From Start to Finish

One of the things I’ve been asked is if I video my process. While in the process of putting something together, it doesn’t even cross my mind to video…usually, it doesn’t even occur to me to document the process at all. I’m not sure why, probably because I really can’t see anyone being that interested in it (if I’m being honest). However, with Radiate, I actually remembered to snap some pictures of the various stages the canvas went through while on it’s way to it’s final destination.

This can be a very scary thing to share, because most artwork (at least most of MY artwork) goes through a horribly UGLY phase. That phase where the colors are all clashing, and it just looks like one big, um, wreck. The question, at this point is…am I going to give up, or push through? (hint…ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS push through). Even if it stays ugly in the end, you know you never quit, and you were willing to embrace the ugly that comes out as well as the pretty. After all, ugly and’s all REAL.

Here are the different stages of Radiate:


This is where it began. A combination of acrylic, alcohol inks, water sprays and some stamping. I LOVED how it started out! The colors, the textures, pretty much everything about it. But, you can’t get attached, so I kept going.


At this point, I’m probably 2-3 layers into the process…and I have firmly entered the “ugly phase”. There are elements of this that I like: I love the center with the blue, circles and black; I like the pink on the left side; I like the three white circles at the top right. Everything else, for me, to I put this gently? ICK. UGLY. BUT, you keep going.


AND, guess what?! It gets EVEN uglier! YAY! Let’s see…can I pick out anything here that I like…hmmm. Well, I like the row of circles in the center. As it happens this one element (the circles) was what sparked the rest of the piece.


This is where I start making more intentional choices, and giving the eye a place to rest. It’s starting to pull together. I also added the mantra for this piece, “radiate”. I had made up some definition cards, and had this one hanging on my cork board when I began working, and it stuck in my head. Radiate- v. to project or glow with cheerfulness, joy or happiness. I can be a kind of serious person, and I want to radiate more of these things: cheerfulness, joy and happiness. I added the butterflies, and you can maybe see how the circles in the center act as a border between the two sides of the canvas.


Here is the final canvas. I am very happy how it turned out. It’s vibrant and alive with texture and depth. I chose the words “Radiate from within”, and added what look, to me, like party lights at the top. I cut those out of white cardstock with my Silhouette, and then spray them with different spray inks to match my canvas. I then sealed the whole shebang with Matte finish (I prefer that over a gloss finish).

Thanks for walking through my process with me!!



8 thoughts on “From Start to Finish

  1. Laura (PA Pict) says:

    Thank you very much indeed for sharing this insight into your process. I very much struggle with the ugly phase. I get creatively blocked by the sense of failure it generates. I need to become better at just battling through it.

  2. AnnIsikArts says:

    Thanks for sharing. Courageously. Nobody likes to exhibit what they consider to be their ‘ugly’ bits. Actually, I like to consider a ‘failed’ artwork as only an artwork that isn’t finished yet. Sometimes, you can’t see the road ahead, that’s all, and you have to wait, wait, wait. Maybe 20 or 30 years. Then you can finish it. I have many ‘unfinished’ uglies. 🙂

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