Creative Process for Global Talent Search GTS 2014

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I have decided to take the challenge from the Global Talent Search coordinated by Lilla Rogers Studio this year. To be honest to say that I am not a big fan of competition, but I think GTS is a great opportunity to give a little push to myself in this summer. It is fun to see what I would come up with among hundreds of artists from around the globe. The theme of the assignment was "Little Terrarium". I know terrarium and succulent have became popular objects these days, so there are so many great arts have been already done by talented artists. I wondered what could I be able to create through my own interpretation? From a new perspective? With a different colour palette? Is it going to be serenity or dreamy? Quirky or traditional? Is there any surprises or messages I like to deliver to the audiences through my art? I had quite a few questions to figure out before picking up my pencil to do my sketches. Don't' get me wrong, I was not nervous or confused. I was just trying to set a direction for this specific piece of art. I do not have a high expectation to be the winner, but I expected to gain a new experience in creating. I want to see my growth. It is my calling to create professional art to deliver happiness to both adults and children. Hey, I am running a happiness business! Seriously! No kidding!

I like to share my creative process below, it also helps me to recap what I have learned:

1. After I read through the detail of the theme, I took couple photos from what inspired me at home, the most easiest and nearest resources that I can find immediately: My two terrariums, plus the colour palettes from my old wooden spools collections:

2. Sat down at my desk and did LOT of sketches! I drew whatever came across my mind, different shapes of terrariums I could think of, and how it coordinates with plants, birds and letterings.

3. Then I started my hand letters. I used black ink with brush and tried to write in different styles, kept on writing until I got one looks right. I like the clouds and rain from my sketches, so I drew a nice set as well. Then I scanned them to my computer, edited by Photoshop to prepare for future use.

4. Now the fun dirty time had began! I first played around with different colour combinations on watercolour papers, it helped me to get the actual look of the background colour for my final painting. Then I tried to transfer some sketches into colours. I started with small pieces, they are only 4"x6" paintings. I just made them quick and easy. I also pulled out few old paintings from a while ago, I picked some icons that I like to use for this assignment such as the bird, the pattern on the rocks and some geometric patterns on the leaves.

After I gathered all icons, I was ready to make a large collage painting! I use acrylic paints (including my favourite neon colours), acrylic markers, oil pastel, charcoal pencil, old magazine papers and paper tapes. I also made a few rubber stamps so I could create some repeated patterns for the background.

5. I created my final assignment by the combination of different techniques:  acrylic brush painting, paper cut out, stamp and digital. I found my bright colours are better well control when I finished my art in digital.

Finally I came out two collage paintings I like the most. My first attempt was in vivid red orange colour background with a single terrarium. The second attempt was in light yellow green with multiple terrariums.

When I have hard time to pick one, I will leave it for a day or two, and go back to look at them again with my fresh eyes. I also showed both to my good artist friend to get her opinion. We both agreed that we like the red background but we like the composition of the triple terrariums. She also suggested me the text changed to "Life is Awesome". I played around different text styles I did earlier and picked a more free style to go with the final art. So…. here is the one I submitted to GTS. YEAH~

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I enjoyed the creative process very much for two reasons. First, I found so much fun in making mixed media art, it gave a lot more possibilities than purely digital art. I will certainly take this approach more often from now on. Second, I have learned how to set a clear direction before I started creating. Although I explored many interesting ideas from photo captures to sketches to final art, but I did not get lost during the process, my direction always brought me back to the track. At the end, what surprise me was I did not stress out myself by doing this assignment at all, I completely dived into it. This art was so ME! :-)

There are total of 999 artists participated in this event. Although I may not be selected to get into the top 50 artists in 2nd round, but what I have learned will leave great impact on me. I am so looking forward to see other submissions from my fellow artists. It is like we are writing the same book in 999 different languages! Isn't it exciting?!!!