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“Ruined” Birds and a Life Lesson

Day 17 of Art Every Day Month! Wow – this month is flying by! I keep a large journal, really just 14×17 spiral bound mixed media paper pad.  It is a larger surface so I can use it to catch ink, paint, glue, anything that spills past an art project.  So this one started with the spillage from when I painted a bunch of birds for another project.


I liked this one so much I wanted it to be just perfect.  Thinking like this gets me into the scary, frozen place of “perfect” where it is difficult to make any decisions, let alone good ones.



I put the words on and they did not show up as brightly as I envisioned.  It’s not perfect.  My thoughts became a bit more stifling.




My raindrop ( by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer) stencil has rescued me before, so I used it in a color I usually love.  Not here.  I thought it was rear end ugly.  I’ve ruined it I thought.  Now the pressure was off.  It was already “ruined”.



So, I wanted different colors, different patterns – out came more  of Julie’s stencils.




I wanted the words to pop so I outlined them with a Pitt pen. Still not enough though….




Adding a black outline to the words made me happy with the words.



I need to let go of perfect and trust that even if I “ruin” it I can just make something else I’ll like.

{ 16 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

  • Nigel November 17, 2011, 10:36 am

    I wish I could ruin things that well 😉

  • Elin Folkesson November 17, 2011, 11:33 am

    I totally agree with you. When you like something too much you get scared of ruining it – and then you do just that. I get the best results when I play and not when I worry about doing the wrong thing.

    By the way – I like the way you show your process in smaller pictures with the text on the side. I had to try that on my blog today. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Diana Evans November 17, 2011, 1:54 pm

    it is gorgeous….nothing ruined …..just fun and creativity that make magic!!!! Happy Thursday!!!

  • Cat @ sea.sky.stone. November 17, 2011, 2:17 pm

    I actually love the allegedly “rear end ugly” color of the raindrops–and all the colorful birds! I agree with Elin…the small process shots showing us how the page developed are great 🙂

  • Cynthia November 17, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Yep. Totally agree with Nigel up there. If only I could “ruin” things and come out with such a gorgeous piece as yours!! And I’ll add my thanks for posting “as you go” photos. They are both inspiring and helpful. =D

  • Christine November 17, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Oh my gosh… first let me say I like it…I love the birds and the raindrops.. but wow can I relate… I love something… like my work today… loved it.. then I put leaves on it.. why the hell did I do that.. for me it ruined it… I can’t draw leaves…LOL.. the more I tried to fix it.. the more ick factor arose… I finally just threw my hands up and forced myself out of the room…it happened again today… have to learn to art… and let go.

  • Kathleen November 17, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Wow – defintely not ruined and the colors are great. I know just how you feel about getting frozen with the “P” word. The word that shall not be named – hahaha! I do mixed media and collage and have the same issues. What I love is that you can always add another layer and keep going until you like it. This worked out really well!

  • Paula - Buenos Aires November 17, 2011, 6:06 pm

    I recognized the feeling! Happy ending. 🙂

  • Shayla November 17, 2011, 6:10 pm

    and voila – that’s how the best journal pages are born, isn’t it? Looks great!

  • Serena November 17, 2011, 7:08 pm

    A very happy ending! Nice work!

  • Jen@small matters November 17, 2011, 9:06 pm

    So great how you fought through the perfect. It turned out so vibrant and full of character!

  • Lori - What Remains Now November 17, 2011, 10:31 pm

    Hi Carolyn…Boy, oh boy, do I recognize every thing you describe in this post.

  • Rita McGregor November 18, 2011, 12:07 am

    Yes, adapt and think sideways. Almost always works–LOL! :):)

  • Tracey Fletcher King November 18, 2011, 1:48 am

    I love seeing how this developed and came together… I am hopeless at putting things aside and not persevering so I am always looking on in admiration of people who hang in there and then get great results…. with love queen of the float xx

  • AJ November 18, 2011, 8:50 am

    Carolyn, this turned out fantastic, I really love the layering of the stencils and the birds.
    Thanks for showing the progress, it’s really interesting to see how things change and what you like and don’t like.
    Big love

  • Cowgirl Red November 18, 2011, 11:43 pm

    Hardly ruined. Very nice. Terah