Thank you all again!! To answer some questions, the mosaic was glued to an ordinary canvas from the craft store. I didn't do anything special to prep the canvas, just water colored right onto it for the background (which, if you've ever water colored canvas, looks really mottled and uneven, but that's what we wanted for the "lead lines" to give the background texture).
The paper is just ordinary heavy water color paper. We painted large sheets with the colors we needed, using the ultra-saturated dabbing/dropping technique that I've talked about in the other paintings I've posted (rather than using brush strokes and pale washes of color).
To make it "glow," as someone upthread asked, we made sure our colors were super, super saturated, as vibrant as possible, then used high contrast on the light/shadow areas, so the brightest and lightest colors were paired right next to the darkest colors. I think that gives it the effect that light is really shining through it.
So after we painted the papers, we cut them up into tiny little pieces, separating them into a ton of little bowls by gradient and shade. Then some of the pieces were individually painted to get a specific gradient (like trying to construct the very tiny, oddly-shaped pieces of the face, while still conveying light and shadow).
We used ordinary Elmer's glue to glue everything down (painted onto the back of each piece with a paintbrush), then it's sealed in glass and then framed, so nothing is coming loose. The quills on the feather headdress are stitched on with bronze thread.
Wow!!! Thank you all so, so much for such kind words!!!!! Well, since I've posted, we've had the Final Friday gallery show and the gala auction. It took the second-highest bid of the night, at about $2K! We had tons of people come up and tell us it was their absolute favorite piece, and that they couldn't believe how detailed it was! The folks who bought it are partners in a law firm downtown, and said that they lost the bid on our piece last year (the city map papercutting), and were determined not to lose out on our piece again this year. Then at the gallery show, there were several people who came to look and didn't intend to go to the gala, who ended up buying tickets specifically so they could bid on our piece! *swoon*
So long story short, it was a raging success, and I'm so happy. After all the hours and work that we put into it, it just really thrills me that we were able to raise so much money for the charity, and even better, ended up getting more people to come to the event just for a chance to bid (hence raising more money). Plus, they always serve these incredible little bacon-wrapped chestnuts, and I swear to god I ate like, thirty of them. Those little things are like candy, my self control utterly crumbles when faced with them.
Here we are at the gala, being all fancy at the country club!
Every year I volunteer as a mentor artist for a big fundraising auction and gala to benefit juvenile arthritis research, in which I'm paired with a teen who has juvenile arthritis, and we create a big piece of art together, then auction it off at a fancypants gala for the charity. You might remember the city map papercutting we did last year! So this year, we wanted to top what we'd done before, and decided to do a paper mosaic, in a stained glass style. WELL. Let me tell you, hand-gluing over 100K pieces of paper the size of a grain of rice or a bean TAKES WAY FREAKING LONGER THAN YOU'D THINK. It took us a full 6 weeks longer than we thought it would, oopsie!
Our piece "Wichita Proud" is a 28x36" watercolor, Tiffany-Style paper mosaic mounted on a watercolored canvas. Each piece was individually painted, cut, and meticulously hand-glued to create a stained-glass effect of the iconic Keeper of the Plains silhouetted against the Wichita flag (I also included a pic of the Keeper- he is an iconic symbol of our city, a 44-foot tall steel sculpture created by legendary Kiowa-Comanche artist, Blackbear Bosin). Many of the pieces of paper are as small as a grain of rice, and had to be placed with tweezers, with final details stitched to the canvas in bronze thread. The work was incredibly time consuming; the Keeper's headdress alone took more than 18 hours.
We worked together (often with enthusiastic help from my kitties) to paint, cut, and glue, with frequent breaks to watch movies, sing showtunes, and learn to play ukulele. Oh, and play with the kitties, of course. With this piece, we wanted to create something that would inspire hometown pride in the viewer (three cheers for Wichita, woo!), showing off some of the iconic imagery that is unique to our home. With the Wichita flag illuminating the Keeper like a setting sun, golden light and twilight shadows surround this symbol of our city. The map last year was a huge hit, and we actually got quite a few requests for another show-stopper that was city-centric (a lot of the winning bidders have downtown office buildings or are city officials, so quite a few of the art pieces hang publicly, and the Wichita-themed stuff seemed to really get people excited!).
And some process pics, because why not?
Some of the many little bowls of colors, all nicely separated out so we could pick precisely the exact shade and gradient and texture of little bits of paper that we needed.
This is Rufus. He was very helpful, as you can see here.
And here's a photo of the Keeper of the Plains, watching over the city at the confluence of the two rivers. We liked the way the sun and shadow looked on this particular shot, so we tried to emulate that in the shading when choosing our individual pieces.
Thank you! For the translation, I used a guide, plus a java translator, which gave me a loose visual of what I wanted, then once I made sure my letters and syntax were correct, I arranged it all in an aesthetic manner, trying to keep it "readable" (if someone were capable of reading it linearly).
This is the guide I used, which explains exactly how to translate it, and what each symbol means and how it applies. You'll see that there is no C (with the exception of the CH sound); you need to first translate your text using S or K where appropriate, so mine read:
It matters not how straight the gate, How charged with punishment the skroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the kaptain of my soul.
I used this java translator, which you can download, and gives you several different visual representations of the sentence structure that you can use. I didn't keep to it exactly, but did manage to study it enough in comparison to the guide that I could pick out words and punctuation, and arrange the words appropriately.
