Friday, April 4, 2008

Finishing a Series: Harder than it Looks

This is my short three piece series of blue and white pottery. I have to say that doing this commissioned series of 3 pieces was much harder than I thought it would be. Now, of course, with it all done, I'm thrilled that I did it, but there were points where I wanted to quit. This post is a summary of the things I learned, hopefully giving you a heads up if you are thinking of doing a series.

Things I Learned about Doing a Series (that perhaps I should have foreseen):
  • It's harder than you might think to finish a series!
  • Repetition breeds contempt. What you thought was awesome and profound on the first one, seems cheesy and gimmicky by the second or third time.
  • It's easy to start doubting your ability.
  • It's easy to get bored and be desperate to get on to something else.
  • It's almost always easier to quit than to finish anything.
Next Time I Think about a Series, I'll consider:
  • Whether I want to have the stamina to finish it. (Notice that I believe it is a choice, a few days ago it didn't feel like a choice, until I forced myself to finish. Now I see it was a choice.)
  • Plan it out - with details. Think through all the pieces before I start, maybe even get all the references.
  • Whether all my pieces would stand on their own, or if I'm giving them too much slack because they complete the project.

Things I learned about Pastelbord (this is where I was really dumb!):
  • I should not have started doing the series on a support that I hadn't ever completed a piece on. Yes, I was dumb, but I liked it so much at the beginning!
  • It's a forgiving support, but not an erasable one. Don't try out compositions on it, you'll end up wasting it.
  • Polychromos went on nicer than Lyra Rembrandts.
  • Certain colors almost went chalky on it and covered very well. Other colors were ridiculously hard to get completely on.
  • IMHO, white pastelbord has nothing on more traditional CP supports, I don't think I'll use it again.
What I Liked about the Pastelbord and Why I'll Use It Again:
  • Somehow it just seems more professional on a board than on paper.
  • It is forgiving in many ways.
  • The tinted support holds promise, I just need to work out exactly how to use it to my advantage.
  • CPs don't really seem like CPs, they seem more like paint. I certainly found it easier to achieve a painterly feel.
All in all, a great experience. I'm thrilled I did it and pleased with the results, off they go to their new home.


S.G. Chipman said...

Your series looks great!

+1 on the white pastelbord - I disliked it a lot too. I can't quite put my finger on the difference between it and its sand/gray/green cousins, but there certainly is one.

Rose Welty said...

Thanks Steve.

I'm not sure the difference either, but it's certainly a harsh white.

Ann said...

Your series looks terrific! You should be pleased :)

I think that's why I like working on pastel board, because it does feel more like a painting than a drawing process. Satisfies the painter in me. When I use cp on paper it's a whole different experience for me.

Stacy said...

Rose, I wandered over here from Jeanette's blog (Illustrated Life). I appreciate your insight on doing a series of work. I have several series in mind, and I believe your thoughts will help me when I get down to work.

I was also interested in your thoughts on the white pastelbord. I used the sage green on one (almost finished) cp piece and really enjoyed it. In fact, I bought a few more tinted boards for a series I have in mind. Given your comments, I don't think I'll be rushing out to try the white. Of course, I don't have a lot of experience with cp on board or paper, so I probably would attribute any difficulties to my lack of practice. :)

Rose Welty said...

Stacy, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad the series post was helpful. I was rather surprised at how discouraged I got in the middle of it, that was what prompted me to write the post.

And the white pastelbord, I'm not sure what makes it less likable. For me, I rather like the tinted support, I think it is easier to get away with less coverage with a tinted support. So, I don't know if the white just comes through more, being bright. Or, possibly, the sand/grey/green ones are all muted colors, the white is not, and perhaps that is it. Or maybe it's the chemicals in the dye...And of course, I'm not an expert on CPs either, so it might be me!

Robyn said...

Congratulations, Rose. I know nothing about pastelboard but I do know how difficult it is to finish a series - because I never have ;) A commission for not one, but three paintings is a wonderful tribute. They stand up very well on their own too and I particularly love that middle one.

Great work!

Rose Welty said...

Thanks Robyn, you've brought a smile to my face.

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, congratulations on this series! Very nice. Did you "fix" them or are they under glass?

I like the first one! :)

Lovely work on all.