Friday, May 13, 2016

Work In Progress

I started another assemblage piece called "The Remains of Love" and it started off great with separate pieces somehow just fitting together like magic. A pile of plastic bones...a cobbled-together Cupid...a very old photo of a bride and groom...

To say I  am a novice at this "art" thing is a big understatement. I'm getting better, but am still figuring out what supplies do (and don't) play well together.

The first mishap was learning that the adhesive I used to attach a bisque doll to a metal piece failed when a rusting agent was applied. There was some cursing, but I got over it.
The bisque figure was missing its arms
Originally, this was going to be a harpy but the arrows made me think Cupid

The second mishap was the glitter texture I wanted over the plastic bones. For some reason, the acrylic paint I used just didn't want to stick to the plastic. Never had this problem before, it was frustrating. Then the glitter was too big and totally camouflaged the bones to make them look like sparkly blobs. The smaller glitter just wouldn't stick.
Plastic bones nestled in a glob of Aves Apoxie
Too white and "clean"

Next, the stain I applied to the borders of the photo reacted badly with the crackle effect. I tried different stains over top to lessen the "damage" but I think I just need to accept it for what it is.
Needed to balance the colors more

The crackle really didn't play well with the white stain over the photo

The darkness of the photo and the Cupid were too jarring next to the lovely white bones so I added a copper pearl, which looked too peachy. Adding paint over it just made a pale terracotta hue that I didn't care for. Next came gold and bronze accents and finally black ink dry brushed over everything to tone it all down. I'm still not 100% pleased and will be attacking it again this weekend.
Too gold

I'm learning and storing all of these mini disasters away in my "Do Not Try This" section of the ol' brain. The final product will be up for grabs in my Etsy store careybeecrafts.etsy.com

Toned down and deciding placement for more adornments

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Perils of Being a Mermaid

I've been working on quite a few artsy projects lately and have posted a few on my Etsy store for sale. One that I'm really proud of is "The Perils of Being a Mermaid."

This piece started when I found two old wooden drawers at an antique fair. $8 for the pair was just the right price, even if I didn't know what I'd do with them. The next thing I found was a really neat antique Arthur Court picture frame with wonderful details of seaweed, fish, and shells. It was broken so I think I only paid $6 for it. While wandering around a few antique malls in Southern Illinois, I stumbled upon a bag of three antique bisque figurines for $4 and the mermaid inside was just what I was looking for!
A humble beginning
With the basics covered, I decided to add some texture to the background with molding paste. With a paint knife, I added some lines in hopes they would look like ripples in the water. I used Tim Holtz Distress Stain.
Making the depths
I almost left the frame and mermaid alone, but they looked disjointed against the blue-green background. For the mermaid, I coated her in Sophisticated Finishes to give her a rusted iron look. After that, what I did was all trial and error. There were alcohol inks and acrylic paint and a glossy coat...I might have used the stains too.

I was afraid to touch the frame because I didn't want it to look just like a slapped a coat of paint on it. I wanted the metal to shine through. I put a bit of alcohol ink on a Q-tip and painted a very tiny portion of it and fell in love. The metal still looked metallic, but it was almost like Black Hills Gold. I "painted" the remaining parts of the frame in different colors and love the way it turned out.

Alcohol inks on metal
Next I had to create my monster. At first I wanted to make my own octopus, but I don't have that much talent so I scoured craft stores and toy aisles for a beast. As luck would have it, I found a bag of sea creatures. I put the octopus behind the frame but it just looked dull. It needed something. Then I spied the large crab and knew what to do. I cut the claws from the toy crab and chopped of four of the octupus' tentacles. I used pieces of metal wire to hold the claws in place and molded Aves Apoxie to join the parts together. After the clay cured, I painted the whole beast black. The tentacles and bumps of the claws were painted a raspberry color and I coated the entire monster with a gold sheen.
The sea monster protecting his mermaid
The piece was nearly done, but it needed something. I went through some tumbled stones and pulled out anything that had a peachy/rosy hue. I remembered I had bought an anchor pendant for another project and added alcohol inks to it to give it a watery, rusty feel. It was still missing something. After searching through my bin of bits and pieces, I found two corroded pieces of trim.
Corroded trim
 Every time I look at this piece, I am surprised that I created it and how all the little pieces I bought "for something" went together so perfectly.
The finished piece
I'll be sad to part with this piece, but I'm sure it will find a good home.

Closer view