When I arranged each line, they are each contained within a double circle, which indicates a sentence. The outer circle contains the whole sentence, and the inner circle (which divots inward where there is an empty space) contains punctuation. The whole stanza is a paragraph, so all four circles are contained within a single larger double circle, as well, to indicate their cohesion as a set phrase (see the big circle? You can see the outer double line of it on the upper left, just to the left of the first line of the poem, and it contains all four lines of poetry within it).
In retrospect, I think I could have arranged the lines of poetry in a more aesthetic manner, so they all fit against each other more nicely, but hey, it was my first Gallifrey project, go easy on me.
So I'm in the middle of doing a whole series of poems and quotes, translated into circular Gallifrey (the language of The Doctor on Doctor Who), and done as mounted papercuttings. This is the last stanza from "Invictus," by William Earnest Henley. It is one of my very favorite poems ever, and means a lot to me for a variety of different reasons. AND AND AND!!! This piece was just published in the Suisun Valley Review art and literary journal!! My first publication!!! I'm excited to get the rest of my pieces done and in the gallery, woo!
Ok ok ok. So this is the last stanza of the poem. Each circle is a line of text, and reads counter-clockwise from the big circle:
It matters not how straight the gate, How charged with punishment the scroll. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
For this one, I translated each line of text individually so I could see the full circle as reference, and printed the images reversed. Then I broke out the good ol' protractor, compass, and ruler, and set about the painstaking task of freehanding the translation. I overlapped each line so the circles sort of wove into each other, so that the overlap enabled me to have the circles each share something- a punctuation, a word, a letter grouping, etc. So while each circle is stand alone, they all are also completely connected by shared curves, lines, or symbols.
Yay, more papercutting! Ok, so I love robots (and if you've followed any of my art, you probably already know that). Like, really, really love them. And when I got into papercutting, one of the first things I wanted to make was a robot papercutting. Thus, this precious baby came into fruition:
Papercutting from a single sheet, mounted on top of a watercolor backing, about 7x9". This is actually inspired by one of my favorite images ever, Robot 1920, by Giacobino:
So I set about trying to translate it into a papercutting, which proved to be an enormous challenge and pissed me off to no end. The problem is, all those little pieces where the robot is flying apart, have to be touching in some manner, for the thing to work. I went through several attempts to make it work, before I finally got it. So the straight diagonal lines in the final image aren't just for aesthetic, but also to help hold all the little pieces together, to give the image a framework in which to explode around. Whee!
So below, you can see how I mean. I printed it in black and white, so I could see the primary lines of importance, and began cutting, making sure to go in very small areas, so I could make sure nothing was getting cut that shouldn't be. As I finished an area, I would cut and peel away the reference picture, to reveal the actual papercutting underneath, so I wouldn't accidentally cut something twice.
And the reverse side:
And the final cutting before I mounted it to the watercolor backing. Of all the papercuttings I've done, this is actually one of the most delicate, because there are so many tiny pieces that are connected to the main sheet by hardly more than a hair's width of paper. I just about murdered the parent of one of my music students, who came in to drop her kid off for a lesson, and just scooped it up out of my sketchbook by one of those thin diagonal lines to look at, and almost ripped the whole thing in half (the mom did this, not the kid). I screeched completely unabashedly, and she was extraordinarily embarrassed, and I literally have no sympathy. Ugh, dummy.
Whew, it's been awhile since I posted recent arts, and I have a helluva backlog of stuff to share!
I saw some lovely drawings recently done in lighter pencil on black paper, and was totally taken by the technique. I've never done it before, and thought what the hell, and gave it a try. And since I am in eternal fangirl mode for all things Marvel, here we are.
Loki, done in white pencil on black paper, just the parts where the light reflects on the surfaces. It was a bit of a challenge thinking in reverse (drawing only highlights, rather than only shadows, and still trying to convey some sort of expression), but I loved the effect. Expect to see a lot more like this!
Thanks, all! Jen, I tend to work right to left and try to flesh out the majority of the shading and detail as I go, because I'm a lefty and tend to drag my hand and smear what I've already drawn, otherwise. I used to do the whole thing at once in layers, but it just doesn't work as well for me, with the hook-handed way I hold the pencil.
Hey! I finally graduated grad school! So that means I finally have time to art again, yay! I was feeling really rusty, and thought it would do me good to bone up on drawing male faces and facial hair, so this is what happened. I've been on an Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes binge recently, so of course visions of RDJ have been swirling about like an opiate fog in my head. Mechanical pencil in my sketchbook.
Yes, I am a lefty; put that spiral to the right now, yeeeaaahhhhh!!
How about some process pics, since that's my usual modus operandi?
I used heavy watercolor paper, same as what the backing is painted on. It doesn't tear as easily, but you will probably go through more blades and have to take more breaks, because it's harder to cut through. I used the heavy paper since my mentoree artist had never done this technique before.
When I'm cutting, I generally pull the blade towards me, and I'll use a finger of my other hand to hold down the area from where I'm pulling (does that make sense?), so that the drag of the blade doesn't pull the paper apart. If it does tear, no big deal. Press on a little piece of tape or glue a little paper brace over the tear, then cut away the excess. The map that we did had several braces, oops! Sometimes the blade just runs away from you, lol.
Honestly though, thinner paper is a lot easier to cut because you can move the blade much more fluidly, like drawing a pencil across paper, rather than drawing a knife through a steak.