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Monday, February 6, 2012

Where Am I Going? - A Recipe for Trouble!

People have sometimes remarked that my necklaces are works of art and should be displayed.  So, building on that thought, I am doing this piece where the necklace and its display are designed as one whole.

The necklace is a "Circle of Hares," after the somewhat mystical observation of the occasional springtime behavior of these wonderful creatures.  I have sculpted ten tiny hares, including the little sleepy one that forms the clasp, from polymer clay.  They are each in a different position, and the two outer ones are rushing to join the circle.  The center one is the high priest as he wears a torque.  The beads between the hairs represent sections of a bundle of hay stalks.  The center dangle as well as the two side beads, are gorgeous vintage glass cabochones surrounded by polymer clay stems of hay, with the grain heads hanging from the beads.  I've coated all the polymer clay pieces with mica powders, giving a beautiful sheen.  And the hares' eyes are tiny glass eyes that I got from http://www.glasseyesonline.com.

I have vaguely based the inagery in the necklace on celtic beliefs about hares, who are believed to be symbols of abundance and fertility.

Sculpting the tiny hares was the easy part.  Shopping for the perfect vintage glass cabochons was the fun part.  And, now, creating the background display is turning out to be the hard part.  A central challenge is to figure out how to attach the necklace so that it can be taken on and off the display.  I've considered making an oval, silk-covered low pillow stuffed with a layer of two of fiberfill and backed with foam core.  I could attach the necklace to this "pillow" with pins.  Or I could push the pins directly into the backing painting and secure them in place with epoxy glue.  The jury's still out on that one!

So for now I'm working on the display part.  I'm using a piece of Strathmore illustration board.  The initial layers are soft-body acrylic washes applied with marbling techniques.  This part has gone pretty smoothly, but now it's time to get serious.  The challenge will be to achieve a proper visual balance between the necklace and its display.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

After a long gap, another ACEO

When I first got into art years ago my favorite subject was birds.  They're relatively easy to get reasonable results with, and there's plenty of room to use real skills.  I particularly am fascinated with how much they can communicated with body language when their spines are fused rigid from shoulder to hip.  But I guess they make up for this with great flexibility in their necks which have a large number (can't remember how many) of vertebrae. 

So when I wanted to do a little ACEO, a bird seemed the perfect subject.  Drawing him was no problem, but I was still stuck on the idea of creating a "tinted drawing."  In the end, I slapped so many different media onto this little piece, I don't really know what to call it.  There's pencil, colored pencil, watercolor pencil applied dry then wet with a brush, watercolor applied to a dampened surface, and, finally, ink!  Enough already!  But, despite all the fussing, I'm happy with the look I eventually achieved, especially the coloration on his back.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Running Silent

I haven't been blogging lately, largely because my internet response time has been just atrocious in the early evenings - the time I have been blogging.  So now I'm switching my schedule around a bit in an effort to get back to this activity that I actually enjoy so much.

So, to catch up a bit........

Here's a small (5"x7") drawing of two chipmunks, a companion piece to one I did a few months ago.  Small mammals, and particularly rodents, seem to be sadly overlooked as art subjects.  So I'm out to change that.  "Rodent Resurgence!" will be my new motto.  I don't see chipmunks around here but remember them so fondly from my childhood in Ohio.
Here's another little (5"x7") drawing - this one, of a ringtail cat.  These little creatures really captured my imagination when I visited Tuscon last October.  I didn't see any, but I could vividly imagine them scampering around, and they seemed to be iconic figures to the locals.

I tried out a new product on this piece - liquid graphite.  The product I used is Derivan Liquid Pencil, which comes in either permanent or rewettable formulae as well as a couple different grey values and a yellowish brown.  I used the rewettable, but think I would prefer the permanent.  Anyway, I used this product in the lower part of the picture where I wanted the light branches against a darker background.  I masked the branches with a liner brush and masking fluid, then applied the liquid pencil just like watercolor.  When all was dry, I rubbed the mask away.  And then I put some pencil over the top to tone down the lights a bit and add more detail and tone variation.  I like this product a lot and will use it again!

Good-bye Drawing!

I added several layers of dilute soft-body acrylic washes, building up the color bit by bit.  In the end, I rather like this little painting, but I have nearly totally lost the drawing that I worked so hard on.  And I did not achieve the look I wanted - of a tinted drawing.

This little painting was to be a prelude to a class on pairing graphite and acrylic but I ended up not taking the class.  It would have been pretty expensive as I would have had to travel.  And I thought I ought to be able to figure out that particular combination of media.  And I still think that goal should be within my grasp, but I certainly didn't achieve it here.

So, back to the drawing board, so to speak!