Thursday, March 12, 2015

colors in black

Death Becomes Her, a show exhibited this past fall (2014) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was a must-see the day before I ran the New York City Marathon. I was in my hometown, I love the Met, I enjoy clothing, and I am drawn to the dark and even morbid in art, fashion and design.

I came away with this post card, a close up on the details of a mourning dress from the early 1900s.

The different fabric textures catch and reflect the light. The loop details make me thing of links in a metal chain. In the black, I can see reds, yellows, browns, and even silver in the shimmer.

I wanted to paint something using the textured, hourglass image. I wasn't sure where the inspiration would take me.

Yesterday, I retrieved the postcard from a pile-o-inspiration. I should paint in oil, I thought; if I am using a lot of black, it had better be rich in color.

A round wood plate offered a place to start. So far, I blocked in the shape, the basic colors. I am not sure how literal it will remain.

It will end up as a wall hanging or even tea tray. What it will look like in the end is unknown for now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

in progress

I wing it. Okay, okay, I do know how to handle (many of) my materials, but they can be unpredictable, I often pick up something new to try, and mistakes sometimes lead to necessary fixes or interesting ends.

I jump in, sometimes with just a color or pattern in mind.

A friend gave me a worn wooden salad bowl. It was nothing special, and not even vintage, simply plain, old secondhand (originally from Pier One, then unearthed in a thrift store, yeah...).

I had saved some black and white striped tissue paper (because I save and reuse things), thinking of decoupage possibilities down the line.

I pictured the exterior of the bowl covered, haphazardly, asymmetrically, with the paper.

I didn't know where I was going to go from there. I jumped in, cut up the paper, and broke out the Modge Podge. I discovered that tissue paper requires a delicate hand, and that it wrinkles and crinkles in an unexpected way.

The black and white was not enough, I thought, when done applying the paper. I turned to my acrylic paints and blocked out stripes and shapes in grey, midnight blue and pink. Then I highlighted, defined, sharpened those with crimson, green, and turquoise.

The paint not only served an aesthetic purpose, but also a practical one, covering any seams or tears I did not like.

Here I am now. Not done, but getting there, in progress.

Next? Sealing the decoupage and painting with more Modge Podge, then layers of polyurethane for durability. And then sanding the interior and conditioning it with food-safe oil,