A ‘FAIL’ and What Came Afterwards

In case you haven’t caught up yet, I am taking Life Book 2015 this year.  This past week we had the opportunity to watch an artist at work and then, if we wished, to follow her process and have a go ourselves.  No instructions were given, so it was a case of wing it, be inspired and have a go.

First up I have to admit I wasn’t that inspired.  It wasn’t the artists fault.  I really enjoyed watching her process and what she made.  I think I felt the process was finished right there.  But as I want to try new things this year I decided to get stuck in.

I decided to use an already collaged A4 water colour paper – the fact that I didn’t like the colours on the paper should have been warning number two – but apparently it wasn’t and I pushed on doggedly.

I made this

Tightrope original

It’s an epic ‘FAIL’ There is nothing in here that is pleasing in any way.  Layers of colour turned muddier and muddier – the figure is – just awful.  I certainly learned a lot about what not to do ……….

So I tried again.

The rest of this post is specifically for Frank, who asked me to document my process – I hope you will enjoy seeing the stages

First I sketched my whimsical walker

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Then the first layers of colour are applied to the face and body

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I worked with these three colours until I got the shading, shape and depth I wanted – maybe eight or nine layers of colour – I wasn’t counting.   Next some red is introduced

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The hair colour is ‘Payne’s Grey’

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She’s well and truly in ‘the ugly stage’.  I know to keep going, it’s just a phase!

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I’m still working on the face, adding layers and details, backwards and forwards, switching between eyes, nose, mouth, legs …..

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Suddenly and abruptly, she leaves the ugly stage and starts to come alive.  I paint her tutu

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Her underskirt appears and words are added.  Later I discover I don’t like the word ‘Walk’ here

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The background colour is painted in and I’m in the zone

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I work for another hour and a half, collaging and adding in the background detail, painting layers over, toning down with gesso and bringing back up with more yellow and green.  ‘Walk’ is discarded.  The face and hair get final attention.  I take no photos, I am too engaged with what I am doing.  Finally I am happy, she is done

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The Tightrope Walker, holds her heart in her hands and walks out onto the high wire.  Her eyes are closed, she is intent on her inner world, her intuition, her trust, her faith and her knowing.  The sounds and activities of the world do not pull her off balance.  She is in the zone.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!