Bit o’ Honey ~ the little things that please

The little things that please . . .

Tree of Life ~ pt. 6

with 2 comments

If you’ve ever attempted to bake bread you know that the finished loaf rarely ends up the way you imagined, no matter how closely you follow the recipe.  So too with art.  On this project I find myself experimenting with a recipe for a stained glass window . . . with four people in the kitchen.  Sketches, glass samples, and watercolor serve as raw ingredients, but no one can know the results until the window is assembled and set against light. 

When I presented my most recent draft to the committee some interesting comments came my way.  The leaves didn’t have the verdant quality one wanted.  Their colors were muted and dark.  And the sun didn’t seem to be breaking through the canopy.  The tree was lacking, in fact, of leaves.  Maybe more leaves and less sky?  And the earth, it looked like sand, like a desert.  Too reminiscent of death.  


Well, at least they were honest!


I really didn’t take their criticisms personally.  After all, it was just a watercolor.  Besides, there are so many ways to interpret a work of art, each legitimate in their own way.  But I admit, their concerns were surprising.  

I explained that I’d hoped to mimic the look of sun breaking through leaves by using a range of greens, from citron to olive, to give the appearance of light and shadow.  But where I saw leaves in shadow, others saw dying leaves.  And where I used a warm rosy brown for earth to contrast with green, others saw as desert sand.  As for the quantity of leaves, I simply didn’t want to bombard the viewer with activity.  Already I felt the design was drifting away from my original intention of serenity and simplicity.  Any new changes at this point will have to be subtle, at best, to preserve that intention.   

I’m not a literal artist or a literal viewer.  I prefer suggestion, nuance, and ambiguity in art, things that feed the imagination.  I’d hoped to bring something unexpected into what’s now a straightforward image of a tree by a stream.   And so another challenge presented itself in this collective process – to convince the committee to allow the opportunity for surprise, rather than overwork the design.  This sentiment was articulated by one member and understood by all, but nonetheless it was determined that certain points would need to be addressed.  Working with a committee means the majority rules.  Green ground and more leaves it is.  

So, it’s back to the drawing board for round four.  

Meanwhile, the project manager will be changing the original position of the window, which means the dimensions will likely change.  A entirely new sketch will need to be made.  It’s a hurry-up and wait routine, but I’m glad to have a little breathing room before I begin the new revision.  I’ll need the time to take the in the requests and return to the design with a fresh perspective.



Written by Janie

July 19, 2008 at 9:35 am

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Yeow! for all the stress and changes, this job should be increased to three times!! Just exercise patience, as you are doing.


    July 20, 2008 at 10:14 am

  2. I can’t believe the hoops you are having to jump through. For what it’s worth, I have thought all of your designs have been beautiful, calming, and hope-inspiring.


    July 24, 2008 at 7:18 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: