More Time, Better Art?

Rococo, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

This artwork was inspired by Rococo, 18th-century-period style with curves, asymmetry, gold, and ornaments. When I think of Rococo, I think of time. Those elaborate women’s dresses: how long did it take to sew them? Or the porcelain table clocks, how many people, how many months did it took to get one finished and working?

The time we are living at the moment is totally different. Not that I want to spend half of my life to embroider one chair. But I cannot help thinking: sometimes we create quantity but not quality. We get frustrated of our lacking skills, lacking vision, but often, there’s a simple solution: time. Instead of creating three pages in a week to your art journal, make one.

Creativity needs time. The first thoughts are often the least innovative. When we take the time to dig deeper, we reach frustrations, but also new solutions.

Working in short periods of time

Creating of a mixed media painting by Peony and parakeet

I used to have a difficult time working in phases. I wanted my work to be finished at one go. Leonardo da Vinci certainly did not have problems with that. He spent over ten years painting Mona Lisa. He did not dedicate all of that time to one painting; he did other things too. But he let his subconscious work during the breaks.  So, while waiting for the watercolor to dry, I engaged myself in other activities.

Creating a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

I built the foundation for this work with several thin layers of watercolors. Then I worked with colored pencils and watercolors to add details. Thin, flat brush is my favorite when adding details with paint.

Creating a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

Some might call it finished, but I wanted to add tension and interest. As this was about rococo, some shimmer seemed appropriate!

Rococo glitter!

Creating a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet. Using Inka Gold.

I have few colors of Inka Gold, beeswax based metal paint. They seemed just right for this artwork. And speaking of Rococo, some gold would be appropriate too. I love Golden brand’s gold acrylic paint.

Golden acrylics gold paint. A photo by Peony and Parakeet.

Finishing

I added some hand decorated papers to add variation and continued completing the tiny details.

Rococo, a detail of a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

The size of the artwork is 12 inches by 12 inches. It took about three days from start to finish.

Rococo, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

The quality of one artwork cannot be measured by the time the artist spent with it. Great art can be born quickly when the skills and the creativity meet. But on the other hand, if you want to improve your art and increase your creativity, why not focus on one artwork for a bit longer time.

What do you think? Can you make time work for you?

Create elaborate art: Sign up for Imagine Monthly!

Bad Art – How to Fix Mistakes?

Still Life, a collage and a greeting card for my sister, by Peony and Parakeet

Have you ever created something you absolutely hate? Did you make a page in your art journal that makes you want to tear off the page? Did you create a card that you don’t want to keep neither give? I do that almost daily, with the exception that I don’t call that artwork finished. Making mistakes is the essential part of the creative process. Without destruction there won’t be creation!

I will show the process of the collage card that I made for my sister. You will see how I almost destroyed it with very bad decisions. You will also see that without those stupid mistakes the card would not look detailed enough in the end.

Yes, speaking of finishing, every art teacher that I have met always say the same thing: “Your art is finished when you feel so. If you can’t think of anything more to add, it’s finished.” I don’t think so. If you want to develop in making art, you will not stop when your brain says so. It is your rational side that is speaking and you need to get in touch with your creativity.

Let’s see how I began creating the collage and dive deeper in the process of making mistakes and letting creativity take over.

Sketching a collage, by Peony and Parakeet

Here’s the fist step. I just grabbed a paper and had some fun doodling. I felt pretty light and cheerful at this stage.

Creating a collage, a phase photo, by Peony and Parakeet

Then I took out the watercolors and realized that the paper that I had picked is perfect for them. It was handmade recycled paper that I had bought from a handcrafter a year or two ago. The paper is made from old linen sheets and I love the way it absorbs water.

Creating a collage, adding mica flakes, a phase photo, by Peony and Parakeet

To create something a bit luxorious I opened a jar of Golden Mica Flakes. It is actually grey paste which looks stunning gold after drying.

Creating a collage, a phase photo, by Peony and Parakeet

After adding some details with watercolors and extra doodling, you could be fooled  to think I was finished. But knowing better, I moved forward and got a crazy idea to cut the piece.

Creating a collage, a phase photo, by Peony and Parakeet

Oh my. At this point I knew I had made the first move towards distroying my pretty little ornament. Next move to the same direction: sewing machine!

Creating a collage, adding machine sewing, a phase photo, by Peony and Parakeet

I got an obcessive idea to use machine sewing for the details. And after trying to fix everything with some more watercolors, I knew I had done it: it was ruined!

Creating a collage, a phase photo, by Peony and Parakeet

I could have stopped here and call it bad art. But while making a lot of bad decisions and messing up the good start, I had found the speed and the mindset of creative thinking. This is why you should never stop after making mistakes: you have then just opened the door to your imagination! And if you made no mistakes, you did not even enter the front yard!

Now, at this point of the process, you should not quit neither continue with the rational mind. Do not take any black or white paint and paint it all over! That is conscious destruction and far from what your creativity can accomplish.

You should just keep on working with high speed and continue adding new details. Even if it feels stupid, even if your mind is blank, just keep on adding. If you feel like you need any direction, then turn on some music or take a picture or a photo that you like and put it near to your work area. But do not look the picture intentionally. Just trust on your wild side!

Having someting inspiring near the workspace, a russian greeting card

To save my ruined piece, I used this lovely card that I had bought a year ago while visiting St Petersburg, Russia. I set it so that it was a bit higher than the table top. That way it did not catch too much attention while I was working.

Still Life, a detail of a collage by Peony and Parakeet

See how the russian roses began to appear to my work! I did not think of the roses or the rest of the russian card while I was trying to save the collage. I worked fast and intuitively  without questioning anything.

How did I knew when it was finished? When the things I kept on adding became smaller and smaller, finally so small they were almost invisible.

Still Life, a collage by Peony and Parakeet

So, my advice is that if you made something pretty, destroy it with your mistakes! And when you made a punch of them, begin enjoying your creativity and finish your work!

I try to be prepared for the “bad art” part so that I begin lightly. Starting with skecthing and watercolors makes it possible to add plenty of layers afterwards.

I would love to hear what your thoughts and experiences are on this method. Leave a comment!