I've read before that perfectionists tend to also be procrastinators. The fear of not doing something perfectly becomes a dread of starting it at all. This explains a lot about me. I don't know whether it works for everybody or not, but for me, deadlines are the best solution. If there's a pressing deadline, no one can expect perfection... which makes it easier to just buckle down and do it.
Nothing screams "deadline" like your obstetrician telling you your effacement and dilation numbers (not much yet, but it's still a reality check!). With less than a month to go before our little boy is due, it's finally dawning on me that I'd better get started on some things!
We decided back in August that we wanted to do a Dr. Seuss theme for the nursery — something gender-neutral (in case the ultrasound's wrong), and not too baby-ish (so we don't have to re-decorate everything in a year or two). Dr. Seuss seemed like an obvious choice since hubby and I were both big Seuss fans growing up, plus it's a good way to start instilling a love of reading in our little one.
I found this Seuss-themed room to use as inspiration. My mom volunteered to come and paint wonderfully-bright wall colors to serve as the base. So it was just up to me to take the next step and add some Seuss-ian characters.
But I didn't. The perfectionist/procrastinator part of me kicked in. I had various excuses: I wanted to get the furniture in place first. Or I hadn't figured out which characters to paint. Or I needed hubby to help me decide what size to paint things. Good enough excuses... until I suddenly found myself just weeks away from having a baby.
So I finally started on the first Seuss character... a goat, of course.
The instructions I found online all seemed to use a projector to paint directly on the wall. I felt like that was less than ideal, though, for two reasons. One, we still have a little furniture re-arranging to do. There's this one pesky dresser/hutch we got on Craigslist that we need help moving up from the garage. Specifically, hubby needs help moving it, since he doesn't want me trying to lift it at this point. (Any volunteers?) The second, more practical reason, is that with such dark walls, any character painting would require an under-layer of white paint before we could start painting the character itself. This seemed like an extra step. So I decided to try painting on a white sheet of matboard. This would give me something I could move once the furniture's in place, and it would also avoid the extra step needed for painting directly on the wall.
I was surprised at how well the painting itself went. I printed the character on a transparency sheet, then projected the image onto the matboard. I used a brayer and foam brush to spread acrylic paint across the colored part of the image. After the paint dried, I used a black Prismacolor marker to add the outline and facial features.
So far, so good. Painting this fairly simple, one-color character only took about an hour.
But I wasn't done. The cutting out was the next part. And while matboard wasn't as difficult to cut as I'd feared (I was even able to use scissors for some parts), it certainly wasn't an easy job. I spent at least as long on the cutting out as I did on the painting. And even as careful as I tried to be, there were still lots of edges that needed marker touch-up to hide the board's white core.
While I'm fairly happy with the goat, there are some things I'd definitely do differently next time.
- Tape the projector sheet in place while working. Cats, projector fans, and other small environmental influences kept nudging my transparency out of place while I worked.
- Have another copy of the image to look at for reference. My projected image was pretty good, but it was still a little blurry on some details. Having a hard copy to look at would have helped, especially for the outlining.
- Try black-core matboard. The Seuss characters are all outlined with thick black lines. The broad end of my Prismacolor marker worked great for this til I started cutting out the image. The matboard is thick enough that I could see the internal white core. This was especially noticeable anyplace where I didn't cut a clean edge. I tried outlining the edges again with the marker, and that did help — but I think a black-core matboard might make that step unnecessary.
- Maybe, just maybe, paint directly on the wall. I suspect painting that under-layer of white would have been much quicker than cutting the image from the matboard. Course I probably shouldn't use a marker on the wall (should I?), so the outlining might take longer. Still, I think if I could get over my hang-ups about possibly messing up mom's nice paint job, it might be an easier way to go.
So that's where I am. One Seuss goat down, an unknown number of characters left to paint. And an unknown amount of time in which to do it. But at least I've started!
I've got some nursery photos on Flickr, showing my mom's paint job, along with the amazing quilt she made. My sister also did a posterboard version of Sam from Green Eggs and Ham. Check 'em out if you're interested...
And if you're not interested, that's cool too. I promise not to hijack this blog for nursery updates too often. I will probably give an update a little later on how many characters we ended up with, along with any other nursery projects I decide to tackle (polymer clay-covered switch plates come to mind). But if you're not into the whole baby thing, you have my permission to ignore this and all future nursery-related posts. :-)
Back to work for me. Hope your Martin Luther King, Jr's Day was wonderful, and that you'll enjoy tomorrow's inauguration festivities!