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This has turned out to be quite possibly my favorite experiment of all.  And to think I nearly didn't go back to these flags.  I almost gave them up as a failed experiment.

So, how did I turn a failure into something wonderful?  First, I left it alone for awhile.  As I mentioned in the last post, I did leave the background fabric paper on my work desk so I would see it as I went by (I only actually work there now and again--sometimes it's just a good, horizontal surface).

After looking at the backgrounds for awhile, I wrote a little bit about what I wanted the flags to do for me.  I want them to remind me of the things I am calling into my life.  I want them to remind me and inspire me.

Finally, I looked again at some traditional Tibetan prayer flags.  This time, I was struck not so much by the colors as by the fact that they have writing on them.  And there was my answer.  My flags needed writing.

So, I wrote some affirmations and mantras across the backgrounds and then glued down my images.  I did choose a different image for the "moving" flag.  I just got new hiking boots, and they seemed like the perfect choice.

And here they are:

It ended up being a simple and quick fix.  It just needed some time to percolate up to the surface, and now I have exactly what I wanted.  Experiment: successful!

Here are individual shots of the flags:

And since I forgot yesterday was Sunday (these three day weekends always get my days mixed up for me), I will see you tomorrow with this week's experiment.

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We really aren't, at least most of us aren't.  Not if we're the creative sort.  We creatives tend to accumulate stuff.  And things.  Piles of materials, tools, books and articles with ideas.  And UFOs--Un-Finished Objects.

I have one UFO in particular that's nagging at me.  You might know the one--the prayer flag experiment that didn't quite get off the ground.  I think this one is particularly persistent in its nagging because I had some ideas I was really excited about for it.  So this week, I'm going to finish the prayer flags.

I've been thinking about them since the original experiment.  I even left the fabric paper I made sitting out so I could keep looking at it and getting ideas for it:

And I think I know what I'm going to do with these backgrounds to actually create my flags.  I'm really excited to get back to this and get these flags hanging in my studio!

See you this weekend with a finally finished flag project!

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At first I thought the hardest part of this week's experiment was going to be choosing what colors to use.  Then I started playing with color combinations, and I found that I really tend to drift back to matching colors.  So I went and got myself a color wheel to help me pick a color scheme:

I was going to go the easy route and choose complementary colors to play with.  And then I saw something too fun to pass up--split complementary colors.  Of course, this didn't actually make the process easier because now I had three colors to play with rather than just two, but I was quite enamored of this idea so I had to go with it.

I finally chose a wonderful citron green as my main color.  The split tertiaries ended up being a violet and a pink.  Here's what I ended up with:

And another view of it so you can get a better look at the green-on-green flower shape:

I really like the color scheme I chose, even though the green-on-green turned a tiny bit muddy.  I did notice that working with three colors means there's more fiddling involved to get a good balance.  At first, I didn't have any of the pink tones off around the text box.  Something was definitely off, and I had to add a bit at a time until I got enough of the pink in to make the piece look balanced.  Then I noticed that the left edge still didn't look quite right, and I realized that I didn't have any of the purple tones there, so I added the purple dots.

One other thing I learned is that starting out with just a color scheme and no design in mind leads to an entirely different thought process while I'm creating.  Usually I have some sort of design in mind, and I get started creating it, and I just move along until it's finished.  This process was much slower.  I had to stop and just look at the piece several times while considering my next move.  It's not quite as meditative as putting beads on an embroidery, but it was a pleasant, relaxing way to work.

This week's experiment was really good--I'm feeling really happy with what I've discovered.  I had no idea the color wheel could be a decision making device, for one thing.  That's going to be quite useful for me, because I tend to be a little indecisive.  But I'm also pleased with what I learned from jumping into a project without an outcome in mind.  I will definitely work this way again when I want some relaxation and play time.

I hope you give yourselves the chance to play a bit this way.  Feel free to share what you've come up with.

See you Tuesday for the next round.

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Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to make some color boards based on the one I saw on the ARTchix blog.  I've thought about it a bit since writing about it, but I haven't actually done anything.  Yesterday, I stopped and asked myself why.  Or rather, why not.  I think I'm not doing it because it's outside of my norm.  I think I might be stuck in a box with my creative pursuits.  Maybe more than one box!  The good thing is, if you're stuck in a box, you can get yourself out.

We talk about being boxed in and thinking outside the box a lot, and we tend to talk about it as if someone put us in that box.  I don't think that's how I got here, though.  I think I ended up putting my creative works into boxes because I found things I like to do, and I got comfortable.  Comfortable isn't bad, of course, but it doesn't usually lead to much in the way of growth and inspiration.

So, how do I get out of my comfy box?  It's important to sometimes look at your work and consciously think about directions you can stretch in.  Ask yourself, "What don't I normally do?" "What is my norm?" "What can I do to stretch outside that norm?"  And then answer your questions.  And then do those things that will help you stretch.

In reading the ARTchix blog, I realized that one thing I tend to do in a lot of my art is stay within one color palette.  I might add a bit of other colors here and there, but for the most part I tend to do all pinks or blues or purples or reds.  So this week, I'm going to use the ARTchix color wheel experiments and make something bright and colorful and outside my norm!

