Monday, June 22, 2015

Egg #22- Celestial egg with Cancerian motif, batik style goose egg from the "50 years all cooped up, what's an egg to do?" series

      My next creation is a fun Celestial themed egg with a zodiac sign assigned to my birth date. I don't always put much stock in horoscopes, but do find that some of the character traits assigned to these zodiac signs sometimes might describe someone to a tee. Just for fun, here is mine:

      The fourth sign of the zodiac is Cancer (June 22nd-July 22nd), and it is represented by the crab. Appropriately enough, Cancerians can seem easygoing, sympathetic, and patient one minute, then cranky and irritable the next. Because of this ability to make a sudden change, Cancer is the least predictable of all signs. They rarely take the direct approach to what they want, but eventually they get what they are after. Cancerians are better judged by what they do and not what they say.
      They are ruled by the moon and have water as their element, so their mood swings can be compared to the turbulence of the shifting tides. If they feel they need to, they will retreat to their own emotional shell to keep others out. However, Cancerians can be very sympathetic to others and readily show their affection. Cancerians are also very emotional and sensitive, which may be why they are so empathetic towards others. They are very insightful and most have a good memory.
Cancerians need a lot of attention due to their unpredictable character, but if you give them the support they need, they will offer you their undying loyalty and love. Once you have won their trust, nothing anyone else can say will sway them against you.
       Cancer is also the sign of home and family life. They seek out relationships and are happiest when with those they love because it gives them a sense of security. So, there it is, on an eggshell. (You thought I was going to say "nutshell", didn't you?). Here we go!
     I've decided that I will have two sides to this vertical-orientated egg, with a middle band cutting the egg into the two halves. On one side, I will have the Celestial fiery sun, and the cooling Moon at it's side. The second side will have a portrait of a Moon child, and since Cancerians are considered a water sign, I've decided to give her an aquatic look with the crab symbol draped around her neck and shoulders and its pincers holding onto her earlobes like jewelry. Her hair will be made up of tentacles, floating around her as if she if underwater. (Does this imagery seem to keep recurring in my work?) It is not your typical depiction of a Moon child, but I will beg the audience's patience as I plead "artistic license" once again. I want to convey all aspects of a Cancerian on this egg, so it is a compilation of a lot of different ideas. You can see that from the initial sketch, I had two ideas for the middle band. The one on the left was a series of diamonds filled with the phases of the moon, and a Milky Way swath of stars undulating in and out of the diamonds. The band on the right was a series of 12 of the zodiac signs watered down to their most basic elements/symbols. Which do you think I chose? I guess we will find out!
     I divide the egg in horizontally in half on my lathe, and mark the four vertical quarters. I know have eight sections, four top and four bottom. I measure on either side of one vertical line 1/2" on either side of the line, making the middle band an inch altogether. I measure 1/8" bands on either side of the middle band. I measure a 1/4" beyond the skinny band on both sides, and then add one more set of 1/8 bands to the outside. I have 7 bands total.
     On the front and back oval medallion, I use the bulls eye cross and measure 1/4" vertical lines from the center out to each side.
     I measure 1/4" lines up and down from the horizontal center line and get a grid of 1/4" squares. I do the same for the large 1" border on the side. These grids will help me center all of the designs that will reside in these spaces.
     I use a circle template and place the moon towards the center of the medallion. I draw in my moon slightly down and to the right of the sun, slightly overlapping him. Notice I said him. For some reason, when I was discussing this design with one of my friends, she noticed that I had assigned the Sun with Male attributes, and the Moon as female. I believe my thinking was influenced by Egyptian and Roman mythology from very early times, attributing the Sun to the Deity known as Ra, the sun god, or the Roman god Apollo. Lunar deities can be either male or female, but are usually held to be the opposite sex of the corresponding solar deity.  So, here comes that artistic license again...I've decided to give the moon female attributes. For my female Deity, I will chose the Roman goddess Diana the Huntress, who represents the moon and childbirth. I will also work some colors into this side of the egg that will echo this choice (we'll talk about those choices further down).
     I draw a curved line that undulates through 12 diamonds in the middle band. I use a circle template to fit into the diamonds. These will be my lunar phases, which just happen to be the perfect number to come back around the 12 diamonds at the beginning of the first phase.
     I start to sketch out my Moon child's face, centering it in the middle of the oval medallion on the opposite side of the Celestial Sun and Moon. The grid helps me draw her features symmetrical.
     I draw the crab necklace and pincer earrings and the wavy tentacle hair. There are tiny little crabs that are holding onto those tentacles for dear life.
     After drawing is completed, I wax in the outline of the moon, facial surface only, and stars and the four small 1/8" bands and their interior lines with an extra fine kitska.
     I wax the highlights in the eyes, and all of the crabs eyes...
     I use a fine kitska, and wax different size dots along the wavy line in the middle band. This will be my Milky Way string of stars.
     I brush the sun with PUSA pineapple and let dry. Do you see the white thing sticking out of the bottom of the egg? That is a silicone drain hole plug that twists into the hole and keeps the dye out of the egg. This will allow me as much room to shade the full moon that starts at the base right over the drain hole. Using a wax plug would take up too much space and wouldn't leave enough room for detail and shading.
     I do the same for the moon phases. Did you notice that they are drawn out differently now? I had to be careful when I was drawing the 12 phases, and pay attention to the orientation of the shadow as I came up and over the top. The moon phases start from the full moon at the bottom where the drain hole is, and work to the opposite sides as you come back down around the egg. Towards the end of the cycle, the shadow will appear from the opposite side until it is back at the beginning of the cycle. I drew x's through the parts that were the shadow just to keep it straight as I was adding color. Phew! A lot to think about!
