Thursday, January 14, 2010

Experimenting

I don't have any pictures to post yet. I just want to document my thoughts on my next venture. When I started blogging, almost 2 years ago, I viewed this as a way to journal my thoughts, processes, and artistic growth. It has become so much more than that and I am delighted beyond my wildest dreams that it has. Thank you, all of my artistic/blogging friends, for giving me that gift.

Last night I started work on a new design. I have several that have been 'floating' around in my head and knew I needed to get to work on them.

As I was talking with Dan this morning, we were laughing about my expectation that things should turn out perfect on my first attempts. The logical part of me knows that is unrealistic. And when experimenting with new ideas, I know I'm going to have failures until I figure out how things should be done. In spite of that knowledge, I still have this unrealistic expectation that it should just turn out right the first time. And this has become a source of humor in the Krucoff household, because that is just not how it works.

During the course of my experiments last night I had about 5 failures. Each one kept me thinking about how I could approach this. Since nothing was permanent yet, because I hadn't fused anything, I could wash off my glass and start over. I like that. And with each attempt, I was learning something. That's good, right? I finally reached the point where I needed to stop, back away from the glass, and leave the studio. Frustration was growing and I hit that point where I wasn't making any progress. I'm happy I realize that about myself and it does pay off to just leave the area and go do something else. That relaxes my brain and frees it with a diversion. Subconsciously my mind is working on the solution and it will bubble up to the surface.

The way my mind processes information, this morning as I got up, I think the solution came to me. It's a much easier approach than the ones I was trying last night, which is great! So I will try again tonight with my morning revelation. If successful, I'll have several 'experiments' to put in the kiln and see if these new designs are as nice as I envision them to be.

So what exactly am I working on? A few new things. One involves some graceful lines created with a combination of mica and frit. Another involves more of an arts & crafts look (I'm such a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright). And one of the last ones for this go round came from our Fall trip to Rocky Mountain National Park....of course, there are Aspen leaves involved with this one.

My question for each of you is, how realistic are you about your expected outcomes as you try something new? Do you find it takes a number of iterations before you get things the way you want? I think I know how some of you will answer. Yet, it helps me to grow as you generously share your thoughts about your process. Thanks!

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

18 comments:

steiderstudios said...

I have to laugh at how similar we are Kathleen, I also expect my ideas to come out of the kiln as perfectly as they appear in my visions. This is how our series evolve. By the time I've worked out all the kinks and have perfection (or I should say my ideal) I'm bored and move on to the next assignment I've given myself.

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hey Linda. This is great! Your article in the latest issue of Glass Craftsman is what got me thinking I needed to do these experiments for my new concepts. Test on small pieces, if they work, I can use them, if not, no problem it's just a small experiment. And I find I get bored too and have to move on to the next challenge. Our similarities are very interesting and I can understand how they contribute to our growing friendship. Thanks!!!

Sheila said...

Good for you Kathleen for having such a healthy and ultimately productive view of developing a new technique.

I think you also gave some validity to the old adage to "sleep on it" when you're stuck.

I think whenever anyone tries something beyond their comfort zone into something more challenging, you should expect to make mistakes along the way. How else are you going to find out how far you can go?

I just wish I could wash off the paint like you wash off glass and start with a clean canvas.

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Sheila! Thanks. I agree with you, we are going to make mistakes as we try something new, all part of the learning process. Thanks for sharing!

-Don said...

Alright, Kathleen... Now who's the tease? :-P I can't wait to see your experiments/new works of art!

I think you know how I respond when things aren't going right. I've documented it pretty well recently. I EXPECT perfection immediately. When it doesn't happen I start throwing things and crying like a baby! Well, not exactly... But, I do step away from it, digest it, stew over it and then come back to it. Sometimes the answer is forthcoming, sometimes not. That's a nice thing about acrylics, you can paint over it if you hate it enough.

Now, it's back to MY latest experiment. Whew, I'll be glad when I get it finished!!!

-Don

Kathleen Krucoff said...

LOL Don, you are too funny! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As always, I enjoy your take on things and it's nice to dangle a little carrot of things to come here too! :D

SCJ Jewelry Design said...

I sometimes think of myself and my experiments as making me the "Queen of Failures". I always hope for perfection, but rarely achieve it - yet.
When something isn't working out, I tend to put it aside for a loooong time. I have one piece that I started over a month ago and ruined it on it's last solder. I hate re-making things, so I feel I need to come up with a different design for the stone now, even though I loved the original design I had planned. Too much work down the drain on that one and it would be too frustrating for me to re-do it. I'm a big baby that way. My way or no way at all.

