Five Truths
Inspiration in Provincetown

Second Floor Challenge #6: Use a Pencil


Today is the sixth Second Floor challenge!  Are you ready to take it to the second floor?  What does that mean?  It means trying something vastly out of your comfort zone.  Doing something that might not work.  Experimenting with a crazy idea.  It's all about pushing yourself.  If it works, awesome.  If it doesn't work, awesome!

The challenge this time around is to use a pencil.  Whatever that means to you or however it inspires you.  The prompt is simply meant to get you started.  The level of challenge you aim for is entirely internal and up to you.

Click here to see what Nat did.

As for me, I made this:

Let me take you on the journey that led me there!

I started with a water soluble pencil.  (I've been playing with the Prismacolor Medium 4B Watersoluble Graphite Pencil.)  I wanted to see how it would go mixing a watersoluble pencil with watercolor paints.  Here's the result:

I loved the pod with the lines.  So I decided to carve a pod stamp.  Here's the result:

This just felt very controlled and stiff to me, especially compared to the original.  But I loved the stamp.  So I decided to carve some pod variations. 

And then I stamped them in a jumble to create this wonderful overall pattern:

I love it! 

Here's what I'm taking away from this challenge:

  • Follow the shiny ball.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, the best way to create art is without agenda.  Like a magpie I simply follow whatever is shiny (i.e. exciting to me) and see where I end up.
  • Don't get mired in "the rules."  At heart I am a rule follower.  I've lived most of my life coloring inside of the lines and trying to do it "right."  I had a brief moment of panic over the fact that my final project didn't use a pencil and then I realized it didn't have to.  It's a toss up as to whether this makes me a rule breaker or whether the directions on this challenge have enough wiggle room to allow my no-pencil project.  In the end, does it matter?
  • Black and white is so powerful.  I am a color junkie, but I also love the absence of color.  It really allows the viewer to focus on the design -- the shapes, the empty spaces, and so on.
  • I'm beginning to understand the power of working in a series.  I've always portrayed myself as an impatient artist.  I like things that can be done quickly and I've always thought of a series as deeply time consuming.  And yet, I have a series in this challenge: the pod shape (a shape I've been chasing for years) -- from watercolor to stamped watercolor to stamped variations.  I would like to push myself to keep chasing that pod and see what develops.
  • Taking breaks is important.  I didn't create all three art pieces in one sitting, which I often do because I'm a binge creator.  Instead, I did each one and then came back later with new eyes.  I think the leaps I was able to take between each piece is due to this marination period.
  • I think I've internalized "taking it to the Second Floor."  We're only six challenges in and I already feel like it's translating into my other work.  I feel myself taking more risks whenever I sit down to create.  Perhaps that means it's time for me to push a little bit harder on each of these challenges.  Am I playing it safe?
  • Linoleum Carving blades do get dull!  I've been using the same linoleum carving tool for many many years.  I recently got a new one and wow!  I hadn't realized that my blade was dull until I started cutting through the rubber like a hot knife cuts through butter!

And all that from a simple thought: "I wonder what would happen if I mixed watercolor with a watersoluble pencil?"

If you'd like to leave a link showing off what you did in response to this challenge, here's the linky list:

Thanks for stopping by!


P.S. It was pointed out to me that I forgot to pick a winner of the Flower Piecing stencil in 6x6 and 12x12.  So congratulations to...

Send me your mailing address Cathy and I'll make sure that those stencils get out to you!