Sunday, November 1, 2015

Try Something New, But Do What You Do

The doll body is from a vintage thread advertisement.
Dina Wakley stamp head, stencils, washi tape,
watercolor, acrylic paint, marker, glue stick.
The art and craft worlds are full of gorgeous magazines and books, many touting the latest gizmo and technique, bombarding you with offers for in-person on online classes where you can learn to use all the new products and techniques. Hot new artists come and go, and electronic media, with the multitude of posts and tweets and websites and blogs, can be overwhelming.

Being part of some online art/craft communities keeps me connected, and making small art pieces and trading with other artists keeps me sane and gives me exposure to new ideas.

The question is, where do you draw the line between trying a new technique and product and ignoring it and staying true to your own style? Well, it seems to be a pretty wavy line, and varies with the expansion of--or shrinking of--my time and budget.

When in doubt, I pull out my little journal and collage a page, pull out my favorite art supplies and get to work doing what I DO know. I recently started puttering with some molding paste, stencils and acrylic paint, trying to understand an artist that my group was doing an homage to. I just couldn't wrap my head around the project. Not that it was outside my comfort zone entirely, but there was a fine balance of texture and monochromatic color, mixed with a suggestion of steampunk, that wasn't working for me.

Artistcellar stencils, molding paste on deli
paper, chalk inks, newsprint, and colored cardstock.
So, I quit. I pulled out my journal and did a few pages. I used the soft colors and paste and stencils in my own way, which was much better for my mental health than attempting to imitate another artist. My chalk inks and favorite colors, combined with some cool Artistcellar stencils, deli paper and newsprint felt, felt healthier than me doing an imitation of somebody else.

Vintage advertising paper doll parts from the Graphics Fairy, with stenciled deli and scrapbook paper, a partial cover from a freebie magazine, accented with an old favorite stencil (plastic rectangles from on old touch tone phone!) made me feel like me, made me feel lighter and happier. It made me remember that my journal is a place to try new things, perhaps to fail, to take something that looks like a mess, cut it or rip it and make something new. It is a place to hone my techniques, and to write.

So, I wrote the words that popped into my head. Maybe they were inspired by the antique body with the oversized Dina Wakley stamp I used for a head. It looked a little freaky, but it looked a little cool. So, "fly your freak flag" popped into my head. The words remind me to be true to myself, not to try to imitate someone else.


Lisa said...

This is awesome advice! Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the "Stuff" and all the people using different stuff. and all I really want to do is write something with cool letters :-)

Edzellinni aka Linda Edkins Wyatt said...

I get torn between writing something meaningful and playing with the lettering and I want to have an art party Lisa!