Alrighty! It seems like it has been forever since I posted anything about my ECMP learning project. Now that things have calmed down, or maybe it just seems that way because I am finished class for the week, I can actually sit down and tell you what is going on in regards to shading wood with stain.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t all that much that is happening. I feel like I am having a similar problem as the one Janelle Clarke describes in her learning project post. It is difficult to get a final product that I am pleased with because I haven’t become a pro over night. I took the time, put together the supplies, sat down and started my first attempt at shading a design using stain and it turned out to be a flop. At least from my perspective it sure did. So as you can guess, I was not happy at all. You see, I am a perfectionist and when it comes to learning or doing something, I am all about the final product. What does it look like? Did it turn out the way I envisioned? Are there any flaws or mistakes? These types of questions are the ones that I immediately focus on when I finish creating something and if the responses to them are not positive, then I want to start over or give up. To me, I feel like when my projects don’t turn out the way they are supposed to, I have wasted my time. What I do realize and need to continue to remember, however, is that this learning project is about the learning PROCESS, not the final product. Better yet, my time has not been wasted because I have been learning new things during this whole process.
So really this is what I have learned since my last post:
- After attempting this project in terms of creating an actual design, it is not as easy as it looks. By watching a tutorial , you get the perception that it is simple to do and it takes no time to get good at it. The problem with this is that the person who is doing the tutorial, in this case Bethany from realitydaydream, has had tons of experience doing this already. She already has the necessary skills to tactfully complete the demonstration with a positive outcome. You don’t see the struggle or mistakes of a beginner and as a result it looks like it is easy.
- It’s all about perspective. The saying “it looks good from far, but far from good” comes to mind here. It is kind of a joke, but it really does hold some truth when it comes to thinking about how art is viewed. In my opinion, it should never be examined up close. But as the creator for the piece, its pretty much in your face the whole time. You are constantly looking at it up close; so, you see the little flaws or errors and focus only on them and trying to fix them. What needs to happen, and I need to do this more, is walk away from it for a while and stop picturing it. Then, come back and look at it from a distance. It usually doesn’t look as bad as you first thought.
- My materials ended up being more different that I would have guessed. As I had determined in a previous post, spruce/pine was the way to go for this. What I didn’t think of was that there would be a difference in moisture content in the wood from my experiment to the new wood I would be using. It turns out that the wood spruce/pine that I first got from Ken’s workshop had been able to dry out for a lot longer than the stuff I tried to use for staining a design on recently. This means that the wood conditioner did not absorb into the wood as much and the stain went on in a different way. It spread over the surface more evenly than I had wanted.
- The technique I was using was incorrect. For some reason in my mind, I thought that I needed to start from dark to light and shade the whole petal. In return, I didn’t get the effect I wanted. After looking more closely at the pieces Bethany has done, what I noticed is that some of the petal doesn’t have any stain on it all. She keeps the stain away from the edges and maximizes the shading effect.
So yes, even though my project is still not going the way that I want it too, I am still learning something! And even though I was feeling discouraged about the results of what I have been trying, reflecting on my progress on what I have actually learned so far in both the artistic and woodworking aspects has helped to shine a positive light on the direction I am headed. ~ And so the process continues!