Friday, July 20, 2012

Expectations, Playtime and Bits and Chunks

play time #1
encaustic and shellac
working with the uncontrollable, unexpectable and randomness of shellac, carving and inlay, overheating and just letting the wax run with gravity
Overall - nope, don't love it - bits and chunks.. yeah, good things
The small victories here:: I love shellac and it makes great trees.  I love the way the black wax feathered on the background and created grass.  hmmm... wonder if that is repeatable.  And for those of you who participated in SOC2 - that pink and yellow - you got it!  That's a repurposed board from a train wreck for strawberry lemonade.
Expectations - my own, of course.  I'm struggling with this a bit these days.  I am an aim high girl.  I mean, why not!?  Its good for me to stretch myself and to try hard, try harder.  But, when I continually fall short of the expectation that I set, it makes me weary.  Not only does it make me weary, but it also makes me question - why am I doing this?
I feel like right now, there is a big brick wall between me and where I want to be - or feel I should be.  I've tried climbing it, running at it, and banging my head on it.  But it doesn't want to budge.  I've actually gotten a bit bruised lately with my attempts.
I'm a golfer - but think of this in terms of anything for which we set expectations.
When I play, I set in my mind a goal, a score, an expectation.  I set out to reach and exceed that goal. I have high hopes at the beginning of each round.  However, lately, I have been failing miserably.  I just have come off three days of tournament play.  I was horrible, beyond horrible - miserable, upset,  and heading to give up land.  Was I really that bad?  Stacked up to my expectations - yes, horrible and hugely disappointing.  Yet, when I take a step back (after I have licked my wounds) and I break it down - there were some really good things that happened.  I made some clutch putts, I came through on a few holes that I really needed to, and I hit some good shots.  Overall - ugly.  Bits and chunks - there were some good moments.  However, at the time - the bits and chunks were totally lost within the overall.
playtime #2
working on carving and inlay, embedding paper, printed tissue paper, using oil sticks and saral paper
Overall don't love this one either but some of the bits and chunks are pretty good fun.
The small victories here:: love the printed tissue on the rabbit, love outlining with an exacto knife then using R&F oil stick to fill the line with oil paint.  Gives it a drawn effect.  Love making leaves :)  Oh, and the dotty saral paper line made with the dress maker's tool is pretty cool too.  
This past weekend has made me rethink.  I'm feeling like I need some successes, some small victories on which to hang my hat.  I definitely need some feel good moments.  This not only applies to my golf game but this struggle has also spilled over into my artwork.  I need to find a way to get over this wall - A trampoline? A pole vault? A shovel?  Or maybe in bits and chunks rather than the entire thing - aiming for the small victories that are still a stretch but are more easily achieved at the level at which I am currently playing.  Or perhaps... practice - the real dedicated kind versus a short little warm up before heading out.  There's ways.  I am determined and combined with the fact that I am a Capricorn  makes me a bit stubborn that way.  I'll keep the aim high, but I will also focus on notching my stick with the small victories and concentrate on them for a while.  I'm feeling, if I can achieve these small steps on a regular basis they will fuel the fire and get me going up and over this wall.  I'm in, I'm all in. I've turned my back on give up land.  Why?  Because the answer to the question - why am I doing this? is... because I love it.  I love art and I love golf.  And, I'm not going to turn away from something I love just because its difficult.   
What are the small victories that I am going to focus on for my artwork?  For the next month these are my goals - 1.  play.  I'm going to revisit some old techniques and focus on working on these and just playing with them and getting a feel for what I can do with them.  I am not going to try and turn out anything that is "worthy" this next four weeks.  Its all just play and techniques.   2.  practice.  Every day - something.  I will draw, paint, sketch, whatever... every day - something.  Even if I only have 15 or 20 minutes of spare time in day - I'm usin it for practice.
Anyone else want to join me in a month's worth of playtime?  If you do, let me know and I'll figure out how to make that work.  Happy Paint Party Friday everyone!!  Can't wait to see what wonderful art is out there this week.


  1. Lovely pieces, I love them both! :)

  2. I like your way of analyzing things. I think you've done a great job with both your pieces. Very nice. Loving the color and texture. Happy PPF!

  3. I think playing is a great goal! :)
    And I identify with what you wrote in your post.
    But remember Michaelangelo's quote:
    "The greatest danger for most of us
    is not that we aim too high and we miss it,
    but that we aim too low and we reach it." :)

    I do love both these paintings, their texture and luminousity!
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  4. Such lovely and different techniques to use. Very successful paintings. Good luck with the's one of those things, sometimes there are really good times and other times awful....don't give up.

  5. Wonderful post, Marji. I think experimentation and play is the best thing you can do to get out from under expectations! When you are playing, you aren't serious, you're just having fun. I've found having another medium to play in - painting recently - has helped me loosen up and not take myself so seriously overall. And I LOVE both of these pieces! They are free and creative.

  6. Excellent post about your creative process ~ art work is wonderful ~ be a bit gentle with yourself ~~ thanks, ^_^ (A Creative Harbor)

  7. Everything looks wonderful! I resolved many times to paint every day but it's pretty hard to do. :)

  8. I think your artwork is absolutely amazing. The shellac in the trees in your first piece works especially well. There's always a balance between enjoying the process and achieving an end product that you're happy with. I tend to spend a lot of time in process which means I have a lot of fun, but I need to push harder to end up with something I consider a finished piece of art. Good luck with your new goals!

  9. I LOVE LOVE LOVE both pieces Marji!! Remember we don't see what you see. We see a lovely creation.

    I have been where you are and it's self-defeating. For me, I had to learn to step back and just enjoy the PROCESS not the outcome. It's all about the journey.

    Enjoy the game of golf...the sound of hitting that sweet spot...seeing the ball fly through the air...the feel of sunshine...the smell of the grass on the greens...the feel of your club in your hand...picking up a grassy wet ball and not having lost it....feeling the art mediums and enjoying the colors while you work...the smell of your paint....etc.

    Hope this helps a little. Have a wonderful weekend and remember to just be and enjoy.

  10. I think these came out spectacular! Happy PPF! #3 Robin Panzer Art Studio 33

  11. I find encaustic to be so interesting in how the brush stroke of wax can make so many interesting outcomes. Your pieces have good eye appeal. I like the textured look of cracks and the magic grass is exciting too.
    Have fun, and remember to ventilate! (I took a class) ;-)

  12. I also love your art pieces. I'm not sure what form exactly your expectations take - but if sometimes our expectations become food for that critical voice in our heads that repeats over and over - "you are not good enough". Play is a good route to take to still that voice.

  13. I guess everyone successes can have a different perspective! Your tree's are so fabulous, the texture is incredible!! The inlay work is too!! I love them both sooo much!! Glad you are going to let go and just play....I think you will surprise yourself... I am it pride that keeps you so driven to over achieve? Or is it a competitive spirit? Just curious. Playing will be good!! Don't be so hard on yourself, you are so incredibly talented!!

    Hugs Giggles

  14. I can certainly empathise with this one and I think many many artists go through periods like this where they suffer doubts in their own ability and sounds to me like you are doing the right thing taking a step back and enjoying playing around with no expectations - that takes the pressure off. I'm not a golfer myself but I know golfers who say that their game hits peaks and troughs and they tend to go through periods where their game suffers for whatever reason - taking the pressure off yourself may just do the trick to get you out of this. Wishing you all the best x

  15. You and I are in the same place at the moment. I suffer from the aim too high thing too. I used to do great paintings in oil but have changed to acrylics and water colour and nothing comes up to the oil expectations, it really gets you down.
    To me, your art is fabulous, those trees are spectacular and all those clever materials you use, wow. I would love to do the little playtime each day but I have never been taught art and so I don't know any practise techniques. I hope it works for you because your art is beautiful.

  16. Lovely works using wax. A lot of us are in the same spot of feeling we aren't living up to our expectations. Your work is beautiful. Just have fun with it.

  17. A little bit every day makes such a difference. Looking back over what you do over that month sets sparks going in all different directions, and the improvement is very real.

    Play is also very important, and concentrating on the process not on the outcome brings its own rewards.

    That said...I love your encaustic work. I am scared to even begin, let alone producing such results with such an uncontrollable medium. Those trees and the wispy!

  18. You can also practice winning by setting yourself some daily low bar challenges. :)
    I like the play of light on the bits and chunks.

  19. Aiming too high is part of the mindset of the artists I think... and golfers... boy do i know about that... my husband is a golf pro... he spent plenty of years on tour before settling into being head pro at a great club... he still expects to play like he did on tour even though he doesn't get to practice much now... so expectations in golf never disappear.... I am the same with my art... and I try to do something every day... it certainly helps...xx

  20. This encaustic technique is amazing!
    I can understand what you write in your post. I'm in a time of transition. I have joined Leonie's Circle because I needed some inspiration and ideas, and I found what I wanted. I can only tell you what the Law of Attraction says: "You attract what you think about". I'm practicing this way of thinking and I must tell that something is starting to change. Expectations are a good start. :))

  21. I love what you have made! Hit a golf ball over that brick wall, and get going on the other side! Valerie

  22. I would love to say I would join you BUT if you check out my ppf post its messed up, computer crashed as I was posting. and the best way for me to feel bad about myself is to optimistically sign up for something I want to do BUT in reality know I won' t be able to follow thru! Your work is awesome, try just enjoying the doing!
    cheers, dana

  23. Those look so cool. Very unique look with that medium. Awesome.

  24. I think that's a great idea about getting back to basics. Sometimes a refresher course is just what we need. Because of my work deadlines I know I couldn't even necessarily commit to 15-20 minutes a day for art, but I'd love to see what you come up with.
    (Also sorry your golf tourney was disappointing!)

  25. I think 'playing' is almost always the right thing to do when we are struggling... Good for you!

  26. I'm a Capricorn too! Perhaps that explains a lot about me. Your post reminded me of when I get into my head too much and it snuffs out my creativity. I think your plan is a perfect way to build a bridge to walk you right over that wall. I'd love to join you in a month of play.

  27. Gorgeous artwork. Good luck with the golf.. :)

  28. Oh, I can so relate to your words! And I love your strategy. I'm working on this too. Love your two pieces too, the trees in the first are absolutely wonderful, and the second one is just gorgeous!

  29. Though I know the feeling you describe (hitting that wall), I find these beautiful and inspiring! Those trees especially are just amazing...

  30. I totally get this, girl.
    Your artwork is BEAUTIFUL and i for one would miss it if you no longer shared with the world.
    yes - we make art because we love it. And when we love what we do, it shows. This doesn't mean things always work out (ie your golf game!) but you'll still do it, BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT. The joy doesn't only come in the perfect score, or the perfect painting. It comes during the game, during the process...Having an end result in mind is great, but it's not the only reason we do it. We do it because it's what we've chosen to dance with in life. Just keep doing what you do. i LOVE your artwork. xox


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