I signed up for a swap, yeah, I know, what the heck was I thinking, but it was a group of really cool women, some whom I knew and others who I wanted to know. I was flattered to be asked so, even though I have like a zillion things on my plate, I said yes. I mean we're all busy, right? They are busy too and they are doing it. Plus it's only 13 months. Ha, ha, ha.....right.....
The projects are masks and last week was the week to mail our first project. Naturally I had waited until the last possible moment to work on mine.
I had encaustics on the brain, partly because I am taking Judy Wise's class and partly cause I just love the wax. So I got this brilliant idea to paint my mask with encaustic pigment. I've never done a 3 dimensional piece, but lack of knowledge (or experience) typically never stops me. This can be a good trait or an incredibly stupid one depending on your vantage point.
The mailing date came and went. I persisted with more layers of wax. I carved, used oil sticks, painted, tried all the tricks I knew. But remained incredibly frustrated and uptight with my work. Angry even, I will just admit it since I am trying to be honest here.
Finally I gave it up and stopped. Period. Put her under my table.
Grabbed another substrate and decided to collage. I pawed through my box and found some really cool hand painted tissue paper. I loved the way the paper had turned out and had been saving it for some unknown project. I tore smallish pieces and started gluing it to my mask. I added some tar around the edges. Painted the lips, added a little eyebrow texture with Wood Icing. Put it up on the wall and pronounced it done. It was that easy.
Looking back at the encaustic mask(which is still under my table), I don't hate it as much as I did last week. What a compliment, huh? And I do want to try again because I still love the concept.
My question for you is why oh why are we so hard on ourselves? Artists seem to be their own worst critics. I frequently point this out to my students and urge them to be gentle with themselves. A lesson I definitely need to take to heart, huh?