Thursday, November 12, 2009

Having the Blues

When I first started working with polymer clay, I tried really hard to get the colors I wanted using the colors in the clay, mixing them. And using the liquid polymer clay with colors and powders mixed in. And sometimes I had a breakthrough with the clay and figured out some ways of working with its colors.

But I had trouble getting the shades and values I wanted, and the subtle color changes. The layering and the fading, the worn look.

I hesitated to use acrylics to paint onto the polymer clay "blanks" that I made.

Somehow that felt like cheating, taking a shortcut. Not proper.

No matter how hard I tried I really couldn't seem to get the look I saw in my mind's eye.

I really admire folks who work with polymer clay that way, blending and mixing the clay's own colors to get the look they seek. That must be very satisfying and exciting.

Finally I got off my soapbox with myself, and started using acrylic paint, just as if I was painting on paper or canvas. Like on this little tag, for a handbag or carryon luggage, or for a charm to hang on something. The blues and greens appearing and fading, the hint of wear and time on the reverse side.

I decided it was NOT cheating, it was just another way of getting a look. The look I wanted. Therefore, it was proper and acceptable, another way of working.

Do you ever get hung up on "the right way" to do things and hold yourself back from trying something?

I hope I'm not the only one that struggles with these questions... it's often so liberating to cut the bindings and just plow ahead!


mairedodd said...

what you do and the effects you create takes talent, creativity and dedication to your craft... i for one am quite glad you stopped torturing yourself with a self-imposed standard... each time i see one of your pieces i am a bit in awe...
as for me... i left that person behind as well... i have happily come across things i wasn't looking for in my mistakes... but grateful that i found them...

Adventures with Millie Making Jewelry said...

OMG...I love this pendent! This piece has such wonderful texture, colors and tones! I'm just learning about polymer clay techniques (have yet to try it myself) and find it a fascinating go girl!

SummersStudio said...

I get hung up like this all the time Lynn. There is a 'proper' way to do everything in ceramics. But I've come to think that it is important to understand, even become competent, in the 'proper' way and then bend the technique and experiment. I think it is that way with polymer or any other discipline. I love your work, Lynn, and I'm happy you do things the way you do them. Makes them uniquely identifiable as LLYYNN.

Marie Cramp said...

I find that you need to always think of other ways to get the look you want. There is no right or wrong way to get there and trial and error is a great teacher. I love the worn look you create on your art, you have truly achieved what you intended and it looks wonderful :)


TesoriTrovati said...

I am not sure why you would think it was "cheating" as if there were some polymer clay police out there who would bust down your door and tell you to cease and desist working this medium!!!
I love the look you achieve. And I know I am not alone.
That piece I just made, with your mixed media soldered pendant? That chain link was supposed to b emy attempt at following Scott David Plumlee's flower chain maille. I kept failing miserably. Until I cut myself some slack and decided that it was more about the final effect than whether I could master that technique. I will try that again, with the proper materials (I think the jump rings weren't the right size for that pattern). It is sobering to give yourself some room to play and grow while still challenging yourself to make the vision in your head a reality. Thanks for the inspiration, Lynn! Enjoy the day! Erin

Jenny Davies-Reazor said...

Your colors and finishes are beautiful. Can I ask - after the acrylic paint are they sealed? coated? I am a ceramics person, not a polymer person, and was curious...

The Joy of Nesting said...

Greetings Dear Lynn!!!!!

We have finally returned home from our trip to the States!! I am so humble and greatful for the beautiful package you sent!!!! You know I find all of your work so incredible, and the pieces you sent were all that and more!!!! Today was unpacking, laundry, puting all our treasures away and catching up with 2 weeks of emails!!! Virtually no internet for the whole time we were gone :( I can't wait till I can sit down and play with my new treasures. Your pieces always are so full of inspirations!!! I received all sorts of complements an your pewter pieces I used in my jewelry, while in the States :)

Once again thank you so much dear friend for your thoughtfulness!!
Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mx.

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

I'm just now getting back to this, Friday at the day job was a blur of hectic-ness but it's all good now!

I think I might have been my own "polymer police" and inner critic, with "RULES" for myself - so I just stopped listening to the critic by thinking of something else, like when I'm at the dentist, LOL.

The polymer has a lovely natural sheen if you sand, polish and buff, I don't use purchased glazes.

Welcome back, PATTIE! It must be great to be on the home front again.