I was lucky enough to find these awesome Nature Magazines at an antiques shop nearby; I love the cover illustrations here by a person named Hexom. I think they are engravings, but not sure. Great colour and composition. And take a close look at that otters expression!! Not the happy-go-lucky fun loving little guys we thought we knew.
Take a white porcelain swan, gesso it, then paint any which way you want, and ta daaa, Rainbow Swan!
In making and working with my little family of creature models, I have run into a situation: what to name them. More specifically, what do I call them so that when I name the finished piece, I know which one I am referring to. So far I have Pink Deer, Favourite, and Fringy. Hence the name of this piece is Pink Deer with Favourite. And I know just the work I am referring to.
In real life, Pink Deer does in fact have a lot of bright pink on him, and Favourite is just that, my favourite. Because just look at her, such a sweet little face. Sure, there is no mouth or eyebrows or ears, but they are not needed, I think you will agree. When Favourite stares at you with her round unblinking eyes, you'll feel laser-tagged with love.
There is a nice messy pile of paper on my studio floor right now, a pile of brush-y, ink-y paintings in various stages of finished and not finished. I've been playing around with water media as of late, including inks, watered down acrylics, gouache and yes, even watercolour. Reacquainting myself with media that is waterproof and that which is not (india ink I am looking in your direction). That beautiful blue you see above is a serendipitous mix of raw umber and phthalo blue.
The faces you see are from both a pink spotted deer with one googly eye, and the face of a smiling puppet that is vomiting love.
Lots to see on a walk today through the Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area. The best find was the beautiful nest above, made of long grass, birch bark, thin pine needles and what looks like wasp nest paper. It is a perfect cup shape, with old snail shells and rolled up pill bugs inside.
Also found were all sorts of fungi, including the two kinds above. I haven't been able to name them yet, but will poke around and see if I can identify them.
I have finished the conjoined rabbit puppet, but wanted to post an in-progress picture of its clothing. I finished off the outer gown with small pieces of red ink dyed cotton stitched on randomly, and tarted up the arms of the body outfit with tiny multicoloured beads. The arms are my favourite part now; I can't resist a good shower of colourful beads. Not a literal shower though, I'm ticklish.
My next project (among many others, in various stages of halfway to almost finished) is a set of 10 or more small, dyed, beaded puppets. The picture above shows half of them already dyed a pale umber and ironed, the other half is freshly dyed light red and squeezed out, in the process of drying.
When I am working on a puppet, I will often have a general idea of how many, what size and their overall look I am going for before I start. As I move along, I am open to any changes, additions or details that occur to me, or that the in-progress work might suggest. For example, I would like these little puppets to have a contrasting look about them of roughness and richness, I suppose like an old threadbare tapestry. To achieve this, I will incorporate beading for certain, as well as the possibilities of embroidery, painting, and the addition of other materials.
If I plan out a puppet too tightly and precisely, it will rarely "work". I must always be conscious of leaving room for exploration within the object, and not have a highly detailed map from start to finish. Part of me wants to do this precise planning, but I am much happier with both the process and the finished project if I let go of the reins, so to speak.
Here are a few of my Howl models, the one on the right being half finished; the rows of cloth fringe will extend up and around the face. Though I do enjoy drawing it in its partially done state.