Perhaps Printemps

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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9 thoughts on “Perhaps Printemps

  1. Just gorgeous, Sally! And thanks for sharing your process in creating this art. If I were a judge, you’d win hands down. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  2. RuthG says:

    It’s great! Hope you win!

  3. thenerdycanuck says:

    Amazing, it looks awesome! I followed your blog and hope you check mine out if you have time :0)

  4. Sundry says:

    Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your feedback.

  5. roughrustics says:

    Wonderful art, and enjoyed seeing the process. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Sundry says:

    I always enjoy seeing other people’s in-progress posts! Thought I’d try one of my own!

  7. LasWeezas says:

    That is amazing Sally. You are so creative and talented. You really put some time and attention into it. It is beautiful. Wow!
    Las Weezas,
    When I was in Paris, I was amazed to see how huge the Eiffel Tower was from the ground.

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