Thursday, November 21, 2013

Make Art That Sells wrap-up

It's hard to believe that 5 weeks of the MATS e-course has come to a close....2 weeks ago actually! It was an intense, emotional, motivating and exciting journey that I was so fortunate to experience. It has left my creative cup overflowing and given me a completely new approach (which I badly needed) to making art. i am not afraid to try new things, no longer am I stuck in my nice, neat little illustration box....I have broken free and it feels so good! Here is the rest of my journey, weeks 3-5.

week 3 Children's Book
Our "mini" on Monday was a 2-part assignment: 1. to draw lots of birds in our own style and then pick one to develop into a character and 2. to hand-letter the words "the language of the birds".

 I was really pressed for time this week and really never got to develop a strong bird character or do much lettering. I decided to just hold my breath for the main assignment in hopes that I could pull something together. On Wednesday we were instructed to incoorporate our bird character into a cover illustration or 2 page spread for a Russian folk tale called "The Language of the Birds". We did not have to stick to the storyline and do our piece in any medium. I decided to go with my watercolor-colored pencil style, which, in the end, was probably not the best choice as it is so time consuming. There were alot of late nights that week! I had opted to keep my Etsy shop open throughout the course and it was a quite a juggling act to balance the etsy orders with the assignments. I ended up working early mornings and late nights on the course assignments, but for this week, that was just not enough time. I came up with some ideas for the cover and quickly picked one to develop. I knew the bulk of my time would be spent rendering the finish, and really did not spend enough time on the sketching/plannning stage.

I had to make some changes on the final that were not easy to make given the meduim. I gave it my best shot with the time I had, but definitely finished feeling disappointed with the final result. i wanted to go back and re-work it, but of course there was no time. Learned some good lessons though and figured out a little more photoshop stuff in the process of scanning and uploading.
week 4 Wall Art
Lilla informed us that this week would be "more relaxed" and a nice change of pace from the intensity of week 3. I think everyone in the class was a little relieved! On monday we were assigned 2 colors based on our zodiac sign and were instructed to go on a scavenger hunt for bits and pieces of paper, scraps, fabric, buttons, anything really in our colors + neutrals that could be glued down to a substrate. This was really fun.
My colors were green & yellow. I am a total hot pink girl, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about my colors, but as i started to see all of the shades and nuances, i really fell in love with them. Here's my all my loot!
So what were we going to do with all of our "stuff"? Our assignment was to create an piece of abstract wall art that should include organic/geometric shapes, some florals, and a few words. lilla showed us tons of gorgeous wall art to inspire and get us all honesty, I had no clue where to start. Abstract was 100% out of my comfort zone and I wasn't too sure about getting messy.  I had to start somewhere, so I "practiced" being messy by painting a bunch of my own papers to collage. This was fun, but I had a need to return to the familiar, so I went to my clay table and made alot of little clay pieces that I later painted and used on the final piece. Feeling a bit more confident, I started to collage my painted papers and some of the tissue, scrapbook papers, fabric, stamps, etc....again, although it felt strange to be so arbitrary about it, it was definitely enjoyable. I was starting to "dig" it lol! I started off with two canvases and eventually chose one to focus on due to time constraints.
Messy was fun! I needed to be somewhat organized with the composition as it just made sense to my brain. I glued on my clay pieces, fabric,and buttons and then stamped, splattered, smeared til my heart was content! It was a wonderful journey that taught me that things do not have to be perfectly rendered. By the time I had finished, I knew I had a completely new set of tools in my toolbox!
~I had found my place~

week 5 Gift
Here we were at the final week...the month seemed to pass in a total blur! We started the week by photographing out "collections". As I live in a house with 5 kids, 5 dogs & 2 cats, I have made it my mantra not to "collect" any extra stuff! I didn't really have much in the way of "collections" other than a huge box of dusty marathon/road race/triathlon medals....and clay stuff.....alot of clay stuff. I chose the clay! buttons, beads, charms, pendants.

The mini was to take pictures of our stuff and scan bits and pieces into the computer. Then we were to use these bits in the design of a "hyper-lush" pouch for the gift market. "Hyper-lush" is a trending style that involves lots of photo-realistic florals, icons, etc. 
The project could be done by hand (drawing the icons and collaging them), but really called for many hours in photoshop (at least many hours for me!) to produce a really nice result. I decided that this was not something I could really tackle in the time alotted, given my limited ps skills, and chose to go in a different direction. I did use one of my charms as inspiration for the piece, can you guess which one?
 I had such an enjoyable experience with the wall art assignemnt and chose to go back to that mixed media style to make a holiday card. I used lots of different materials and really enjoyed the process.
Here is the finished piece, now hanging in my daughter's room, as she is the kitty lover in our house!

To sum up the last month in one word.....Amazing! Lilla provided us with so so much information, expertise, inspiration, and kindness. She created a supportive environment in which we could experiment and grow without judgement. The facebook forum provided a place for comraderie, sharing, and wonderful feedback. My classmates were a group of incredibly talented artists always ready to offer help, support, a shoulder to lean on, and cyber hugs. I am looking so forward to the part B next spring, and over the next 6 months I will be delighting in exploring the new tools in my toolbox! Thankyou Lilla Rogers and the entire MATS team!

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