Wednesday, September 28, 2016

When Life Gives You Lemons... UM, I don't like Lemonade!

Have you ever heard the chirpy little saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade".

I've always found that saying to be rather annoying... perhaps it's because I happen to strongly dislike lemonade!    Plus it the saying makes it sound like it's just sooo easy to just turn your lemons into lemonade.  Well I don't have the right tools, I don't like drinking lemonade (even with tea or fruit flavors in it!), and I think the whole saying downplays the real-life drama and frustrations that come with receiving lemons instead of whatever you thought you were supposed to receive!


SO I've decided that when life gives you lemons, you need to take a few moments (if possible) and re-imagine what those lemons could actually be! When I am stuck, I've found it best to let my mind think about the possibilities, and then augment my mind's processes with some good, old-fashioned research.  I'll look at Pinterest, my favorite blogs, my favorite Facebook and Instagram groups, and do a bunch of Googling (is that a word?).   I don't copy other people's work (in fact that's a pet peeve of mine!)... but I sometimes use them as inspirational stepping stones to find a solution that works for me (or a new recipe if you will!).  My favorite way to fill my mind with possibilities, is to simply play with things (with art supplies or building supplies, or jewelry supplies, or ...well you get the idea). The playing with supplies, opens the mind up to new possibilities.  

As for "real" lemons?  Well my favorite use is a recipe I ended up finding in a cookbook I own, that has a fabulous recipe for Mediterranean Garlic-Lemon Chicken. YUMMMM!!!! (a far better usage of lemons than making lemonade in my humble opinion!!).

What is this all leading to in my blog post you ask?  Well, I have been running into a few "lemons" in my art world lately.   This year my art seems to be revolving more around resin and silk than in painting on silk (which is lovely and I'm seriously enjoying!!), but I have created a few lemons for myself.  My biggest lemon (which is a bit embarrassing to admit) was my largest (star-shaped) resin and silk bowl that I've made to date.  I finished it (or so I thought), and sent it out on a trip to Wenatchee Washington to be displayed at a state-wide conference.  I was QUITE honored to have it shown there!

The larger star-shaped bowl and a 2nd, smaller    
bowl as they appeared when I sent them
off to the conference.
I dutifully packed it (along with a selection of other artwork) and waited to hear what everyone thought. I did receive some lovely comments about my artwork, but nothing too much was mentioned about the bowls.  THEN I received my bowls back.  I was SHOCKED.. and more than a little upset!  The big bowl had pretty much collapsed more into a wobbly plate shape rather than in it's fabulous star shape that I sent it out as.  It turns out that it was VERY hot in the car on the ride up and back.  And basically, the resin wasn't thick enough...so it softened enough to lose it's shape. Embarrassing to say the least!  So much so, that I didn't even take a picture of it in that shape!

My next step was to do a bit more research about the resin.  I had crafted the star bowl in the same manner that I did all of my other resin bowls and sculptures.  But this was bigger and had the added issue of heat having been applied to it.  The resin manufacturer had little help to offer.  They suggested that I just keep experimenting.  They did seem to think that the heat shouldn't bother it since it had set up properly (but trust me, the heat DID bother it!!).   

A peak at the new sulpture 
After doing as much research as I could (and some more experimentation), I decided to do my best to
reform the bowl and then add additional layers of resin.  That seems to have helped (BUT my embarrassment with the piece has not diminished!),  SO I decided that I needed to do more.  What was 2 separate bowls (as seen in the above picture) will now merge together to form a single, lovely flower sculpture.   I think that this new form is actually a vast improvement over the old one.  Not only is it stronger (and far more stable!), but it is now even more visually appealing!   It's not quite done yet... but here's a peek at the new sculpture (and I've already looked at a few shows that I think are a perfect fit for it!).

With all of this in mind, I have decided that making lemonade out of lemons is no longer accurate for me.  From now on, I'm making something MORE exciting out of my lemons!  I believe: failure invites the opportunity to be creative! (now if only I can remember that in my personal life!!)

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