Friday, June 27, 2014

Shadow Box #17 ~ Inside and Outside Series ~ “The Little Man In The House With Much Heart”

The idea for this one started with the painting fragment that serves as the fa├žade of the house. It is part of an acrylic painting I did a while ago. (I used another piece of this painting for Shadow Box # 11 ~ “The Heart Has Its Reasons”.) The holes were part of the original painting, and when I cut this piece to fit into the space, the large hole suggested a door. That led to the idea of the little man.

The little man is a spinoff of the 365 project series (2012), namely the projects that called for making something out of materials of all the same color. I made a series of horses using wadded up newspaper as a supporting structure, then covering that with fabric and wrapping it with yarn. At that time, I had thought of trying to make little human figures. The little man didn’t want arms, or even much of a distinctive head, for that matter. But we know he is a little man.

The heart in the window is made of painted Sculpey.
The inside is lined with a drawing on Bristol board. It shows the wallpaper in the house and the sky, the outside walls and the little front yard with stepping stone walkway. I painted the outside frame with colors that match those on the inside walls.

The black frame around the opening is mat board with the title of the piece, plus some decorative do-dads in colored pencil. All coated with acrylic gel medium.

This shadow box is 8” X 8”. Granted, it’s a bit silly, but I love it. I don’t think it’s an accident that when I started making it a few nights ago I was listening to On Being with Krista Tippett (WV Public Radio) and her guest was Dr. Stuart Brown, a “pioneer in the research on play”.

The little man will be back, I’m pretty sure. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shadow Box #16 ~ Inside and Outside Series ~ "Morning and the Leaning Trees"

Number 16, 10" X 10". Started with the drawing of the trees, which I did on a beautiful spring morning, before anything had leafed out very much. I was sitting in our field with my friends Stan and Judy, who were also sketching. We all did different things. The arrangement of these trees is what caught my eye. It's a graphite and charcoal drawing which I later boosted a bit with acrylic.

The frame around the drawing is watercolor paper painted with acrylic. I painted the reverse side blue before cutting and folding the window opening. The sticks, painted black and gathered with a wrap of fabric and thread, are resting on a piece of rice paper painted with ink. There are some touches of gold paint and two beads tied into the thread. The rice paper is adhered to the watercolor paper with acrylic gel, which coats that whole surface.

Just behind all that is a piece of canvas painted blue and behind that is some natural tone Thai banana paper on the surface of the box.

Around the inside edges are drawings of trees in colored pencil on the Bristol board that lines the shadow box.

Carved wood pieces, with, in each corner, small pieces of watercolor paper, painted with acrylic and edged with gold, frame the opening. The surface of the frame was sanded after painting. It and the carved wood is coated with polyurethane.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shadow Box #15 ~ Inside and Outside Series ~ "The Bunny and the Berry Tree"

This is a small one, 6" X 6". There is a 3" square piece of canvas in the very back, and the charcoal and acrylic painting of the tree is on that. Standing out in front of the canvas is a piece of watercolor paper painted with acrylic and watercolor, with an open window cut and folded open to reveal the painting. The bunny is made of Sculpey and painted with acrylic. The frame on the front surface is paper painted with acrylic and fastened to the wood shadow box with acrylic gel medium.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Shadow Box #14 ~ Inside and Outside Series ~ "The Story the Black Bird Told"


The idea for this one came to me when the forsythia was blooming earlier this year. I thought it would be striking to have a black bird on a stem of bright yellow forsythia. By the time I got around to doing the drawing, the early spring flowers were long gone and I didn't feel the urge to put them in, but the black bird stayed.

The box is 12" X 16". The composition is based on the proportions of the golden spiral (as was the animal series I did last year). The branch just above the bird's head is the arc of the longest part of the spiral, then the spiral continues into the other sections on the right, ending in the most colorful section just right and under center. 

The drawing of the bird started with charcoal and white acrylic paint, then watercolor, then acrylic, pastel and colored pencil. It is covered with acrylic gel medium. I like the smears and the "weathered" texture. The snake at the top, in colored pencil, is there, frankly, because the golden spiral proportions didn't quite fit in the frame, so I added the snake in the space left over. 
The "wall" between the large section and the two smaller sections is wood. There is a carved edge, and on black bird side I've used metal letter stamps to write out a little story, made up by looking for nouns at random in the dictionary and inserting them into a simple, 3-sentence story structure. The panel was painted black then sanded to reveal the carved edge texture and the stamped words. 

The top section here is raw canvas with charcoal and watercolor to emphasize its section of the spiral. A "window", made of watercolor and acrylic-painted paper reveals the canvas behind it. The sections are divided by black mat board with colored pencil designs, finished with acrylic medium. The "ceiling" has stars incised into the Bristol board then revealed by coloring over it with blue colored pencil. The striped wall to the right is pencil also.

The black bird's "package" is made from rice paper painted with ink, over a small painted dowel and a painted stick with thread connecting them. A roll of paper on the front is tied with thread.
This last, tightest part if the spiral is mainly colored pencil. There are alternating painted nails and sticks laid out and following the outside arc. The little insect pod in the front is preserved with acrylic medium. It was a careful job to apply it to the papery surface with a tiny brush! It sits on Thai banana paper.

The outside frame is carved, painted and sanded wood. 

That's it! That's all!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Shadow Box #13 ~ Inside and Outside Series ~ Where We Throw The Bones

The inspiration for this one came on a morning in May, fog in the hollow, the sun lighting it from behind, the trees fading more and more as they recede in the background.

The shadow box is 10" X 10". The trees are done in colored pencil and acrylic on Bristol board, which, like the others, has been glued into the frame, wrapping all 4 sides. A carved "beam" stretches across the middle and supports a tiny land snail shell, painted black. A small rock underneath on the "floor". I made a black frame of mat board strips and drew a design on them with colored pencil. Last thing was to add the seed pods in the corners. They are coated with acrylic gel medium.

The title is "Where We Throw The Bones" because this scene is just across the driveway from our kitchen door and that's where I put the chicken bones for the foxes.