Success at an insignificant (but difficult) thing

Posted in Art at 10:01 pm by ducky

I am working on the “beta” version of a glyph-covered jacket (The tshirt I did this summer was a side effect; both the shirt and the jacket are lineal descendants of the glyph shirt that I made for my husband a few years ago.)

I’ve been nervous about the Mayan glyph. On both the tshirt and an earlier painting I did, I used the Mayan glyph for fire, which is handsome enough, but I was kind of bored with it. Also, it didn’t really feel representative of Mayan glyphs.

Unfortunately, the glyphs that looked representative also looked hard. Mayan glyphs are very intricate, with lots of relatively thin lines. They are more like drawings than most writing systems.

I had visions of all kinds of ways that I could screw up. I print the design on paper, then use carbon paper to transfer it to the jacket; if there are lumps (i.e. seams) then it gets hard to transfer the design cleanly, so I can’t always see where the lines are. If I don’t have good light and/or my eyes are tired, I can’t always see the lines well even when they are clean. If the paint is too thin, it is hard to keep it between the lines. If the paint is too thick, it spreads unevenly. If I don’t pay close attention, I lose track of what side of the line I’m supposed to paint on. If I’m tired or distracted, I am prone to wavering and/or dropping my paintbrush (aauuugh!). If I am concentrating too hard on glyph A, I sometimes put my fingers in the wet paint of glyph B. If people walk past heavily, or if I get startled, then all bets are off.

Despite being excited about getting the Mayan glyph down (because it does look cool), it was with trepidation that I took my paints down to the Green College common kitchen, where I paint.

And it worked! I did it! It came out beautifully!

(The black smudges are from the carbon paper; it will wash out.)

Now, I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is NOT a big deal. It isn’t going to save any starving children. But it was important to me precisely because it was scary, because I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. It’s like if you do well on an exam or manage to jump from a great height — it might not matter to the rest of the world that you got through it, but it might matter a lot to you. That’s how I feel right now, and boy am I chuffed!

NB: I don’t actually know what the glyph represents.  It was in a font made by Klaus Johansen.

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