I'm also planning on doing some writing about boxes and breaking out of them over on my personal creativity blog in case you want to follow this idea further.

Anyone else want to break out of the "norm box" with me?  Let me know what you're planning, and we can cheer each other on.

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I really pushed myself for this photo shoot, and it was really worth it.  I think it's important to stretch yourself for your art; sometimes you need to stretch yourself physically.  That's what I did today, going for a longer walk than I intended, one I wasn't sure I could actually finish, and I got some great photos as a reward.

I only took twenty photos because I forgot to charge my camera battery, but nineteen of those turned out really great.  It's been a challenge trying to pick which three I will use for this project, but here they are.

First, a very cool purple flower in someone's front yard:

And then this.  I'm not sure what the flower is--I'm not very good with plant identification--but I loved the contrast of the bright red flower draped on the concrete:

And finally, this glorious burst of orange:

I'm feeling so infused with color now!  I want to create something with that orange especially, but the red and purple are going to show up in something pretty soon, I'm sure.  Adventures far from home can be inspiring and wonderful, but today really shows what you can find practically in your own backyard.

So, what's blooming in your neighborhood right now?  I'd love to hear what's inspiring you today.

See you Tuesday for the next installment.

P.S.--For anyone interested in seeing all of today's photos, click here.

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I'm excited about this week's experiment.  (I know, aren't I always?)  I've been meaning to go out for a walk with my camera, and I keep putting it off.  This week, ARTchix is giving me a perfect excuse.

On their blog this week, they're having a photo contest called "What's Blooming in Your Neighborhood?" (You'll need to scroll down a bit--the post has quite a few segments, but it's all lots of fun.)  I'm pretty sure I can get some cool photos near to home.  A couple of years ago, I got this one right in my front yard:

It's a close up of some Queen Anne's Lace.

While you're checking out that blog post, scroll down a bit further and look at the segment on complimentary colors.  I'm going to play around with this some.  I might create a small journal to make several of the sample boards in a variety of color combinations.  It looks useful, but most of all it looks fun!  I'll probably post some of the results as I go along over at my WordColors blog, if you want to follow along.

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This is the week that reminds me that experimenting, by its very nature, leads to some failures.  I was really stressed out about that yesterday and part of today, but then I realized that *this* is what we, as artists, are aiming for.  Not failure, not per se.  We are aiming at constantly reaching and stretching and pushing at our boundaries.

I contemplated throwing something together just so I'd have "real" results to give you on the flag experiment.  But I think just sharing that they didn't quite work out is a better choice.  This will happen to us as artists.  It should happen.  It means we're really doing the work we want to do.  So, something gone a bit awry?  Good!  It means you're moving forward in your work.   It means you're exploring uncharted creative territory.  And sometimes when you're adventuring, you're going to slip and sprain something.

So, this week I have a sprained ego.  And flags that are not coming out at all as I planned.  Some of this is because I was short on time due to a fraying problem in an art swap piece.  Some of it is due to procrastination--it's one of my main areas of expertise.  A lot of it is due to things just not quite coming out the way I saw them in my head.  I also think this project might have been a little too ambitious for completing in one week.

I'm not giving up on the flags at all.  I just don't have enough of anything useful put together at this point to show, nothing I can actually call a flag.  I will get them done because I really love the idea, and when I do I'll post pictures.  Meanwhile, here are the central images I'm using.

I decided on three flags.  I wanted five.  For the first part of the week, I really tried to make five ideas happen.  But three was the magic number.  My three wishes revolve around writing, moving and dancing, and being spiritual.

For writing:

For moving:

And for praying or being spiritual:

See you tomorrow with the next, not quite so ambitious, project announcement.

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Just a quick note...the flags are going to be a day or two late due to catastrophic failure on another project that is supposed to be sent out tomorrow.  Sigh... experiments don't always go as planned, I know, but when they go wrong it's never easy.  I always find myself upset and frustrated.  I guess that's all part of the process.

Anyhow, I'll be posting my flags very soon.  See you then!

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Over the past few years, I keep returning to the idea of making prayer flags similar to Tibetan prayer flags.

Photo by Nico van Geldere http://www.sxc.hu/profile/vangeldere
Photo by Nico van Geldere http://www.sxc.hu/profile/vangeldere

I have in mind something like wish flags more than prayers, although in so many ways they are the same.  I am going to make a set of flags to put my creative wishes and intentions out into the Universe to help me make them real.

I hope you'll try this, too.  I don't have an exact plan on how I'm going to put these together, but here are some ideas in case you want to try some:

  • Fabric Paper as a background
  • Decorative Paper as a background, especially rice paper or other flexible, strong paper with visible fibers
  • Painted cloth or decorative cloth as a background

How you decorate the front will depend on what background you use, but the usual paint and glued images or papers should work very well.  I'm also going to put something on the back--poems or prayers or wishes--so I'll probably use glued on paper for that part.

Send me links if you try this!  See you this weekend with the results.

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