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!