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Sandy,

Thank you for sharing. You know, I have seen some beautiful work of yours...in fact I am the proud owner of a few pieces. We learn from each failure and you have grown as a jewelry artist...I've seen it. Remember what Lexi says, "It's only metal". The next time you work on that piece that didn't make it the first go round, I'm certain you will find something even better in the new design... and maybe that is how it was meant to be. Hugs, Kathleen

Janelle Goodwin said...

THANKS for bring this topic up for discussion. I can relate to expectations going south when trying a new technique. In fact, it seems I'm always experimenting and the learning curve is always higher than I expected. The term "sleep on it" has much wisdom in it's meaning. You're so right, saying the subconscious works on problems when we're sleeping. I've experienced answers upon waking many times.

I'm looking forward to seeing your new works (I'm a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and aspen leaves!)

Melinda said...

This is an excellent post. You've made some very important points!

We can be brutal as critiques and I believe that every "failed" work is prelude to a successful one. Your taking a break to allow for some brain rest is important too.

For me, knowing that I can scrape away paint is a big factor in relaxing the critic! Almost everything we do is experimental, yes? So, there are going to be some happy, and not so happy, outcomes. I get get a little bored with the same image, not wanting to make many iterations. However, it's good to re-visit the image after some time away, I think.

Best wishes with your journey! Your work is lovely and I enjoyed looking at all of it!

P. S. I started out in stained glass a long time ago. When I moved over into painting, it was a bit difficult for me to allow for failure as I was so sensitive (still) to the cost of glass, and subsequently, paint.

Shay Stone said...

Hey Kathleen:) Well, as you know my medium is wire so it's not quite the same as making a mistake in a setting with a stone. You also know that I am a sister perfectionist, so I absolutely get frustrated with how things are going. I suppose the one different thing is that I usually don't have an initial design in mind, so even though it isn't feeling "right" as I'm making it, I can usually head in a different direction and make it work. If I use the example of when I'm painting or drawing and I'm trying to do something realistic, I can get very upset and mad when it doesn't turn out. Sometimes taking the black paint and brushing it over the painting in angry swipes! Hmm.. I think I'm maybe 2 years old? lol...
I take a break, then I start again:)

Kathleen Krucoff said...

You're welcome Janelle. It's nice to know you've experienced the same results from "sleeping on it".

Hi Melinda, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate know your thoughts on things too and how cool you started out in stained glass. Your paintings are wonderful and I'm happy I found your blog earlier today. Thank you for your compliments about my work too.

Hi Shay! Yes, your medium is wire and you have tremendous skill with it. I find it interesting that you do not start out a specific design in mind too...I did that with my wraps and I can tell you I have a scrap pile of wire cages that didn't turn out just as I wanted. :) Your work is so beautiful, you definitely achieve a mastery in your wire wrapping. Great skill and work my friend. Thanks for sharing on this topic too!

Karen said...

I'm totally unrealistic, because the image in my mind is always far ahead of what my hand can do. It's like you said, intellectually I know this, but it still frustrates me sometimes. Then the good ones come out of the blue sometimes.

lorilandisart said...

Thank goodness I experiment in acrylics through texture, substrates and adding mixed media. Frankly I get lost in the whole process. With acrylics I can paint over and over. Less costly.

Susanne said...

Hi Kathleen,
I think you write really well and your blog is aways interesting with a really personal feel to it. It's funny how the old saying 'to sleep on it' really works. I also find that as I get tired I start making mistakes. It's amazing how the mind can go to work while we sleep and then come up with the answer or solution, overnight. I'm looking forward to seeing the result of these new experiments. I see you like frank Lloyd Wright. Have you read Loving Frank? A friend just gave me a copy.

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Karen!

Yes, that whole transferring what's in my head to the creation process can be a challenge. You do it so well though and I have a chance to enjoy one of your works every time I'm in my studio! :D

Hi Lori!

Thank you so much for sharing. I am fascinated by the various painting processes.


Hi Susanne ~

Always good to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words about my writing and my blog.

You are so right, getting tired contributes to the failures too. Isn't it funny how we fight things we know about? Seems to be a common thread with everyone's remarks.

No I haven't read the book you mentioned about FLW. I'm off to Amazon to check it out. Thank you for letting me know about it.

Deborah Younglao, Silk Painter said...

Like you Kathleen, I go through a zillion iterations of ideas both in my head and in the studio. THere are never enough hours in the day to try all the things i want to try. I feel like I'm forever searching, forever experimenting, forever learning. Can't wait to see the out come of your present experiments!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

I loved hearing your learning process, and felt that lots of it sounded familiar. Especially I resonated with the part where you wake up with a solution after having abandoned it all in frustration. The rested brain is a marvelous organ!

I had to let go of a lot of the expectations about the ending point of my projects so that I could enjoy the rest of the creative process. I do love the process! Thanks for sharing that toughest part of the life of an artist!