Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blue Flower Grass - An Experiment in Art

A few months ago I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book Artful Paper Clay - Techniques for Adding Dimension to Your Art by Rogene Ma├▒as for review.  I really loved this book, and was excited to try the techniques, but at the time, was living in a hotel room while we looked for a new house.  The day finally arrived that we had our new home and I had my art supplies back (Hurray!) so I decided to try the technique with a three-dimensional project of my own design.

Sisyrinchium demissum - stiff blue-eyed grass

For this project I used:

Creative Paperclay® modeling material
a 5 x 7 shadow box
acrylic gloss medium
acrylic paints
rubbing alcohol
sculpting tools
wood scrap

 I started with a simple sketch of how I wanted the flower placed.

I prepared the two background pieces - one of illustration board and one of wood, by cutting them to size and coating them with gesso (I had more gray gesso on hand than white, so I saved the white for the clay coating)

The upper piece is cut at an angle so only the edge of the wood will be visible, helping to create the illusion that the piece is floating against the background

I taped the larger background piece to a work board, masking off the edge that was needed to fit the board into the frame.

Clay was rolled out to approx. 1/8" thickness and applied to the board, then I pressed in random lines to indicated grass.

I wanted to have more texture in the background, so rolled and crinkled up some Kraft paper and pressed that into the design at various intervals.

Here is the first background piece, set aside to dry.

I sculpted the second background piece, flower, and stem separately.

When the large background piece was dry I cut a frame into it, per my design.

When the other pieces were dry, the edges were cleaned up, and some of the sections were sanded.

All of the pieces were given a coat of white gesso, then glued together and given another coat of gesso, then two coats of clear medium, as per the instructions in the book.

Next the scary part - painting the entire thing with Mars Black and allowing it to dry.

After the paint was dry, the top layer was removed with rubbing alcohol and then I started adding color to the piece.

I colored all the layers, then decided the background was more of a distraction than an enhancement, so added a dark wash of green over it.

This is the final piece, with the darker background and with highlights added to the grass stem, some of the grass, and the flowers.

I enjoyed creating this piece and trying the new techniques.  This was one of those cases where the work didn't match my vision of it before starting, but that's okay, I learned new ways of working with clay and acrylic paint, and I will definitely be trying these techniques again.

Thanks for joining me here again!  As always, play, experiment, and have fun!

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