Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012/365 - Day 31

"you're improving. let's put it like that."

Okay -- I would hardly say this guy is cuddly, but he is a little less "Mr. Creeping Me Out" than he was.

Mr. Creeping Me Out

going under plaster surgery...

The eyes need to be re-done, that's for sure. They are too tiny and the face is getting built out too far for them.

I am not very fond of him from straight on (yet)...needs a LOT of thinking/work.

Not wholly horrible from the side.

He will get better eventually.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012/365 - Day 30 -- part two

photos from the construction stages

Here are some photos of the cat-creature changing during the construction process.

Originally I was thinking the head, hands and tail would be a blue color, with the hands being covered by gloves and a sort of glove-like garment on the tail.

And then things started going downhill with the colors and paint. The blue became way too intense with the addition of a glaze.

I was SO stuck on the choosing the colors part. I didn't know what I wanted to do with the clothes.

Then I tried out some different colors of Unryu papers.

I decided that since I was also showing Chime Cat (whose full title is "Chime Cat Visits Cloud City), I wanted to tie the two pieces together thematically somehow.

Then it occurred to me that the cat-creature could be a resident of Cloud City. It made a little bit of sense that perhaps the cat-creature's face could be cloudy and so could her skirt. She needed the gloves and tail cover because it is cold in Cloud City.

Then -- after the first layer of paper -- where the blue was overlapping -- it seemed like I could see things emerging. Sort of like making shapes from the clouds.

I started to darken the shapes I was seeing...then I realized you'd have to be across the room to notice them...you couldn't really see them close up...so that idea got scrapped, but I was stuck with the images showing through.

I figured maybe I could layer paint on and have it look like clouds. After playing around with that a bit I figured out it would be better to layer paper on as clouds and the inclusions in the paper would add to the texture of the clouds.

So my sister and I made a quick trip out to Hollander's in Ann Arbor for some white Unryu paper. It just happened that a new paper was being priced and put out. It was laying on the counter when we got to the register.

I thought wow -- I could (try to) make "clothes" on the cat-creature...but I don't sew and I am not a pattern maker.

I did what I could and it started to come together.

Oooh that paper is just gorgeous!

The front and back of the top seemed to go pretty well.

The arms were another story all together. But I kept working with the paper and got to know it better and found ways to make it work.

One night it was just a PAR-TAY in the studio!

I was still going with the "cloudy" theme.

Still too "scared" to try the white paper on top of the blue.

And I was still going with the idea of the gloves and tail garment.

This is the cat-creature laying on the drying rack so that I could work on it.

Oh man...this is where I made the horrible, no turning back mess. And yes, I really do hate to paint. And the paint was getting on the paper and I was really beginning to question whether I would finish before the deadline.

Then the guides arrived and I started tearing the white paper into 19 million little tiny pieces and each one had to be glued and layered to get rid of those horrible colors on the tail. This process took days.

But at one point I started thinking that maybe the tail was also a cloud and that the tail and the clouds on the skirt could blend together.

And I started liking that you could still see a little bit of blue and yellow in the tail through the paper.

And then I re-gesso'd the face and hands and went with yellow.

I took a photo of the yellow face and played with it in my photo program trying to come up with something, ANYthing.

I stumbled onto something I liked and I asked if any of my painter friends could maybe coach me on how to achieve the look I was going for.

I tried mixing a lighter shade of yellow.

This was in preparation for Peggy to come over and give me a hand.

I showed Peggy the print out of what I wanted and she mixed the colors for me and then figured out how to get the effect and then walked me through applying the paint. Leann was also here for support and encouragement...and a little later that morning Joan and Alex dropped by, too.

While Peggy and Leann were here I painted the face and was very happy with it. Later I did the eyes and ears on my own.

I was going for a different color of green but the lighter shade wouldn't accept the darker second shade and I had to start over. By accident this color got mixed onto the eyes as I was painting and I really love the color. I will never be able to repeat it, but I love it.

It took all night (and quite a bit of sedation) for me to get up the nerve to mark the make up lines and then finish them.

But I think the overall look was achieved.

I was going for a chalkware kind of look with Julie Driscoll-inspired eye make up.

And here are the "glamor shots" from the photo session in the living room. I didn't count on the challenge of taking uncluttered photos of such a tall piece. When I win the lottery I may invest in backdrops and lights...but for now this will do.

