By Julie Holmes
|overly used / New|
Artists can be the most self critical people. We have such high expectations, lofty aspirations and a keen eye for the off kilter. Turned inward, that eye can be brutal. Are we sometimes much too quick to judge ourselves? I think so. I’m 53, so when the grains of enamel started showing up on the wrong side of the wire, it’s my eyes. Poor eyesight. Got to be. Or…maybe, it’s the hands. That’s it. The tremors of old age are setting in. It always works to blame the parents. You know, the ones that grew up in the depression and taught me not to waste, not to spend, not to buy a new $2.00 paintbrush in order not to ruin a $200.00 cloisonné. That might work, except they don’t know anything about making cloisonné. All I know is I broke out a new brush and the grains of enamel started behaving better.
|done in class / done in studio |
(Click to enlarge)
Then there were the black dots. They started invading and I blamed myself. I had learned to use a dedicated brush for black enamel. I had become lax in my practices. It had to be grains of black enamel stuck in my brush and making it their dastardly mission to destroy my perfectionistic perfectionism. Why had I suddenly entered what will become known as my “black dot period” after my death? Well, it turns out the black dots only show up on pieces I made during a “glass on copper” class using the community kilns. I assume it may have been airborne bits of their scalex, or maybe just airborne firescale ...or the black dot fiend that hid under the table and threw black dots at my work when I wasn’t looking. All I know is I figured out it never happened to pieces I made in my own studio.
And sometimes in our efforts not to be perfectionists…we aren’t imperfect enough. This was to be an asymmetrical piece. The shape drawn free-hand to be as carefree as the subject matter, only it wasn’t off kilter enough. My son said it looked like I had tried to make it symmetrical and failed miserably. So instead of looking cool and artsy…it just looked sloppy. All I know is we are all human, and humans aren’t symmetrical either...and I like this piece anyway.
My point is, don’t assume YOU are the reason something didn’t turn out. Check the expiration date, see if the temperature setting has changed, check the weather, your astrological chart and the moon phase. And sometimes, when the results turn out wrong, but unsuspectingly, happily magical, just be grateful that you were born with the desire to be creative and are here today to witness and take the blame for your own perfect genius.