It's been awhile since I worked on this series of little paintings (5 x 7"). Had to make something with more immediate results than the laborious scritch-scritch-scritch of needle felting.
Choosing to think of it as "Creative Cross-Training".
Prepped the canvas with acrylic ooze and a page from the phone book, a technique learned from a Claudine Hellmuth book on making altered art. It's an interesting place to start an image, so I'm allowing this background dictate what shape, etc., the girl will take. It's like playing a game.
Pencil & gouache for the image. I like gouache for several reasons. The most important being that I had some on hand. Also: can act as a watercolor, or it can be opaque. Versatility, baby. Used some watered-down white acrylic for the highlights.
EXTREEEEEME CLOSE-UP! The title for this painting, "Local Girl", is because a local street map from the Yellow Pages was used as the background.
Lately I've been drawn to hand puppets. Been seeing them in puppet film shorts, at the flea market, and in a documentary about the artist Paul Klee, who made over 50 of them for his son.
I love making finger puppets, but there is so much more STUFF I want to be able to do, to be able to put into & onto the character, and all this requires a "bigger canvas". A hand puppet seems to the perfect blend of "doll" and "actor", with an added theatrical benefit of movement in head AND hands.
I wanted to make some.
So I am.
I wrapped a sheet (maybe 1 foot in length?) of aluminum foil around the thicker end of a tapered candlestick for the neck (to allow for finger space & cloth?), and lightly scrunched the remainder of the foil into a head ball.
At first I tried using a papier mache product that I had on hand to create the "skin". I had had much success with this method in the past when I'd made some Santa head ornaments.
For some reason, this time, the product was not cooperating, and fell off in sheets when I'd get a section done. Frustrating.
Then I remembered a Crayola product called Model Magic, which is easy to mold, is lightweight (avoid the Finger Fatigue that comes from using solid marble), dries within 24 hours, and can be painted, etc. It comes in a variety of colors, but I opted for white. I don't care for the uniformity that comes with a solid color -- too cheezy? too plastic-y? -- so I will use paint, etc. to get the look I want.
After these dry completely, I'll give them a coat of gesso to smooth out any transition between the blorb of a feature and the face/hand. Also, want a better "bed" for the paint to lie on. Don't know if this gesso step is required, but I'm a good one for adding unnecessary steps. It's what I do. It's who I am.
These hands were made by wrapping an armature of aluminum foil around the candlestick (the "wrists"), leaving about an 1.5" of foil up top -- the "fingers". To make these, snip into the foil 4 times for 5 fingers, & pull the thumb down into his rightful place. Gently pinch these foil fringes into finger shapes. Doing this gives the fingers more dimensionality, and makes them thinner -- remember that the Model Magic will add mass. Used the side of an Exacto knife to make creases, nails.
Foil is a good armature. It's cheap; it's easy to shape; it gets your basic shape made, which conserves your "skin" material.