That light blue on the cheeks is "interference blue" -- it sort of appears as you walk around the cat-creature and it catches the light.

A number of the clouds on the skirt and tail also have the interference blue added.

I spent two days spraying archival varnish on the piece and let it sit for an additional two days (for the aroma of the varnish to dissipate a bit). That is why I chose the last day for my drop off day. Leann helped me transport the two pieces to the Art House and Joan helped Leann carry the pieces up the stairs to the upper gallery.

I am very excited to be a part of the 6th Annual Member Exhibition at the Northville Art House -- and to have Chime Cat on the postcard for the show!

2012/365 - Day 30

delivery day!!!

Today was the day I chose to drop off my two pieces for the 6th Annual Member Exhibition at the Northville Art House.

Here is the cat-creature all wrapped up and ready to go. Her tail is marked so that we didn't set her down on it in transit.

Chime Cat looks smaller when he is wrapped in black plastic bags and sitting inside a Rubbermaid bin on the dining room table.

MANY, many thanks to my friend Leann Meixner for helping me get my guys to the Art House!!!

And many, many thanks to Leann and Joan Potter Thomas for carrying the two pieces up the stairs to the gallery.

And we ran into Peggy Kerwan as she was dropping her pieces off, too!

And there they are waiting with all of the other wonderful art for placement in a day or two.

Chime Cat Visits Cloud City
Cloud City Cat-Creature

I will do a follow up blog post later tonight showing the cat-creature's construction/painting photos.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012/365 - Day 29

no photos...just a sneak peek

This morning was spent doing a photo shoot of the totally finished cat-creature...and then trying to make adjustments to the photos.

I took her out to the living room, moved some furniture and used a corner to take some photos. It hadn't occurred to me how difficult it might prove to be to get uncluttered pictures of such a tall piece.

I am not set up for "studio" photography and I am not very good at adjusting digital photographs but I am happy enough with the results from the two cameras. If I ever win the lottery maybe I will buy backdrops and lights and things like that.

Late tomorrow afternoon is the time for dropping off the cat-creature (that needs a title) and Chime Cat. After I get home I will post some of the photos I took today.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012/365 - Day 28

my collaborators arrived unannounced!

I came into the studio in need of something to work on and blog about. (I was reunited with television this afternoon and it was like I had never seen it before...sheesh.)

The body of this cat-ish creature only had a single layer of plaster cloth on it so I could still do pretty much anything to it. I could still build it up and shape it.

I knew I wanted to get rid of the sloping part of the plaque base that looked sort of like shoulders. I took some photos and tried to draw on them but it just wasn't working this time. I had to just try stuff on the creature.

What was handy...those rags/paper towels. I kept folding more and more of the squares together until they were thick enough to even out the back. I cut them to fit the back of the creature.

I masking taped the area.

I plaster cloth'd the area and built up the base of the neck a bit...but what else?

I rinsed off my hands in the plaster cloth water container and used a fresh paper rag to dry them...eureka! My guides/collaborators arrived without warning!

Suddenly I was flattening out the slightly elongated square of paper rag. Then I started to roll it up diagonally and then I folded it in half.

I took a strip of plaster cloth (I had ONE strip leftover that wasn't cut into a triangle shape...how odd) and got it wet, laid it on the table and rolled the semi wet paper rag into it. Then I got my hands really wet and smoothed out the plaster cloth. I put another larger piece of plaster cloth on in the same manner (it was a triangle, though) and took the hint to dip it into the plaster cloth water really quickly and then I kept smoothing and pulling...like pulling a handle out of clay.

I tapped the bottom flat.

I positioned it on the back of the creature's back and started to anchor it with plaster cloth.

Then it "occurred" to me to curve it a little -- man -- it was just the right length!

I had to keep alternating between laying on anchoring plaster cloth triangles at the base and tiny plaster cloth strips around the curve. Then I added more triangles to the back to smooth out the lumps.

Wow -- that happened SO fast...I had to take the photos really quickly so that I would be able to see how it went together. (My poor camera is a plaster cloth mess.)

Oh. My. Gosh. I am in love with this guy!

I just want to pick him up and cuddle him.

And now he is taking his place among the other guys on the drying rack again.
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