Thoughts on a Mighty Failure

StClaire Art process.jpg

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein


For the last several months, I've been trying to figure out what to do with a material I love: Dichroic film. It's a vinyl film with an adhesive back and it's usually used on panels of clear plexiglas for interesting effects. I had a few pieces of clear plex and some of the film, so I applied the film to one side of the plex and experimented with applying paint to it, resin to it, ink to it...just to see what happened. 

"What were you thinking you'd do with it?" you ask. Well, I was asking that same question. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, I just really wanted to play with it. Then I came up with an legit experiment...which would not be cheap (dichroic film is seriously expensive) but I got the okay from Joy so...I ordered a couple yards of the material. What I ended up doing was creating two paintings the panels of which were built angled toward each other (not parallel to the wall) and I created my painting on that angled surface. I built it up with texture, covered the texture with Italian aluminum leaf, oil paint and resin. Then...I covered the surface with the dichroic film. Then I was outside with the pieces and it started to rain. When I got back into my studio, there were big rain drops all over the surface of my cool paintings. I thought they were ruined except now...who'd have guessed? The rain drops amplified the coloration of the dichroic film, creating little circular puddles of rainbow light everywhere they rested on the surface. So that effect was too cool to pass up playing with so...I dried off the surface of the panels and dropped bits of resin all over the surface of each panel. When the resin cured, I had permanent "rain drops" on the surface of my paintings. The effect was cool. 

And then I posted photos on Facebook and waited for some opinions. Putting together the honest input of friends, I realized I was working with a material that was indeed cool and worth experimenting with, but that the way I was using it was entirely overkill. It's like someone getting all excited about inventing vanilla extract and then trying to convince you that it was amazing and you really need to take a big gulp of it. That would end in disaster, as did my art experiment. Vanilla extract (like dichroic film) is very, very potent. You only need a small bit to make a huge impact. 

So it's back to the drawing board. I'm going to do something with this stuff. And I've got some ideas! 

Winston Churchill once said, "“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Thank you Winston. I am undaunted.