Sunday, 14 March 2010

'Failure is success if we learn from it'

So said Malcolm S Forbes and I need to hang on to that because this weekend has been quite a 'learning experience'! Two card designs made and I'd say they were both at least bordering on 'failures'.But it doesn't seem quite as depressing now that I have found something to learn from them.

First there was my Easter/Spring collage.

I could claim that I was distracted by interruptions - a visitor who stood and watched me (I can't bear that!) and then a long phonecall from a friend in crisis. But if I am honest, I don't think that was the problem at all. I think the reason I'm not at all happy with this one is simply because I don't much like the landscape in Spring! It's not that I don't like the Spring - I do! I love the first bright days when the sun begins to have a bit of warmth in it. I love the feeling of nature coming to life again after the winter, the buds on the bushes and trees and the green shoots appearing in the flower beds. And daffodils, primroses and floppy tupils are some of my favourite flowers.

It's just that I'm never tempted to paint the Spring landscape. The colours seem too sharp, almost strident! As I've mentioned previously, I find the landscape in winter much more attractive and 'paintable'. Not just the snow, but the soft, muted browns, blues and purplish greys of bare trees, hedges and copses. At one time, before the days of the digital camera. I would freeze half to death painting 'en plein air' all through the winter months. August and September are also favourite painting times for me, when the strong colours of high Summer start to fade but the brilliant Autumn spectacle has yet to begin. Again, it's the softly muted colours that I like.

So the lesson I have learned from this collage is 'Never paint anything that doesn't ask to be painted'!

I could never paint portraits or other people's houses to order, as has been suggested to me. I've tried, but I simply can't do it and why would I even try when there are always so other many things that seem to be clamouring to be painted. It might earn me some money if I could paint what other people want me to paint, but unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to work that way for me.

And then today there were were my two 'Hot Cross Bunnies'.

At the drawing stage I felt confident that they were going to work well. But here again, I made a big mistake, which I will not repeat.

In the past, when I've used my watercolour pencils and wash method, I've painted larger than the finished item, 7.5" x 10.5" instead of 5" x 7". But today I thought I would save my expensive watercolour paper and paint them smaller. But unfortunately that has resulted in the pencil lines being thicker because I haven't reduced the size of the whole thing. I'll know for next time! It was made even worse by the vaguaries of my fickle scanner - I'm sure it has a personality of its own! Some days it works perfectly, other days it takes at least three tries before it will work at all without repeatedly sending me misleading messages about not being switched on! Some days it produces an image that is true to the original - last week's goose was a case in point. Today it was obviously in a contrary mood. The original painting was 'portrait', not 'landscape' and had a pale blue, springlike sky with a sun in the top corner. But the scanner refused to pick up the blue at all and the sun looked slightly silly without a sky so I changed the orientation, which entailed cropping and enlarging - which made the pencil lines even thicker!!!

I've nevertheless uploaded both of these 'failed attempts' to GCU because I'm finding that quite often other people like the designs that I would reject. I'm learning, too, that there really is no accounting for taste!

Maybe I'll paint the Hot Cross Bunnies again some time, but on the other hand, statisically, Easter card sales account for only a tiny percentage of all sales so there might be better ways to use my time. I don't think I've ever sent an Easter card and I can only remember receiving one, so maybe my heart wasn't in it and I'd do better sticking to my summery 'coastal' theme?

I seem to remember feeling rather lacking in inspiration for Easter cards last year too but did manage to come up with this one - now on sale in my Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle stores -

No comments: