Tuesday, March 12, 2013

i love making mistakes...

well, not really but sort of ...is that an elusive enough comment or what?!

let me clarify, mistakes are awesome in art.  this is what i try to teach my own children and especially my art students.

why are mistakes so important?  well, seeing as I'm no guru and as you probably have already surmised, mistakes lead to learning and figuring out.  also, to becoming a better artist.
a first print with many editing notes
so often, people are intimidated by art and expect it to be perfect at the first go.  but what viewers see in a final piece of art is just that, a final piece of art.  the viewer does not see the eraser marks, the cursing, the crumpled papers, the 100 questions the artist has asked themselves, the 200 questions they've asked other people, and the edits upon edits upon edits.  And not only do they not see all the frustration and work behind that one specific piece, the viewer does not see all of the sketches that went into the work nor the 100s of artworks that are not shown.
the drawing before it is transferred to the linoleum block.  i changed it again after i took this picture too!
This photo shows the first print and all of my notes on how i felt it needed to be edited.
art takes practice, art requires learning and art is frustrating.  and because of all of these things, art is extremely rewarding and in the end, really fun.  BUT it does take work...and i tell you all of this from my own experiences.
as you can see, i totally messed up the words on the bottom portion of the circle...oops!  frustrating and annoying yes, but i had to figure something out..... 
I really wanted to quote so i decided to create a second block that would have the quote.  This would then allow me to use just the one block without the quote or use both blocks and have two colors.
and this is what i came up with...i love the two colors and i think i like it even more because of the challenge.
i try to pass on these experiences and this understanding to my students.  for instance, they often get frustrated drawing animals and i understand....drawing is difficult.  but, as i tell them, once you know what's not right, you know what needs to be fixed.
here is an example of a typical conversation that may take place in my class:

student:  "Mrs. May, this elephant looks stupid!  it looks like an alien!"
me:  "well, maybe not an alien, perhaps a jelly fish.  just teasing!"
(both of us giggle.)
student:  "can i just start over?!"
me: "yes you can if you want but first let's figure out what's not correct.  what specifically don't you like about your elephant?"
student: "the body looks dumb"
me: "how so?"
student: "it's just not right...it's, like, too small."
me: "i agree.  so that's one thing you could fix.  perhaps too you could make it more round"
student: "and look at it's ears!"
me: "yes, i think those should be bigger."

so, that's the start of "fixing" art...figuring out what is wrong. if you know what's wrong, you know what needs to be corrected.  i had a professor one time tell me that if you use words to describe out loud what you need to fix, it is a bit easier.  it's true, i do it all the time.

people often believe they just aren't good at art... more so, they may have just not have given it the time to be good at it.  allowing yourself to make mistakes and investigating them, will guide you to making things right.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

snail mail....

i love writing letters, good ol' fashioned letters.  i love a good pen, pretty and cute stationary and especially the envelope!  to decorate the envelope is like sending a hug!  thinking about the person opening their mail box to an envelope covered in stickers and doodles is just so fun!  and then to receive one, oh my!  it's an instant smile!

even with email and facebook and all of today's easy-to-communicate-quickly devices, a few of my college roommates and i still write letters, albeit less frequently, with lots of doodles and stickers and love!

well, if you are a letter writer and art lover, i have the blog, shop and site for you! snail mail magazine is all about the art and love of writing letters!  I found Anke van der Meer on instagram (go figure, i know!) and i think her stuff is just adorable!
though i cannot read her blog due to it being in Dutch, i love the photos!  i follow  snail mail magazine on instagram daily and also found snail mail on facebook but more so, check out her etsy shop!  oh my cuteness!!  snail mail etsy shop  my favorite item, if i have to choose just one, is this snail mail magazine:
Anke describes the magazine in her etsy shop:
"A magazine filled with fun facts about snailmail, freebies (writing paper, fake-stamps, address labels, etc.) you can use for your own mail and lots of inspiration for the goodies you add in your package! 30 pages with various fun, but also useful tips, websites and frequently asked questions (answered). And as an added bonus, if you buy the magazine, you get the printable for free! » https://www.etsy.com/listing/123406669

The magazine is for anyone who wants to start with snailmail, but wonders how everything works and where to start. But it's also fun for people who have been snailmailing for a while!"

so go check out all of Anke's cool sites!!!  send someone a note, a letter, a poem, a haiku...whatever you feel!
hope you enjoyed this instagram and etsy find!
:) Sarah