One of the things that I find myself dealing with as a “part-time” artist is a severe lack of time. My full-time 40 hour a week day job, family commitments, and other responsibilities keep the amount of time available for art to a minimum. That being said, I really don’t have much a social life; when I do have spare time, it’s spent on art versus going out or watching TV. I do waste time online, but it’s a double-edged sword; fifteen minutes of research can quickly become an hour of surfing and social site browsing.
So when I attempt something new, it’s with an amount of risk involved. If I start something and invest time and materials into it and it goes wrong at the last minute (hardly ever in the beginning, I’ve noticed), it’s not like I can scrap the project and immediately start on the next try. I usually have to wait to the next small amount of spare time, which can often be a day later.
With this latest painting, I decided to jump into a different medium: decoupage. I had an idea of what I was going for, something akin to those “Footprint” poems under glassy clear lacquer on a section of tree trunk. I think the issue I ran into involved the mixture of several chemicals and their reactions to each other. I prepped the wood and paper accordingly, but the adhesive acted strangely with the stain, which in turn reacted to the clear lacquer. I had the clever idea of pressing the piece under books and weights, which resulted in the painting lifting and me having to cut and re-affix pieces of the painting. It’s in one piece and looks good, but I know what I was going for when I began the experiment and this is not it. I gives me an appreciation for the folk artists or Chinese child laborers that crank those “Footprints’ tree trunks out en masse.
I’m not giving up on the decoupage idea. I have another piece coming up and I’ll try and apply what I learned from this experiment. If I stayed safe in my art, I’d become bored and lose my motivation to create. The trade-off is often frustration and destruction, but if art is about self-discovery, I believe this is the right path.