Monday, August 20, 2012

Failure: Important

Failure: Important:  Lately, I've been painting a lot on canvas.  When I took Cindy Wunsch's class at CREATE in July, she kindly resined all of our canvases.  It looked so amazing.  That layer of resin just made everything all shiny and the colors richer and more intense.  I wanted to try it.

Paul, a sweet friend of my older daughter Mariel, came over to help me do the first piece.  I am always nervous to try something new by myself -- especially if it includes mixing combustible liquids and having to use a blow torch!  Paul's an engineering student with resin experience.  He helped me with a small canvas, and it looked so pretty and seemed so simple, that after he left I decided  to do ALL of my canvases.  The prudent person would have waited for this first one to dry, and assessed the situation.  But one of my mottos could very well be: "Instant gratification takes too long."  So before you could say "take a deep breath and count to ten," I had spread newspaper all over the floor of my studio, and was mixing and pouring away.

Resin is messy -- it is goopy and sticky; it drips and clings.  Having not thought this through, I didn't leave myself a good path for moving around my studio and essentially resined myself into the corner farthest away from the door, trapped by a goopy, sticky mess; by the time I inched my way out, there was resin on the bottom of my shoes, my canvases were resined to the newspaper underneath, and many of my painting supplies, which I hadn't put away, were sticky and gooey.

The next morning, it took me nearly 3 hours to cut away the newspaper from my canvasses with a box cutter and exacto knife.  The good news is that they look SO PRETTY and SHINY!  Also, I learned some valuable lessons:
  1. When instructions say to test out a small area first, test out a small area first.  If you're like me, you have probably had disastrous experiences with hair color because you failed to follow this direction.  Ahhh - when will I every learn?
  2. It is very important to elevate your canvases before applying resin.  The resin will drip and adhere your canvases to whatever is underneath.  Then you will have to spend time cutting the canvas away.  This time would be better spent doing just about anything else!
  3. Use plastic, not newspaper, to protect your surfaces.  The resin that dripped down my canvases went right through the newspaper and glued a lot of it to the floor of my studio.  Now, I have little triangles of shiny, hard newspaper speckling my floor.  
  4. Make sure the area in which you are working is well lit because you need to see the tiny bubbles that rise to the surface of the resin that you must annihilate with your blow torch.  Resining at 1AM with just a desk light doesn't allow you to see these pesky bubbles.
  5. Be patient!  The resin takes about 7 hours to cure.  Poking your finger at your canvas after only an hour because you think the directions must be overstating the drying time will only result in fingerprints and poke-marks on your canvas!
It was very apt that I had recently started an art journal page around two partial newspaper headlines I had cut out:  "Merging Textures" and "Failure: Important."  I learned a lot!  If you decide to resin your work, go to ArtResin first and watch their videos.  I wish I had!

Live in Love: 

Last week, the bulb on my special daylight worklight blew out.  My husband promptly volunteered to go out and get me a new one.  Sometimes I take for granted how sweet he is and how much he supports my creative life.  Right then and there, I told Samy, my 11 year old, "make sure when you get married, it's to a man who will go out and get you a replacement bulb if that means you can keep on painting."  If I ever forget how much he loves me, I have only to look at the carpeting on the stairs and hallways that connect the three floors of our house.  This is my "Freddie loves me" carpeting.  Not many husbands would let their wives do wall to wall leopard!  As a thank you, I made a painting inspired by my kind, sweet, supportive husband. 
I'm linking up to Artists in Blogland, Paint Party Friday, Creative Every Day, Out of the Journal, Inspire Me Monday, and A Year in the Life of an Art Journal, where the theme this week is kindness.   I hope you'll visit some of the links on these pages -- there are so many wonderful artists showing inspiring work.

Thank you for visiting! If you are so moved, please leave a comment. Hearing from you means the world to me.


  1. Love your painting - resin is indeed tricky stuff. Even those who use is quite a lot professionally (& what other way would you use it a lot???) have funny stories to tell. Sounds like you learned a lot!

