Thursday, November 9, 2017
After doing the collage with the young woman and ermine both wearing fascinators, I found that I enjoyed drawing people - something new for me. So I decided to do a series of three such pieces, each with a young woman and an animal. For this one, I chose a rabbit and wanted to make the woman a red head in a very green setting, suggestive of Ireland. After completing theawings separately, I began the collage.
I had a beautiful magazine page with a mystical looking landscape and decided to use it as the first layer in the upper background. As I always do, in an effort to avoid wrinkle when gluing coated papers such as magazine pages, I dampened both the front and back of the page before gluing it down. But despite my careful preparation, it began wrinkling anyway so I kept smoothing it out with a brush. I was completely focused on the wrinkle and missed the fact that the ink was beginning to smear, leaving the image that I liked so much largely obscured. The lesson I learned was to spray these images with workable fixative before glueing them down.
I was discouraged, but continued with the first few layers of the collage.
At this point I decided that her right eye looked wrong and tried to fix it. In the process I pretty much messed it up. I nearly threw the piece away. I can't remember ever doing that before. But I decided that I wouldn't learn anything that way and determined to finish it and hope for the best.
Next I began to apply color. One of my priorities was to eliminate the white halo around the rabbit ears. This halo is a result of tearing out the rabbit drawing then gluing it against the dark background. I also added more collage elements to soften the bottom edge of the drawing of the woman.
At this stage I really didn't like the piece and once more almost threw it away. I also thought that I probably should give up on drawing people and stick to animals. I also didn't like her looking straight ahead at the viewer - it felt sort of creepy.
Nonetheless, I pushed ahead. I decided to push the characters back and add an element to compete with them visually, namely the collaged leaf spray in front of her. I deepened the color in her hair and stenciled a few leaves over the top of her head. Basically, I just kept fooling with it and added more color washes, widening the color range of the background. I was also careful to add a few subtle areas of Burnt Sienna washes to repeat the color of her hair elsewhere in the piece.
I added a few bronze paint spirals - the beginning of the final decorations which are my favorite part of the collage process.
I decided to add something of interest at her forehead and, since this piece is supposed to suggest Ireland with all the greens, the red hair, and the rabbit, I decided on a Celtic knot. I drew the knot on a piece of tracing paper then inked the lines and painted it with gold and bronze metallic paints. I carefully ripped the motif out of the piece of tracing paper and glued it in place. I was expecting to see a bit of the edges of the tracing paper as a translucent blur but, surprisingly, the tracing paper completely disappeared.
By the way, I've had trouble in the past with tracing paper wrinkling when glued, so I brushed it with water first. After dampening the front side, it spontaneously transformed into a tight roll. I unrolled it and dampened the back at which point it flattened out and I could glue it down.
I got the vintage green glass jewel from the Etsy shop Yummy Treasures. I originally was going to glue it in the center of the Celtic knot but then decided to place it where you see it. I added more little decorations including the shards of foil (from various types of chocolates) and then was done.
In the end, I'm pretty happy with it and am glad I kept going. But I still wish I had chosen a less startling pose for her. Next time...