I don’t think that it’s any big secret that I like to make my life more difficult than it needs to be. I’m constantly pushing myself to do more, be more creative, be more impressive. When I fail at this, things get ugly. But when I succeed, it feels awesome.
Sometime last summer, I made this pact with myself that, whenever Sir’s friend’s had a birthday, I would make their gift (and Sir would make a card). I started off pretty strong, but by the time we got to November, my train went off the track.
The more disappointed I got with the situation, the harder it became to find the inspiration to create anything. Birthdays became a source of stress for me and I felt totally defeated as I dragged myself to the store to buy the latest Leapfrog gadget to pass off as a reasonable alternative to a handmade gift. I did, however, keep up with Sir’s handmade card-making. I have to say, he’s getting pretty good at it too.
He’s a reluctant artist, that boy of mine. But we’ll find his muse, I’m sure of it.
Several weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to design an invitation for her son’s first birthday party. The theme? Baby Godzilla. Yes!
I drew the invitation digitally, colored it by hand, and then (per my friend’s request) used a photo of the birthday boy as baby godzilla’s face. It was so much fun! It also inspired me to finally get back up on the horse and make good on my birthday gift pact.
In true Ruth style, I waited until the night before the birthday party to get to work. It took me several hours of sketching, planning, painting, cutting (made far more difficult by the fact that I lost my X-acto knife handle and had to cut using only the blade and my bare hand), and gluing, but I did it!
Each element was cut out and glued in separately. The cars, the buildings, baby godzilla, and the clouds hanging in the sky are all individual pieces that I drew on watercolor paper with pen & ink and then painted using watercolors. Each piece was then cut out and placed inside the shadow box.
I have to say, this was the most fun I have had on a piece in quite awhile. There is something about taking a bunch of small elements and putting them together to make something bigger that is very satisfying. I really should do it more often.
Today, Sir had another birthday party. I realized at about 5 o’ clock yesterday that I really should start thinking about a gift, because you know, why not wait until the night before the party to think about making a gift?
After dinner, I
frantically calmly dashed sauntered into my studio and sat down with absolutely no idea what I was going to do.
Okay, I have one white shadow box. Oooookaaaaayyy….hmm. Here’s a mat to put it in. It’s white. I don’t like that. Let’s paint it blue. But, you have no idea what you’re going to put in it. A mere triviality! Blue it is! Okay, a blue mat. Now what? Flowers! Okay…draw, draw, draw, paint, paint, paint. Flowers, voila! Hmm…needs something more. Let’s look at some pictures of the birthday girl, shall we? Wow, that kid is adorable! I should draw her. Ugh, I can’t draw people…too bad she’s not a dog. Eh, what the hell, let’s give it a go!
And that, dear friends, is (mostly) how I ended up with this sweet little flower girl shadow box. Okay, there was a little more to it than that – like several little girl sketches (some of them quite bizarre-looking) and even more hand-cutting without the assistance of my X-acto knife handle (where in the hell is that thing?).
The flowers I drew, painted, and cut the same way that I did for the pieces in the baby godzilla shadow box. I added some glass beads to give them a little depth and sparkle. The illustration was done in pen & ink then painted with watercolors.
I came in just under the buzzer on this project, finishing it half an hour before Sir and his daddy had to leave for the party. I hope the birthday girl loves it!