  2. oh my gosh, i think we might be the same person, lol!!! :) especially in terms of the "impatience" factor, which i really have A LOT of; fortunately i also have a lovely, indulgent, spoils-me husband, which gets me out of trouble more often than i probably deserve! (btw, we have a zebra-print carpet in our living room!!) :)

    absolutely ♥LOVE♥ your journal page (both aesthetically and for the great LESSON for resin and life generally!) and your canvas is gorgeous!!! the "body language" of the sweet love birds is my favorite bit; but really i love the whole thing: the colors, the pattern, the circle of hearts! WOW! ♥

    re HHDL + "kindness"==it's amazing that you said that; i'd actually INTENDED to use the longer version of the quote you mentioned (the one which starts with, "there is no need for temples") and when i looked it up to get it exactly right, i saw the one i wound up using and the wording of it stopped me in my tracks, just thinking of the fact that kindness IS always possible; it's a CHOICE... and one i somehow, embarrassingly, do not always make!!! as with almost everything he says, HHDL just has that very quiet, very *kind* way of reminding one of THE ESSENTIALS!!! ♥♥♥

  3. I love, love, love the bird painting! It is just so very sweet. Thank you for sharing the resin info, I think I'm too impatient for it, but it was good to learn about.

  4. GREAT story! LOL - HAHAHAHA. I'm sure you didn't think it was funny - and may not still...but I don't think I'll ever forget what I just read. Love your love birdies too!

  5. OMG that sounds horrible! But I couldn't help laughing out loud, sorry :-)
    I know the feeling: just doing without thinking because it's fun and ithastobedonerightaway!
    Lovely painting for your husband, he sounds sweet ...

  6. I think after reading about working with resin, I shall not attempt it! I love your canvas. It's so bright and colorful.

  7. Great creation ~ love the effect ~ You are,indeed, blessed with your loving hubby ~ Carol (A Creative Harbor)

  8. Hi

    Thank you for your sweet comments. I didn't mean for my eagle to be scary she just turned out that way ;)

    I smiled reading about your resin adventures and love your work.

    Your husband sounds lovely....


  9. You brought tears to my eyes I was laughing so hard reading about your resin adventures- laughing with you- because I have done all those things with resin. Well, except for the floor part because I sacrificed the floor in my studio years ago so I don't care if things get stuck to it. I never test a small area- that takes way way way too long. And resin- well, let's day I have had multiple finger prints from checking it. Then there was the time I realized how flammable the fumes from some resins are when I let my project on fire during a class. I now do the flames outside and keep a fire extinguisher outside with me too. Awesome painting and the carpet too!

  10. Okay, so I love this post SO much! Thanks for the tips about resin - it makes me TOTALLY want to try it! Bolder, shiny colors, oh my!
    Thank you too for your sweet comment last week - just got back from vacation - so sorry it took me so long to respond ;) xoxo!

  11. Haha, I love your motto about instant gratification. I may adopt that one for myself. Thank you for the great resin tips. Wow, resin wasn't even on my radar before this. But now if I try it, I'll remember your advice :)

    Awww, your hubby is so sweet :) I don't think mine would run out to buy me a light bulb. Your painting is wonderful, and your husband must be proud that he inspired it! (Love the carpet)

  12. Wow this post is packed with wonderful info! Never tried resin for all the above reasons!! I'm afraid I too would have done the exact same thing. I may have watched a video though...but I am not a tester either!!!

    Love the leopard carpet and hubby who lets that happen! My son-in-law would let my daughter have that too!! We have a gypsy pink living room with three of agreeing to love it!! So I understand the artists needs!!

    Nice loving tribute painting for hubby!! Love it!!

    Hugd Giggles

  13. I love your post- reading about your adventures in resin cracked me up. Hmmmmm....shiny pieces of newspaper? sounds like you might have discovered a new technique in the process! if your next canvas has shiny pieces of stuck on newspaper, we'll know you liked the effect! Your painting is so colorful and FUN. I love it!

  14. I love your resin story! I, too, am known for being impatient, and the results are never good!

  15. New territory for me! I didn't know you could put resin on top of a canvas. Won't it crack? Patsy

  16. not worked with resin, you tales did make me chuckle! love the colours in your work. x

  17. Great post! You had me nodding, recognising impatience in myself, and giggling with your observations after working with resin!

    Your lovely husband is a keeper :)

  18. YES! I just resined my first piece over the weekend, and ended up gluing an 8x8 panel to my concrete patio! Ooops! I knew it would be messy, but when I finally chiseled the panel off of the patio, a chunk of concrete came with it, now part of the final piece. Oy.


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