Friday, April 8, 2011

Foxfire Daily: a Word on My Art

a friend on dA (deviantART for those of you unaware of the site - where I keep my galleries) posted a question asking whether it bothered her watchers that she was moving away from pencil & paper towards a crafting style.  It got me to thinking about my own art, and how I move from medium to medium...

I've found that my art runs in cycles, from pencil & paper (and/or digital) mediums to "solid" mediums (aka my crafting) and back again, and every time it cycles I find myself better at the one I'm coming back to than I was before. I feel, for me at least, it's a natural circle that my artistic self has to make in its own season.

When I get stuck in one medium I move to something different, maybe something new.  For a long time all I did was draw; mechanical pencil and paper.  It was the art class at my middle school that really got me to expand my sights to new avenues and new techniques.  There are things we did that year in art class that I would still love to try again, and other things that I still use.  We learned various inking techniques; I think the one that stood out the most for me was stippling.  I don't use it very often (read: never) because my style doesn't really work with it right now, but I did enjoy it.  The other two art projects we did that stand out are papermaking and batik.  One of these days, I will (I hope) have a chance to try those again.  They were fun, and different, and unique. They weren't as complicated as I expected them to be... even if the papermaking did stink to high heaven!  It was still fun.

Later, I had the opportunity to go to Art of the Carolinas, a huge art convention largely sponsored by Jerry's Artarama (my favorite art supply store... shameless plug!).  I took classes mostly in oil painting, which was my favorite medium of the time, and the one skill I really wanted to expand, but I also took a silk painting class.  Aside from the abstract oil painting class, which was incredibly amusing thanks to the teacher who had a very cavalier approach to his art, my favorite class at that event was the silk painting.  Again, it's something I want to try again some day.  There were techniques discussed in that class that I want to play with and see what I can come up with.

As for my jewelrymaking, I've always loved gems and metals, for as long as I can remember, so it was as natural as breathing for me.  When I was 12 or so, I first started playing with scraps of copper wire (my dad was an electrical engineer and had gobs and gobs of the stuff lying around) and rock crystal found in the driveway. Then I got a book or two and it just kept going from there. I've taken classes in chainmaille, Precious Metal Clay, and lost wax casting, and I've got so many books sitting on my shelf on so many different jewelrymaking techniques that I may never get to try them all.

But isn't that what being a crafter, an artist, and/or artisan is all about?  Finding new ways (and revisiting old ways) to let the muse out to play?  For me, that's exactly what it's all about: letting my muse out to play.

I -like- changing mediums every so often.  The inspirations are the same, no matter how they manifest.  It keeps me from getting bored or frustrated.  And it keeps me learning new things. If you're an artist or artisan and feeling the need to change up your creative routine a little (or a lot), I say go with the flow. It's that inner nature, inner self, instincts telling you what you need and perhaps what the world needs to see from you.

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