Though most of my recent puppets have been made entirely from cloth, I am working on a small series of hand puppets that have papier mache heads, which hearken back to my previous way of approaching puppet making. These puppets are less traditional, as they are all conjoined in some way or another.
Painting patterns on cloth is an especially satisfying activity. I like to buy large white linen tablecloths and cotton sheets and pillowcases from thrift or antique shops. Then I tear or cut them to the size I want and go at them with the watered down ink and acrylic paint. Also handy to have a spray bottle of water; I use it all the time now, I don't know how I did without. Good old spray bottle.
A departure from the puppets. These two objects are inked fabric stuffed with rags and stones to give them some weight. Sewing that ruffle on the pink one has been a bit of a trick. Almost done. The grey one has flute-y pink gills on the sides. When you look at them from the top down, they look like Mr. Potato-head ears.
Influences can come from anywhere, even plastic potato people.
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.