A Lot Like Life…..

Not everything I try comes out perfect the first time. When I have an idea in mind and try and execute that idea it either 1) Comes out exactly how I had planned, 2) comes out better than I had planned or 3) creates frustration and multiple attempts at correction and in the end I just have to deal with it. A lot like life. I’ve actually torn up what others would say was a perfectly good portrait, but to me it wasn’t. I’ve learned over the years to just walk away and often find when I return with fresh eyes, it doesn’t look as bad as I thought. Again, a lot like life. But sometimes, I just can’t walk away and I overwork and overthink a project. This week has been no exception. I’ve honestly lost count at how many times this first piece has been worked on and then sanded down to start over again. Its how ever many times it finally took for my husband to say he wasn’t going to do it again, so I sanded it down the last time. Everything I do is a learning experience for me. Even portraits, which I’ve been doing for years, present their own set of challenges, each one is different. I’ve learned to embrace the challenge because in the end it makes me a better artist…..a lot like life (sorry, I can’t help myself).
I love images that are painted, stained or printed on wood. I’ve had an idea for awhile now to make military flags out of wood. My husband served for 8 years in the WV Army National Guard, he thought it was a pretty cool idea so I asked him to help me. The first wooden flag I stained white, printed out the image and used an image transfer medium to transfer the image. It did not work. It got sanded down and I tried again….and again. There are tons of tutorials on how to transfer images on wood. The biggest challenge was getting an image transferred that didn’t rub off. I tried different combinations of Mod Podge, wax paper, computer paper and photo paper. Finally I found Mod Podge image transfer medium, specifically made to transfer images and it worked the best. This piece still needs to be stained, I’m walking away from it for awhile and coming back to it with fresh eyes.

US Army flag image on wood

I also wanted to see what my portraits would look like on wood. I used Mod Podge image transfer medium to transfer 3 of my portraits onto small wooden plaques. The 2 portraits on the left were printed off on an inkjet printer and the one on the right was done on my laser printer. I actually like the soft, faded look of the inkjet printouts. I like the transparency of the pictures, being able to see the wood through the picture is what I like most about these pieces.

Portraits transferred on wood

And finally, this piece I did awhile ago. It was my first attempt at image transfer. I took a letter my grandma had wrote me, scanned her signature, printed it out and transferred it to a scrap piece of wood and then stained it. I originally wanted to wood burn the signature but then reminded myself I know nothing about wood burning and should probably take a safer approach.

Signature transferred on wood

The one thing I did learn through this project are no two pieces are the same, even when using the same technique. You have to let go of the reigns a bit and just enjoy the process, something I’m still learning to do. How boring would it be if every project turned out just the way I had planned and there were no challenges the entire time?

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