     I wax dots and shade on the light yellow. I then brush on two more shades of yellow and wax more dots to overlap and act as shading.
     I do the same for the moon phase band.
     I add a neon green over the entire circular moon shapes. I add oranges to the sun face and keep filling up as you would for the look of pointillism.
     To finish off the moon, I brush Pusa charcoal over the circle and wax in. I use scarlet and red for the rest of the sun's face, hand paint in blue eyes and wax over the entire face. I use UGS light blueand hand paint in the diamonds. I let dry and hit those areas with UGS royal blue and black, let dry and then wax over the entire diamond.
     For the space outside the diamonds, I brush in PUSA ice blue as a base color.
     I brush the ice blue into the 1/8" bands and wax over. I then brush in PUSA peacock into the 1/4" bands and let dry.
     I wax wave patterns in the peacock border, and brush over UGS patina, wax smaller waves, and then brush UGS turquoise for the background color. All of this is waxed over. I decide to leave the triangles on either side empty, save for a wonderful, but experimental color treatment. Anything else in those compartments, I felt, was too busy. I decided to do a tie-dye watercolor bleed. I used three colors, UGS turquoise, royal blue and pink. I just dropped the three colors in and let them randomly bleed into each other. I was happy with that gamble. It turned out to look very cosmic!
     Here is a picture of the border finished. I wax over the remaining area.
     I start on the Celestial side again. I brush in three shades of yellow for the outer corona. I shade the inner corona with oranges and reds and let it bleed outward.
     I wax over the inner corona.
     I start shading on the outer corona with a little less fiery intensity.
     I wax in that area. I now use a mix of yellow, light aqua and pink to shade underneath the moon. I've decided that where the sun and moon touch there is a cooling off/warming of the corona that overlaps. Almost like the moon is soothing the sun as it retires for the night, and the opposite to be true at dawn.
     I wax over that entire area.
     I paint UGS royal blue, turquoise and pink in the back ground, and let it bleed together just like the tie dye effect in the middle band. This makes for an overall, cohesive look.
     I brush in PUSA ice blue for the moon, keeping it light at the top, and going heavier towards the bottom (the part that is further away from the sun). I shade with a watered down version of the pink and turquoise, keeping the colors on the cool side. This is a nice contrast against the warmth of the sun.
     I wax over that entire area. The band and the front of the egg are completed. Now, unto what I deem the difficult part. I have chosen to leave that for last, contemplating how to do it all the while.
     I hand paint in Pusa peacock dye for eyes and wax over them.
     I brush in PUSA peacock dye for the body of the crab. I wax the outline with an extra fine kitska when dry.
     I float in a wash of PUSA patina, UGS orange and scarlet and let the colors bleed together again. I am trying to replicate the colors of a blue soft shell crab.
     I am tilting it so you can see how nice the bleeding of colors turned out. Very pleased with this so far!
     I finish with all the legs and pincers and eye stalks...
     You know the drill. Wax over that entire area.
     I start to paint in with the PUSA ice blue dye. I go heavy in some areas with the shading, and light in other areas.
     I wax in that area, and start to brush in the lips, careful to keep them on the cool side of pink.
     With a very tiny brush, I shade the corners of the mouth with a little blue, and fill in the white of the eyes. I wax over the lips.
     Nope. Nothing wrong with your screen. I am holding the egg upside down so that when I shade heavier with the dye, it does on drip down her forehead, but collects underneath her hair. I stand the egg up this way and let it dry.
     I do some more shading with my tiny brush, and use a very diluted pink for some of the shadows. This, of course, gives the shadow a cool purple tinge.
     I deepen the shadows with a UGS light blue and turquoise, and then take a deep breath and dry brush the light blue in for eyebrows. If you have done a portrait, you know that it is very difficult to keep eyebrows symmetrical- well, for me this point, I also use a pointy q-tip and moisten it with water and scrub highlights out on her forehead, cheeks, ball of nose and her chin. This give the face more depth.
     I wax over the entire face. I start to brush in mini crabs attached to her tentacles with the same colors as the crab around her neck. I wax over those. I start painting the tentacles in with light blue and turquoise.
     I shade the undersides with a little royal blue and then wax them over.
     I brush the underside of the tentacles with the PUSA peacock. After it dries, I wax little tiny rows of dots that will be the tentacle suction cups or bumps. I then brush on a mix of orange and scarlet over, and wax those.
     For the background on this side, I use PUSA royal blue and pink and let the two colors bleed together again. I don't use the turquoise this time, because my moon child already has a turquoise cast to her, but the three colors are still present as they were on the Celestial side and the moon phase band. I wax over the entire background. You know what time it is? Unwaxing time!
     I line a paper coffee cup holder with paper towels, rub the egg with a little olive oil and set in a cold oven on an old cookie sheet. I heat the oven to 175 degrees F, and walk away and let the oven do the work for me. I come back in about 15 minutes and gently wipe away the excess wax with a soft cloth or toilet tissue (paper towels are too abrasive, and will wipe away some of your colors).
     Here is the Moon child side and the middle band unwaxed...

Here is the celestial side unwaxed....and now the reveal:

The Celestial side with Sun and Moon...
 A quarter turn to reveal the Phases of the Moon band and the Milky Way...
     Here is the Moon Phase band with the tie dye effect.
     Another quarter turn to reveal part of the middle band and the Moon Child side of the egg.
And lastly, the Moon Child herself, with her crab sign and flowing hair. I hope you've enjoyed this Celestial egg. I certainly enjoyed creating it! May all of your signs be kind over the Milky Way tonight!

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