Sometimes I look at a piece of art on a greeting card or in an artsy souvenir boutique and notice the simplicity of the piece. I often think I could make something like that so easily, but my recent experiences have made me realize that it's not as easy as it looks! I was surprised at all the decision making that went into it, and all the many choices I had to make.
Here are some of the tumbled rocks, shells, glass, and wood I had to choose from. I also pulled out some fabrics that reminded me of the beach in some way and started playing around.
I originally came up with this arrangement of rocks, driftwood and fabric. The center arrangement reminded me of the lotus meditation pose in yoga and the calm pale blue background was reminiscent of the sky and and the central shiny fabric more like water. The texture of the burlap brought to mind the sand.
While playing with the arrangement, I decided I wanted something lighter and airier - a vision of blue sky with clouds popped into my head, so I switched out the background fabric. But everything seemed to be floating, so I looked for a way to ground it.
I decided to turn the piece into a landscape orientation and added a narrower strip of burlap along the bottom. I debated about adding the word "serenity" somewhere on the piece. I wanted it to convey serenity, but did it need to be labeled? I played around with a few options and then decided to bend the word serenity out of brass wire and attach it to a piece of driftwood, as shown at the bottom here, where it's pretty subtle. I also added a small piece of ribbon at the top, which had gold metallic strips woven into it, to add some light and sparkle.
I played around with what should go next to the central square in those spaces on the side. I auditioned some rectangles of burlap and some pieces of twig.
I finally decided to just add some simple cross stitches out of a variegated metallic thread. I also put some cross stitches into the burlap at the bottom to be even more reminiscent of sand. I added large stitches around the beige rectangle in gold metallic thread and a small piece of sheer gold fabric at the very top. The natural objects are held on with gel medium as well as stitching. Here is the final piece:
I have plenty of other tumbled rocks, shells, and driftwood, so I'm thinking I can make more of these and have a series. Now that I've made these basic decisions, maybe the next few will be easier!