fall leaves, fall color, maple leaf

And Now It’s Time for Frustration Friday

Despite my successes in the world of winemaking, this week has also seen a heaping dose of frustration. I guess  whatever art gods are moving my little car around the game board of Life doesn’t want me to have too many triumphs or things might start going to my head.


If you don’t remember from the half a million times I’ve mentioned it, my art selected for a solo exhibition. For the show I have to have seven to nine pieces ready and framed by mid-April. At this moment, I have no frames and only about five works I think are good enough for the event. Since it takes at least three weeks for me to complete one of my colored pencil drawings (paintings, whatever), I’ve got every art moment planned out.

In this plan there is no room for failure. There is no room for goofing off. There is no room for wasting a day trying to fix something. And there is definitely no room for completely screwing up.

And that’s exactly the type of plans the cruel art gods love to throw a wrench in.

I was hoping to have several botanical works ready for the show and amongst these I had planned to do a few drawings from the leaves that “decorated” my lawn and garden last fall. Normally, the leaves from our maples are just kind of brown and blah, but this year there were loads of greens and reds and yellows that had my colored pencils twitching. I collected some of the best ones, had them sign a model release form, and then went snap happy while doing my best Austin Powers impersonation.

austin powers, yeah baby

Last week I started a drawing based on one of the photos. After one day of trying to get the colors right and failing, I thought maybe it was the new paper I was using. That’s one day of work out the window. The next day, I tried the same leaf on my usual bristol paper. Still no luck. Kiss another day of work goodbye.

Failure #1

Failure #1

Failure #2 (now serving time as a piece of test paper)

Failure #2 (now serving time as a piece of test paper)

It was time to rethink things.

I love working with dark backgrounds because it usually gives things a nice pop. But using colored pencils to create a dark background takes at least ten layers of color and I wanted (needed) to get things moving. I’d heard from another artist that she’d used Derwent Inktense to create her dark backgrounds. Since I happened to have a box of Inktense blocks I figured I give it a try.

The background actually came out pretty cool. The Inktense is more matte than I like so I shined it up by going over it with a black colored pencil. At this point, according to my self-imposed schedule, I’m about a week behind on this drawing. There is no time for error!

Not too bad...

Not too bad…

...until you look a bit closer. Sigh....

…until you look a bit closer. Sigh….

But of course, error there was. I began to work on the first leaf. The half I did actually does look nice and fairly realistic, but against the dark background it just appears dull and flat. Another day lost and I’m starting to get seriously frustrated, not to mention the mounting stress of a ticking clock.

I figured I had three options: 1) keep working on the piece and hope adding in the other leaves and brighter colors brings it to life, 2) complete the piece and, if the dark background still makes the picture look dead, cut it out and lay it over a neutral background, 3) abandon this until I have more time to play with it.

I’m not one for giving up, but I couldn’t face wasting two or three weeks doing Numbers 1 or 2 only to have the damn thing not turn out. So, Number 3 it is. I do hope to get back to this because I absolutely love the colors, but for now there is simply no time for failure or for frustration.

fall leaves, fall color, maple leaf

My nemesis. Curse you, pretty leaves!!!!

A Couple Bright Spots To the Week

This time of year, the mailbox is usually filled with boring stuff like tax forms and flyers from accountants offering their tax services, but Thursday I opened up the mailbox to find a present. It was a gorgeously colored, wire-wrapped pendant made by Abigail Zebrowski who spills put her heart writing some fabulous and very deep words over on her blog, Sidereal Catalyst.

Yay prezzies!!!

Yay prezzies!!!

Another yay moment was finding out someone has taken up the challenge and completed the first  Sketchbook Saturday prompt. As well as cleverly working it into her Friday blog post over on the Beastie Blog, Helen has come with some very cute ways of working circles and spheres into her adorable sketches. You should definitely go check out her work and take a stroll with one of her little Beasties.

How’s your week been? Share your triumphs and tribulations, if you dare!!

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One thought on “And Now It’s Time for Frustration Friday

  1. crawcraftsbeasties says:

    Yaaaay, thanks for your shout-out! And don’t give up on your leaves… We all have frustrating projects that refuse to come together (at least 2 of last year’s commissions immediately spring to mind for me) until the very last minute. Set it aside and press on with something else. Don’t panic, it will work! 😀


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