Wow! I cannot believe four months have passed since my last post. Not only was I in a rut with my artwork but my blog suffered. I greatly apologize to those who have faithfully followed my progress. My valentine is finally completed.
I have decided to rename this valentine, however. I liked Starshine; it seemed right for the pattern. But while working on this piece I spent many hours reflecting on things; my life, my abilities and talents, on those around me. I guess I just lost my focus. So, I’m naming it Reflections.
There are sixteen types of shells plus mustard seeds, squilla claws, fine sand, and polished goldstone. The design I started with was maintained throughout. I did make some alterations in the shells, however. In my next Valentine, I will think twice before using crushed shells as a background. Fine sand makes a better backing. The shells lay nicer, I think. Perhaps if I am just using flowers the crushed shells would be good but not in a pattern like this.
While working on this valentine, I did study other valentines from my book. Many of them left the wood bare. Some backgrounds were paint covered and there were even some covered with fabric. I guess I need to stress less on the wood and spend more time tweaking my shell placements.
In the earlier post, I explained that I used fine sand in the center. I was afraid it may not be enough of backdrop, but I think anything more would have overpowered the flower. I had already glued the crushed shell when I applied the sand. The sand makes a finer layer than the crushed shells, so I guess it would depend on the pattern you opt to use. My advice would be to lay a section out on scrap wood. That way you would have a better idea what will work in your project.
I can safely say I may put this in my shop, but I don’t think I will sell it. For one thing, I can see the flaws. Maybe they wouldn’t be such a major issue to some – shells are not perfectly identical. But they stand out to me. Overall, I am impressed with the way the colors match and flow together. So it isn’t that I don’t think the valentine is valuable. It may sound funny, but I think there is a piece of me attached to it. The pattern stands out beautifully and I think the dyed yellow cup shells provided the perfect contrast for the shades of purple and white. The completed piece reflects my vision beautifully. I am very proud of this valentine. I have some other pieces I need to complete, then I think I’ll be ready to start another.
When I was studying the finished product, my first thought was making another using the same design. Not the same, of course just that pattern. I learned a lot with this valentine. I feel like I matured during this creation. I think I finally have faith in my artistic abilities.
Now I know about rushing. I get so eager to see the completed work that I don’t spend enough time dry fitting each shell. Every setback became essential lessons for the next project.