Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why It Is Important To Have A Sense of Humor & Not To Be Precious About Your Art

Last week I was asked to paint a special project  as a promotional tool for a local play. It was a stack of wood in the shape of books and I was to paint them accordingly, like a stack of books.
I went to work diligently for  about a total of fifteen hours, over a period of three days. I know I am rather fastidious, rather obsessive and compulsive when it comes to my egg tempera painting, especially working with lettering, having a drafting background. The  medium lends itself to my personality type, but there can be some pitfalls to this, because I can get too precious about my work. What happened the other day was a good reminder to loosen up, let go and not to take art so seriously. Having a sense of humor about art making is vital.

As artist we all have stories about art that went terribly wrong, and have to come to terms with  this one way or another; hopefully with grace and humor
This is what happened to my most recent art piece. I delivered the completed painting and my artist friend was very pleased with the finished work. I cautioned her that it was egg tempera and susceptible to being easily scratched. She volunteered to varnish it. I agreed this would be a good idea and I thanked her.

Later on that same day I received another message from her. This one rather distressed. She told me she'd retrieved the painted books from her car and brought them into her house. She placed them on her desk in preparation to varnish the work. She left the room, to return twenty minutes later.  Approaching the desk where she had placed the painting, she was shocked to see that the top book cover painting was completely gone, vanished! It was there prior to her placing it on the desk. She then looked at the large furry beast of a canine laying on the floor, (probably licking his chops ). The dog had licked the painting clean off! I felt badly for her because I know she was very upset this had happened. She was not ever expecting her dog to eat a painting, as she was not familiar with egg tempera; the operative word being egg! I was grateful I could laugh about this situation and that I found it all very funny. It made me think
this would be something my big goony,  lovable Coonhound would do, because he'd eat the arse end out of a skunk. Cats love eggs too, I informed her.

Of course my first reaction was to laugh and one of concern that her dog might suffer some ill effects. But I remembered that the paints I used were not toxic unless the powder was inhaled.
I assured her not to worry and I would re-work the cover again and would varnish it myself.

It was a good reminder to me not to get precious about my work and to keep my sense of humor, come what may. Oh and not to let your dog nor your cats near your egg tempera paintings. They think it's edible art!

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