I wasn’t expecting to have this piece done quite so soon, but I’m pleasantly surprised to share with you all this next piece in The Pathos of Things collection – Spring (miniature). This piece was a real joy to produce, and although it had a bit of a rocky start, in the end it came together more smoothly than the previous piece.
My original concept for this piece was to make the canvas resemble shoji paper, and to do a branch of kanzashi cherry blossoms to end up with a piece that looked a bit like a sumi-e painting. I couldn’t quite get the texture I wanted, and after that initial failure I had to step back for a few days and regroup before I could approach the piece again. What I ended up with has a matte papery feel and faint texture of silvery bark, which I quite enjoy. I landed on doing white and silver to contrast the black and gold of the Autumn piece.
Resin is still a relatively new material for me, although I have been working on some new resin accessories outside of this collection in order to bolster that skill. So, when it came to crafting the butterfly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as the end result. I’d originally wanted a more vibrant blue, and bought some pigments made for resin that had the iridescent quality I was looking for. I mixed the pigments into a can of clear resin, and this was the result.
I feel like I should have used blue resin instead, for a more vibrant color, and some of the powder pigments I used didn’t turn out as well when mixed into the can of resin. The liquid pigment was very good, but not quite enough to mix into a full can of clear resin, so I bolstered the iridescent color by dabbing powder pigment on top of the finished butterfly before adding layers of varnish.
The cherry blossom branch was probably the easiest part. It came together exactly how I had planned with no surprises. I have a huge stash of embroidery floss, so I would say trying to decide on which colors to use for binding the branch was actually the most difficult part.
The branch is also the perfect place to hide the cut in the canvas where the hairpin slides through. It’s a little difficult to get the hairpin in and out, but overall I think everything fits together well.
I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride this year in terms of figuring out what I want to do and where I’m going with my art, and I think it shows in how these most recent pieces have been turning out, and the speed at which I’ve been finishing them.
After University I had a real struggle with anxiety, depression, and identity. Even when I was living in Japan, on the most immersive adventure of my life, there were days it was hard to convince myself to get out of bed, let alone produce art. It was like the inspiration had been sapped from me. All of the ideas I had about who I was, and what I wanted to do with my life, just didn’t fit anymore. I was afraid that creativity might never come back.
There’s still a huge taboo around speaking about such things, and for artists especially there is a belief that we are supposed to struggle, that our art only turns out the way it does because of our struggle; the trope of the starving artist. But, the truth, for me anyway, is that producing good art is a whole lot easier when you’re happy, emotionally stable, and financially secure.
My life has evened out a lot since then, but it took me from then until now to really make a return to art; that’s almost eight years. At twelve, I thought I knew who I was and what I wanted to do with my life; I was a comic book artist. I spent more than a decade pushing myself hard toward that goal – self publishing, doing conventions, developing a brand and image, learning to sell myself and not just my art, getting a degree, submitting proposals for books – only to end up on a completely different path in my 30’s. But, this was not wasted effort; these are all valuable skills, and had I not been where I was, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now.
So, for anyone out there who is struggling to balance art, life, work, and all the difficulties that come with it, just know that you aren’t alone, and you can do it. None of us are just one thing, we are all multifaceted, ever changing, ever growing. There is no time limit on self discovery, and if you’re unhappy with where you are now, you still have time to reinvent yourself.
Anyhoo, that is about all I’ve got for this week. If you like this blog and want to help support it, consider buying me a coffee. Your support is greatly appreciated, and I hope that you check back again next week for more art, crafts, and creativity!