Monday, July 25, 2011

Beadwork, necklaces, and pendants, oh my!

Depending where you are, I am posting this either very late on Sunday night or very early on Monday morning.  It has been another crazy week with me running around trying to squeeze in some time in the studio amongst the errands, appointments, shopping and general prep work necessary to make my flat ready for some friends to camp out in over the weekend whilst they get over their jet lag and ready themselves for a two week holiday.  My flat is just the start of their frolic and we have sat up late catching up on all the latest goings on in all our lives.  Molly Cat, not to be outdone, has provided comedic relief to the point that we have had tears streaming from our eyes at various times.  Truthfully, Molly was not the only cause for the tears.  It seems whenever friends drop by and we start reminiscing, we laugh until it hurts and the stories we tell no longer resemble what really happened so many years ago.  But, that is what old friends do.  We embellish our stories, adding a little extra oomph here and there.  Whilst there is no harm in what we are doing, I am sure anyone passing by the entry to my flat must wonder what was causing such mirth that they could hear a trio of ladies giggling like teenagers and then having the giggles escalate into deep belly laughs.  Laughter is good for the soul and if this be true, then our souls are in very good shape for the next few months.

I did find some time to putter in the studio here and there through the week.  Not the long periods that I usually enjoy, but rather an hour here and there.  I played with the beads that I made last week and managed to put together a necklace.  For a first effort, it is okay.  I am not totally satisfied with it and will likely take it apart and try again.  Perhaps I'll make some other beads to add to it for contrast.  I did work with some clay and made a pendant as a focal point.  Again, I really need to refine the process and try to make it a little less chunky, but still of sufficient substance so that it matches the weight of the beads that surrounds it.  I have put up a picture of the necklace as a whole and then a picture of the pendant.  It is not too clear, but the pendant has the outline of a Japanese geisha on it.  I think that I might try dry brushing either some gold or black acrylic paint on it to make the figure stand out more prominently.  I am not sure that I am satisfied with the size of the piece or if another figure might be more appropriate on the pendant.  Perhaps this week I will be able to experiment a little more and see what I might come up with and try a few other methods of producing a necklace that is a wearable piece of art.

I made two other pendants while I was playing with the clay.  One has the Chinese symbol for "joy" embossed on it while the other has the outline of some tree branches in bloom on it.  I hope to do some paint work on these two as well in order to make the designs stand out.  One of these will be the focal point of another necklace using the yellow beads which now have red threads wrapped around them.  I seem to be drawn to bright colours right now and adding contrasting colours that will jump out rather than blend in with the main colour of my handmade beads.  I am inclined to think that beads with less contrasting accents might prove to be more appealing.  I have to admit that I do like bright colours, but I do not really like to be the one wearing them.  Maybe with the right piece of jewelry, I could get past this and learn to enjoy something that leaps out to get the attention of others.  If I start with something smaller, like a brooch, I might be able to work my way up to a wild and wonderful collection of colours all on one strand encircling my throat.

A painting is in the works and I am still struggling to put to canvas what I see so clearly in my mind.  I have looked at countless pictures of capes and am trying to capture the luxurious folds and the way the cape would billow out when a breeze catches it just the right way.  Maybe I need to read a few novels set in the Victorian era or go to Middle Earth and read the Lord of the Rings trilogy to find what my muse is whispering in my ear.  I listen intently to what she is saying, but I just am not able to put her advice in the proper context.  I suspect that what I truly need is to devote my mind to what I am doing and not be listening for the kitchen timer to chime announcing that the tray of cookies is ready to come out of the oven.  I have done enough baking and I am determined that I will not bake any more cookies, brownies or squares until the next round of visitors is imminent.  I will get back to my painting later today since I am determined to capture the flowing cape and the feeling that seems to permeate the scene.  I want to say that the scene gives me the feeling of fear, a sense of loss or of searching for something.  This is so confusing for me to explain that I can see why I am unable to capture it on the canvas.  Until I understand what is happening, I am unlikely to be able to paint it and have the canvas tell the story.  So, I need to sit down quietly and tell myself the story and fully develop it in order to paint it realistically.  I hope that makes sense to you.  As confused as this description is of my attempts to paint a cape, some scenery and other elements, I am sure that anyone who paints will understand what it is that I am trying to say.  Until I can see and feel all the elements of "the story," I will not be able to depict them.

And so, with the start of another week, I am embarking on more challenges artistically.  I have changed the layout of my studio to allow me to move about with greater ease.  I no longer need to fear that I am going to trip on the flooring that was on top of the carpet.  I thought the leftover lino from the new kitchen floor would be the perfect way to save the carpet in the studio from the dripping paint and splashes of glue and other mediums.  However, the lino would not stay flat and I gave up trying to fasten it to the carpet with industrial strength duct tape.  I found that the plastic mats found in the office supply shop, allowing chairs to wheel about office cubicles freely, to be the perfect solution.  My carpet is protected, my chair is able to move safely from one area of the studio to another and I am not moving about the room fearing that I will trip and find myself on the floor looking into Molly Cat's worried face.  Falling is not something that I like to think about and I think that I have covered my bases and made the studio into a safe place.  Now, I need to work past the mental blocks that keep me from putting paint to canvas.  I hit these roadblocks every so often and just need to keep working on the painting that is stubbornly refusing to be painted.

I hope your week brings you some challenges artistically and I would love to hear about them and how you plan to go about working with them.  How do you get past your roadblocks?  What is it that causes your artistic engines to stall out?  I love a good story and would love to hear yours.  I will post your comments and tales of your battles in hopes of helping all of us find ways to move forward with our own artistic endeavours.  Your story might prove to be just the ticket to take us where we want to be.

Have a wonderful week!

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

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