Michaels arts and crafts store sponsored a competition called “Springtime in Paris,” which asked artists and crafters to create something inspired by the theme and photograph it. Hydra and I have been aching to get back to the City of Light since the moment we returned from a visit in 2007. Getting together the time, the money and the quality of health has been a challenge. So I thought I’d enter.
What I love about The Eiffel Tower is that it rises above the cliche it could be. I think you’d have to be pretty cynical not to be moved by its strength and elegance once you’ve experienced it first hand.
This is where I stared, working from some photos I took in ’07.
I drew the detail from the arch on the bottom level over and over while I waited outside a doctor’s office, or for my turn to sing at a song circle, or watching TV. I wasn’t sure how I might use it, but this felt right. It fills the arch in the middle of the page.
At this point I made several photocopies of the original. That way I could try some practice designs and colors without messing it up. I’m no pro, and I really wasn’t sure of the next step.
OMG, how glad am I that I was working on a photocopy when I tried this! It’s sloppier than I would have done it for the finished product, but what a mess, right? I was trying to work in the crisscross design on the bottom legs of the tower and the corner design from just above the arch. EEK!
I had awakened the night before I did the messed up version with this image of little Eiffels in my head, but I thought it would be too hard. Luckily, I had also been sketching little Eiffel Towers in my spare time, on everything. The $1.49 compass I picked up on a whim at Micheals really got a work out. Also my mini-ruler. You can see the faint guidelines here. I still hadn’t quite given up the idea of the criss-cross element in the center of the arch on the left. DON’T DO IT, SUNDRY!!
But I did like that the corner details moved to the right side.
This is another photocopy. I took this all the way through color before returning to the original.
Here’s the color test. I layered three greens and three blues. Made a few notes about which pen I used for the different lines. Prismacolor pencils and Steadtler art pens…mostly the .01 and .005, but also the .03, and .07.
Last minute check… Redid the drawing on the original and wanted to check to make sure I whether I wanted to add color or not. I think so!
For newbie artists like myself, here are a few things I learned:
1) Photocopying something you like during the design phase can be a life saver.
2) Get a mat and trace your boundaries before starting. I thought I was just cutting corners by not mapping out a 5×7 workspace on my page. But I learned that–not unlike lumber dimensions–the actual space available is not 5×7. It’s slightly smaller. I would have lost a lot of detail if I’d made a true 5×7 image. Plus, it’s way easier to get the lines straight!
3) Working to a deadline is extremely motivating. Also working from a theme is a really good exercise. If it’s something you’re not necessarily interested in (unlike Springtime in Paris!), the challenge is to find a way to make it something you’re willing to spend a lot of hours with.
Finished product, staged. This is the photo I submitted to the contest.
Can you believe I had this frame in my closet? It’s metal and I think the color really works with the color of the Eiffel Towers.
When I filled out the submission form I found that I needed to title the piece. It was March 31, the 126th birthday of the Eiffel Tower, so I titled it “Joyeux Anniversaire,” which is “Happy Birthday,” in French.
Yes, I’ve been kicking myself about it since I hit send. In the middle of the night last night I thought, oh, yeah, “Perhaps Printemps” would have been so much better.
There was also a little essay requirement, Why I Should Go to Paris. I should have held off on that, too, because I left out something that I think might have made a difference. But basically I said that I want to take my fabulous husband, Hydra, to Paris to thank him for all the amazing, selfless, loving care he gave me last spring when I was so very ill.
Wish us luck! The judging should be finished by April 20th.