Well, it didn’t take too long before I faced potential boredom with my sketching. In the days after returning from France, I looked around my house and thought “what is so interesting here that I’d want to sketch it?”
There-in lies the rub. It isn’t so much a matter of what looks interesting to sketch, it is a matter of making it a practice no matter what the subject matter. If the only reason I sketch is because the subject is interesting, I would’ve quit long ago. (And, in fact, I did quit sketching, several times in the past.)
This is when I had the bright idea to use themes or topics as my basis for sketching. Deciding on a theme or topic is a challenge in itself, however, it seems to be working for now.
The “What Do I Want To Sketch?” Phase
Did you know that Globe Thistle are made up of multiple tiny five petal flowers, like tiny stars? One of my favorite flowers and I never looked so closely at them until I tried to draw one.
Another favorite flower whose petals sparked an idea in my head for an art doll.
Along with creating my Spirit Messengers and other sculptural artwork, I’ve been experimenting with other ideas to expand my body of work. The reality in today’s art world is that one line, one size, does not fit all. Most artists need to expand their line of work, leverage their skills, and create artwork for a broader audience.
Some options in this area might include cards, small prints, wall art, and jewelry. Offering polymer clay classes is another way for me to leverage my skills as an artist, reach a new audience, share my knowledge and help others ignite their creative muses.
Several weeks ago, sometime after the BP oil spill, I was sitting at my work table puttering around with leftover bits of clay. Normally I’d ball up the leftover clay scraps and deposit them into my scrap clay bucket. These bits are often reconditioned into a muddy sheets of clay and used as interior armatures for my Spirit Messengers and other sculptural pieces.
But on this day I followed my intuition. I rolled the various bits into different shapes, poked them, textured them, put one color inside another, and applied them to random sheets of leftover clay. Next thing I knew, I had three miniature underwater studies on my worktable.
Underwater Study #1
Underwater Study #2
Underwater Study #3
Each underwater study measures approximately 1.25″ wide by 2.25″ long, except for study #3 which is closer to 1″ wide by 2″ long.
Of course, as often happens when creating new art, I’m now asking myself what to do next with these pieces. I bought several sheets of luscious cardstock to use as backgrounds. However, these tiny studies need something else to complete them. I’m thinking about another layer of polymer clay, slightly larger than the central piece, placed underneath. And maybe some type of border to frame the central piece.
This is when a bit of experimenting happens. I’ll try one idea. Toss it. Try something else. Toss that one. Maybe go back to the first idea. Eventually I’ll set the whole thing aside until I can look at it again with fresh eyes. That is the current situation with these underwater studies.
Polymer Clay on Canvas
For this next piece I drew inspiration from the artwork of Serena Wilson Stubson that appeared in the May/June issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. What drew me to Stubson’s work as it appeared in CPS was her use of circles. I love circles. Round. No beginning. No end. Circle of Life; all that.
However, when I looked at Stubson’s work, I thought, hmm, I’d like to give that a go and incorporate polymer clay into the finished piece.
For my piece, I worked on a 5″x7″ canvas. I applied a page from an old book to the canvas as my base layer. I chose three words from the book page as my inspiration for the title of this piece.
Bewildered Garden Angel
This piece incorporates layers of paper, paint, oil pastels, text on vellum, polymer clay and wire.
I’m not sure if this will go anywhere, as far as becoming a new line in my body of work. But experimenting and playing are important parts in the creative process. Maybe this will morph into something else. Or maybe it will just be a groovy little artwork on canvas.