This past weekend I took an amazing pastel workshop with Michele Poirier Mozzone at the Wickford Art Center. Take a look at her website – her work is filled with gorgeous water reflections. Surreal and abstract and realistic figures all at once.

It was my first experience using pastels (other than dusting them over clay) and actually, my first “painting” workshop. I paint on clay for my relief sculpture, but I really haven’t tried to do a painting as a finished work since school.

So, it was a lot of fun, and rather intense over two full days. Michele taught us all about composition and underpainting, and we did color studies and I experimented and learned so much.

For the next few days, every time I watched a movie or saw a scene I liked I was thinking about color and highlights and which pastel colors it should be. 😉

This is what I ended up with from my first day. I was using PanPastel mainly (along with some harder stick pastels from Dick Blick) so it filled in a bit more tooth of the paper than normal soft pastels until I learned to deliberately leave some white space.

 

First day of my May Progress Challenge and I got some clay conditioned and a good start on a new relief.

It’s an experiment in color based on some work I did during the pastel workshop I just took. (More about that and complementary colors later.) So that’s why I’m sculpting a rooster in turquoise instead of my usual white or black.

The two pieces in the background are the color study and pastel painting I did on the second day of the workshop, and the sketch was a value study – all things I’ve never done before. But I may have to keep it up since I found it valuable to work things out ahead of time.

It doesn’t translate exactly, since I’m also adding dimension, but it should be interesting to see how a similar work comes out in polymer clay.

 

So… I’ve been busy lately, and even creative, but I haven’t been doing quite as much clay as I want to. Plus there’s all sorts of other things that I want to accomplish. So I’m going to do another challenge during the month of May, but one with much more flexible rules.

I’m not going to do a certain number of pieces. I’m not even going to limit WHAT I do this time around. I’m just going to make progress.

If anyone’s got a good name for it, let me know. So far, it’s either the “May Madness” Challenge, or the “I thought this was supposed to be fun” challenge (suggested by my husband). 😉

Rules/Guidelines

  • I will do half an hour of something clay or art related at least 5 days a week.
  • At least 3 of those days need to be creative and making art. The other 2 can go to cleaning the studio, art business, training, etc. As long as it’s constructive.
  • No books or tv on those nights until after I get my art done.
  • I will post my progress regularly – at least 3 times a week.
  • I will have fun.
 

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If you’re in New England, keep an eye out for baby turtles. I found this cute little guy on Friday next to a tiny pond near where I work.

And then when I went to move him off the path so he wouldn’t get stepped on, I found another one. 🙂


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img_6449Tada! Isn’t he gorgeous?

So… About all those little details…

I added a little pale pink around the eyes, the nostrils and the paws.

I used metallic acrylic paint for the watch, watch chain and waistcoat buttons.

On some of them, I drybrushed a bit of white over the top of the fur to make him brighter. I’m not sure if that step is really necessary – I didn’t do it on the red rabbit.

He’s already sold and on a journey to Wyoming.

I painted the hands of the watch with black acrylic paint, and touched up the eyes again to make them darker and overpaint any white.

Once everything was dried and/or heat set again, I added a couple coats of gloss varnish over the eyes.

img_6446Then a coat of Golden matte acrylic varnish over the rest of him.

And a last touch of gloss on the eyes, the buttons and the metal of the watch, and they’re done.

I’ll be adding pin back/pendants to the back, then putting them up on Etsy soon.

 

img_6429Here we go with the first touch of color on our White Rabbits. They’re starting to look like they’re actually from Wonderland now.

The eyes first – window of the soul. A coat of black very carefully applied with a teensy, tiny brush and now they’re starting to look alive.

(Note to myself though – it actually would have been easier to paint the eyes last since I had to touch them up again afterwards.)

I painted the jacket next, then judiciously wiped just a little away here and there to show the detail of the clay and antiquing underneath.

Sometimes I did that 3-4 times until I got it just the way I wanted it.

Then a coat of contrasting paint on the waistcoat with another tiny brush, and back into the oven for another round of heat setting. (I’m using Genesis Heat Set Oils on these.)

Still a lot of details to go, but I’ll summarize some of them tomorrow…

 

img_6401Antiquing for me, is not the time honored New England pastime of roaming the countryside looking for cool, old stuff, preferably cheap. Although I like that too – on a strictly amateur and happenstance scale.

This is a technique I use a lot, but in this case, I’m not even trying to make my rabbit look old.

I’m using burnt umber heat set oils scrubbed into the piece, then wiped off the surface. The paint sinks into the tiniest detail and really gives the piece some dimension.

Click on the thumbnail, then compare the two rabbits on the right. The all white one on the top has all the same detail, but most of it’s invisible, until the paint brings it out.

When they’re all ready, I pop them into the oven to set this first layer of paint.

Don’t wear clothes you like while doing this 😉 It’s messy.

Tune in next time for COLOR!

 

I’m late! I’m late! says the rabbit, not me.

Well not really me, since I never assigned myself a deadline, but anyone who went to HopArts last year (October, 2016) might have seen the first stages of this sculpture. I did the sculpting over a couple months, including resculpting the watch at least twice.

Then I procrastinated over the painting because I was so afraid of ruining it, but I finally finished that during my January 30 day challenge.

img_6399And now, I present the white rabbit clones!

Soon to be pins or pendants or possibly part of a shadow box in Wyoming!

I used a two part silicone molding putty – my favorite is from Rio Grande – Rio Cold Mold. I wonder if they have an affiliate program? 😉 I’d accept supplies!

And here are the first few out of the mold… They do require a bit of re-sculpting and cleanup. And if you notice, I altered the angle of the ears and such on a couple of them. Even from the same mold, they’re never quite the same 🙂

Stay tuned for the painting…

 

Here are some of the dragons everyone made in my dragon class a couple weeks ago. They all came out amazing. Click on the thumbnails to see the images at a larger size.
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img_6320Three of my pieces are on display at this juried show, including my new green sea turtle.

He’s all spiffed up and mounted on a wooden block that I hand stained to coordinate with his shell.

“Fur, Feathers, Fins”
April 7 to April 30, 2017
Wickford Art Association
Wickford, RI

It’s a wonderful collection of animal themed art and well worth stopping by if you get a chance. One of my favorite shows at the gallery. There were so many pieces I’d love to take home 🙂

 
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