Saturday, September 20, 2008

Experimenting for artistic results

Over the years I've learned that if you want to try new methods in your work it's best to do a bit of non-critical experimentation first. By non-critical I mean that a experimental mistake right on your work could ruin a whole canvas or sculpture that you've worked on for days.

If you'd like to see an example of a simple experimental process, I have one I've been working on here on my website's WIP page, it involves LS transfers but it doesn't matter what method or medium you're experimenting with, the process is much the same. 

The most important aspect of experimenting is to write down the steps you've taken as you go...I also photograph them. I just did 4 samples this morning but there was some slipping and sliding and if I hadn't written down the location of each one I might have gotten them mixed up. I learned from experience that if you don't keep careful notes you probably just wasted a lot of time if you can't remember exactly how you got the effect you wanted on only one out of several pieces.  

It seems like a lot of work, but really it's mostly fun. There's lots of anticipation and yes, disappointments too, but some times you get lucky and not only get what you want but find some happy accidents that stretch you in even more directions. And since you usually work on a very small scale when experimenting you are not wasting a lot of medium and material, and even better, you didn't lose an important piece because something didn't work out. 

And the best part...sometimes tedious exercises beget great creativity because you are freed from the worry of something going wrong while you're working :)

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