Saturday, May 9, 2015

Egg 14- Faux Cloisonne with peacock motif- Water media painted goose egg from "50 years all cooped up, what's an egg to do?" collection

     The original idea for this next egg started out as a mixed Water media piece for a community based project hosted by the Vermont Arts Council. It was called the "Palette project". Here's a little history from the Vermont Arts Council website:

Palettes of Vermont (2005-2006)
Renowned artist Warren Kimble first proposed the Arts Council sponsor a statewide arts project in the summer of 2005. His words were, “Let’s give everyone in Vermont an artist palette and tell them to have fun with it.” The original goals were to engage at least five communities, at least two hundred Vermonters, and to generate a sense of joy through a shared creative project among participating communities and individuals.  In retrospect, these goals were so modest as to be almost laughable. By the end of 2006:
  • 7,000 wooden artist palettes and 30,000 paper palettes had been distributed free of charge to Vermonters and schoolchildren who wanted to take part;
  • 150 organizations and 145 schools participated;
  • At least 40,000 Vermonters (6% of the state’s population) made art; More than 2,000 people and palettes gathered on the state house lawn for PalettePalooza. 

The palette to the right was one of three that I had created (one of them chosen to travel the state for the "Fifty Flavors of Vermont" palette exhibit- but that's another story). The wooden palette was primed with a regular gesso to seal the wood. Then the palette was gessoed with several textured coats of an absorbent ground gesso. This type of gesso allows watercolor or acrylic washes to be absorbed and trapped with the layers of the primer rather than beading up and lying on the surface. It was also given a coat of light molding paste, and swirled with a brush to add more texture. This is also an absorbent coat as well. I wanted to used mixed Water media to capture the look of faux enamel. I added a three dimensional egg and glass beads for embellishment. I decided to revisit this peacock design, change it up a little, but wanted to see if the mixed Water media experiment would translate onto a goose egg. Come and find out with me!
First, I did a small 7x10 watercolor of the stylized peacock with color scheme. It's a little more simplified than the one for the palette, as the goose egg is a much a smaller surface to create detail on. I used the same type of resist in the painting that I will use on the egg, just to make sure it would work (that would be the gold and the black in this case). I will explain in much greater detail as we go forward.
I start by painting on Golden's absorbent ground with a stiff brush. This is a smooth coat for coverage first.
After two smooth coats, I start to load blobs of the grounds with my stiff brush and swirl and pull the brush away giving a rough texture.
This will give the egg a nice look underneath the watercolor washes. Some of the watercolor will get trapped in the nooks and crannies, giving the look of dimension.
I do this 2 more times, building up the absorbent ground gesso. Look how pebbly it is!
I use a light green watercolor pencil and divide the egg into eight sections. This helps me center my design of the peacock and wrap it's head and feathers around the egg. I am not worried about the green watercolor pencil standing out. It will dissolve into the watercolor washes that I will lay down over the top of it later.
For my resist lines (or metal leading lines on cloisonne), I measure out Schminke's tri-col water soluble metallic copper pigment into a little mixing well.
I then mix in Winsor & Newton's permanent masking medium (liquid) and mix the powdered pigment with it until smooth.
I use a long, thin liner brush to paint on the copper lines that will resist the watercolor washes later on. The liner brush helps me load up on paint, and make long, thin lines without having to keep dipping into the paint and have to stop and start the line again.
The outline of the peacock is starting to take shape. You can see that I have the painting behind the egg for reference.
Adding the feathers. I have the goose egg on a bamboo skewer so I don't touch what I've just painted and smudge it.
Just look at those tail feathers curling all up and around to frame the peacock's head!
Now comes the fun part. I tried a little dotting with Pebeo dimensional outline glass paint paste. I like it, but I think I will do the rest of it later, as it might be a little hard to float the watercolor washes in between those dots quickly. I turn my attention to the feathers, and pre-wet the area with clean water and float a light green color into the section, and while still wet, quickly shade the bottom part of the feather with a slightly darker green. The two colors bleed into each other, but only within the confines of the painted copper resist. It's what I like to call "controlled chaos".
Here are the larger feathers getting their is slow going. I have to wait for the quarter of the egg that I'm working on to dry before going onto the next section of the egg. A hair dryer works to quicken the drying time for some of us impatient folk...
Checking the work against the painting...
I start on the interior of the diamonds with a light green.
Fill in the blue with a light and dark shade...
fill in the eye with blue, and paint in it's black mask.
I pre-wet the feather area and float three colors of turquoise watercolor in, highlight, middle tone, and shading.
Checking against the painting again.
Now to start on the body and neck. I use a cobalt blue and ultramarine blue watercolor.
At this point, I blob on Golden's GAC 100-  something similar might be a soft acrylic gel. This will seal the watercolor and prevent the parts I've painted from running if they get wet. I don't drag the brush too much because it might lift of color, so blobbing it in is best- right up to the edge of the copper lines.
As you can see, I've done that to the bird's body and side wings. I go over it a second time, and can add texture with the brush without worrying about pulling up the color. I do this in sections, and let each one dry and/or use the blow dryer.
Next, I paint in the final color of the diamonds on the tail, and use three shades of  green watercolor to color the tail. I let that dry, and then hit those sections with the acrylic additive, giving it texture as I go.
Check it against the painting. So far, so good. Now it's onto the background color- that beautiful coral!
I mix up three juicy washes- an orange, a scarlet and a red and float the colors around and up to the copper lines.
I go over the copper lines again to give them more definition.
I add those drops of copper dimensional outline paste to the top of the head feathers and push a small rhinestone in the middle of each one. A little bling, if you will...
I start to add glazes of interference acrylic colors over the tops of the different sections. These glazes give the colors a pearlescent/rainbow effect. On top of the blue, blue interference, green, red, orange. I mix that with the GAC 100 acrylic medium.
After all is painted, I go back and start embellishing with the Pebeo copper dimensional outline paste. I was just going to do the feathers, however, if you know me, I sometimes go a little nuts with the detail, so..... (my daughter told me I went a little "Mehndi" on it)
I hit the neck with some dots, as well as the outside of the diamonds in the tail section and the wing section as well. Embellish, embellish, embellish! Holding it up to the painting, I'd say it's a pretty good facsimile. The last thing to do is to dip it in Golden's MSA hard solvent-based varnish twice. It gives a nice shine...does it look like enamel work?

 And here is the finished Faux Cloisonne egg with the stylized Peacock motif:
Well...I guess it does translate well from wooden palette to goose egg...thank you for accompanying me on this little experimental journey. Hope you had fun! I know I did!

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