In a post a while back I mentioned that the owner of the corner market has been kind enough to give me (by the dozen!) Swisher Sweet boxes. They are the most durable of all cigarillo boxes - sturdy enough to withstand paint, sanding and gluing, but without the complexity of a wood cigar box.
Textured backgrounds are my most favorite part of creating. I've benefited from so many others' blogs,articles in magazines and books, workshops and tutorials... I decided to document and share my process.
After a light sanding and coat of gesso, spotty pumice gel and some molding paste, I sort through the (exponentially growing piles) scraps left from previous projects and I save even the smallest bit so I don't have to do much ripping. Golden's Clear Tar Gel is so great for gluing, a habit I formed long ago, though there is likely a better (cheaper!) adhesive?
It's actually cool to look at this photo and see history, tissue, strip from a wedding piece, part of a teabag folio, text and other scraps - always pieces of wholey paper, acquired from my wonderful friend Saluda Jane - that remind me of earlier projects.
Usually I start with one of the colors in the palette that I have in mind for the piece, but I decided that a warm gray would be interesting so I could go in any, or many directions. If anyone is interested in finding a good warm shade of gray let me know because I had to search!
I seldom use the red family and when I did, I quickly realized that I wanted to brighten it up, incorporate some contrast so next came the yellows - Qinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold, Naples and Mars Yellows...
By far the most appealing aspect of painting is that if you end up with what looks like leftover pizza, or just don't like the direction your color is taking, a wash of Titan Buff is an amazing remedy!
I took that opportunity to add another layer of papers and texture and went more in the bronze direction. Liquitex makes small bottles of coppery and bronze colors that are iridescent but not as shimmery as Lumiere.
This time around I ended up with a deep red and earthy brown and, though decidedly different from others I've done, I liked it after a bit of tweaking.
Next the treasure hunt, which given enough time and patience, can be rewarding all on its own. I see a scrap of paper - below to the left - that came from my pal Alicia at Altered Bits quite some time ago... though we are often fairly isolated as artists I find that being surrounded by friends' supplies, scraps, gifts and works of art is most companionable.
Narrowing it down is the hardest part; deciding what message or feeling I want to impart often requires quite a bit of thought, one process I try to avoid in the studio. It's a sharp departure from the playing with color and texture and I can easily get hung up on details that really don't matter, as design can be every bit intuitive. I think that is the question I'd most like to ask every artist I know - at what point do conscious choices move to the forefront... are they preconceived in sketches, or determined while beginning of the piece?
I layered papers, mica, ribbon and added a handmade paper heart, bits of papers and lace, a small spoon... this gift will be in the mail soon and hopefully the hours I spent will seep from the box, enveloping the recipient with my love!