of the larger composition. I’m calling these little vignettes “moments”. So after I finish the 8th painting in this series, I want to move to working at the smaller size of 16″ x 20″, have fewer subject matter and try to create “moments”. I just don’t know why simplicity is so elusive to me!

Here are the smaller 8″x10″ and 5″x7″ watercolor studies up against the large final painting:

I like viewing the evolution. This concept changed a lot, yet you can see small details like a butterfly passing by which made it to the final draft.

I almost forgot! Here are some details. Each of the 8 paintings will have a Latin phrase within it. For this painting, the phrase is “FORTIS FORTUNA ADIUVAT” which translates to “Fortune favors the bold”. I love that. Life’s too short. Be bold man. Be bold! There’s also a bunch of items hidden in the garden. For this painting be on the look-out for: a frog, an Egyptian ankh, a cairn, an infinity symbol, an umbrella, a letter, a monarch, a queen chess piece, a gold finch feather and the number thirteen.

I keep this visual on my computer. Like a kid putting a star sticker on the refrigerator, I get to add another visual to my completion poster. Ahh, that feels good!

Because I’m suffering from a little summer brain-drain, I am going to pause the button on this series. Just for a week or two. I am craving a new painting to put over my fireplace mantle and I have some amazing photographs from my vacation on Block Island that I’d like to play with. I’m going to flip to acrylic paints and canvas which will disorient my brain. I hope the disorientation can act as a small mental vacation. That way I can come back to this series refreshed and ready to start #5.

Amen. Aint no rest for the painting weary!

The Simple Joy of Taking Photos

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Still quiet on the creative front.  Without “producing” anything, I almost forget to blog!

But as I reflect on the month, although not robust or showy, I still am embracing the creative daily.

For the past month I have been painstakingly & slowly photographing and loading my work onto Etsy.  I knew it would take a long time and with this knowledge I have pushed it off for years.  But my intuition has been saying “NOW” and “DO IT” and “GET IT DONE” and who am I to argue with the big voice inside me?  Heck, it generally knows more than my ego bird brain!  … so I sit day after day, at my computer.  I have read up on Etsy strategies.  I’ve been struggling to understand the best way to calculate shipping…day by day I am learning, tuning in and observing.

It’s through this quiet process that my photography has greatly begun to improve.  It could also be that I am always rushing and I don’t give the lens it’s proper due, but in this month I have really stopped and tried to take better photographs.  Here are some examples:

These two images above were taken on white fabric using a light box.  They are perfectly acceptable or one might say perfectly average.

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Now these photographs were taken incorporating backgrounds and visual texture.  As I read the Etsy strategies, it was explained that a better approach to photography is to try to incorporate where or how someone might use the product.  If you have a piece of jewelry, photograph it on a dresser where someone might put it in their own home.  If you have a piece of pottery, photograph it on a hutch or filled with flowers, giving ideas to the person on how they might use it.

More examples:

Above plain old backgrounds… or….

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…the products can become more personal and interesting.  You can better envision incorporating them into your life.

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Again, above is a plain photo…… or…

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Show your potential customer how they can use your product.

So, if you are a creative you might be saying “Big Duh!” to this simple concept, but for me, I sometimes forget these big duhs!  I was totaling planning on plowing through all of my inventory with the trusty old light box.

I’m glad I took the time to read some of the Etsy tutorials and slow down enough to pay attention.  In doing so, this project which I dreaded for it’s monotony and data entry foibles has become quite fun and enjoyable.

When I look at my little Etsy store and how it is coming along, I can now take pride in my work , I can see my progress as an artist and I can see the joy I exude from being creative every chance I get. It feels really good.

…..Amazing Awesomeness Baby!!!