Making a complete piece of art, for me, is a four step process (give or take). When I say complete piece I mean something I would be willing to either sell or hang on my own wall; this doesn’t count the dozens of half-finished, slightly mangled pieces I have hidden away in my art storage areas (aka my coffee table, etc.).
It’s toss up as to whether the first or second step is the hardest for me. At any given time I have a to-do list of about 30+ ideas to put on paper. Picking a an idea and sticking with it through fruition is always a challenge. Choosing the subject of the piece is either simple (then made difficult by indecision), or difficult (because I spend time worrying about the second part): drawing. My drawing skill is fair, but I’m always concerned with my ability to represent what is in my head. The drawing process is made more complicated when you consider that whatever I am drawing will be reversed when I flip the paper over. If conceptualizing that is too much for me I will sketch my piece out on tracing paper and transfer it too the paper I’ll be cutting on. Drawing the piece takes a long time, but I am constantly trying to take short cuts by cutting before the drawing is complete. Ninety-nine percent of the time this a mistake.
When my drawing is ready the cutting begins. This is my favorite part (obviously). Even when mistakes are made, I still love the feeling of progress through a piece. I do have a “4 mistakes rule = time to rest” rule, however.
The final and very involved step is the framing process. I am very lucky to have a framing studio of sorts in my parent’s basement (where I do not live). This is where all my frames and materials live. I’d love to say I finish a piece, pop over to the “studio,” pick a backing, and toss it in a frame. That is so rare. I usually struggle to find the proper frame because choosing one before I draw and cut never works out for me. I consider the backing (which can consist of several layers), matting, and framing to be an integral part of the work. It cannot be reframed or reimagined, in my opinion. This is a process that can take hours, maybe days, for one piece. I’m lucky to have processional “opinionaters” in my husband, dad, and whoever might swing by. My mom who bears with me, assists my through the last step of the four-part process, and puts in the final nails, is an integral player.
Below are some “in the works” pictures of pieces already assembled, shown, and sold.