In which I am sucking badly at doing new things.

…and that’s basically just fine. There comes a point in every artist’s life when you’ve been doing something for a while and you develop a certain mastery over your craft. It feels effortless (or at least, you don’t have to think about it quite so hard) and you can generally get the results you want 99% of the time, without too much struggle.

Wire wrapping and metal are, in many ways, in that place for me. There are areas where I am still on a steep learning curve but overall I’m very comfortable with metal arts. There’s very little swearing in the process any more. My hands know what to do with the tools.

This is typically a great time to start doing something new. Something that you’re not good at. Something you have to struggle with and get stuck in beginner’s mind around. I fell in love with the art of Elspeth McClean and Jessika Jacob (and so many other artists, it’s a popular medium) a few years ago and recently decided to hack the dot painting code and figure out how to do it. I love Elspeth’s stylized, precise style and use of vibrant colors. I love Jessika’s subtle way of blending color so delicately, and the way she goes big on her canvases.

As with anything self-taught, typically one has to steal like an artist until you figure out how to make your own way and transform a technique into something unique to you.  There are a lot of people doing dot mandalas out there. They’re super beautiful and I love them, admire the skill and artistry, and the color play that they exhibit. It’s just that I don’t want to linger in that place where you can’t immediately tell one of my rocks or canvases apart from someone else’s rock.

Well the good news is that I don’t have to worry about staying there because I’m definitely no where near there yet. My work definitely does not look like what anybody else is doing. Because right now it mostly just looks like a badly executed, hot mess.  I’m not smack talking my abilities, I’m not down on myself, I’m actually completely delighted with how shitty the work I’m turning out is right now so please don’t tell me “Oh I’m sure it’s better than you think.”   Trust me it’s not and I’m super fine and okay with that. I want to be looking at these canvases and thinking, “Oh. No. No, no, no.” I want to be figuring out how to load my brush properly, how to make the paint flow the way I want it, the best paints to use for this, the best consistency, how to make things precise, to train my eye and hands.

The way you do that is by doing a lot of it wrong and learning from the bones out how to make it right. Right now, the plan is to do that.  To find at least an hour every day, pursue different avenues of inspiration, learn, learn, learn, and paint dot art every day for the next 90 days.

Y’all, I’m about 5 or 6 days in and I’m dreaming in dots.

In 90 days this will all have gelled – hopefully – and have begun to evolve towards something that looks like actual technique and a distinctly individual, no longer quite as derivative, style of my own.

Here’s hoping I have something to show you at that point. In the meantime, go feast your eyes on the artists I linked up top, the ones who are inspiring me to try.

In the interests of “don’t quit your day job” I’ve made some fun art jewelry pieces – the torched enamel components I’m using to build these earrings are NOT my work. That’s another currently shitty learning curve I’m on, one that is slightly scarier because it involves fire.  I am slowly getting all the new jewelry pieces up in the shop. You should check them out.

If you should need a doula in the Los Angeles area, well, you can find me at Below The Line Birth Services.  I’m currently open and booking births and postpartum clients into fall. If you need a warm, creative doula who swears who is going to be supremely laid back and relaxed about supporting your learning curve into new parenthood, I’m your girl.  I support all kinds of parents and family dynamics, and I specialize in artists and entertainment folks who have non-traditional schedules.

I pinky swear promise to wash all the paint off before I handle your newborn. 😀

About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
This entry was posted in dot art, in the studio, mandala art, The Artist and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In which I am sucking badly at doing new things.

  1. Can’t wait to see when you’ve mastered those and you’re doing dot mandalas in enamel! 😉💗

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