Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Larger assemblage and other logistical nightmares part 2

Welcome Everyone,
In my last blog post I left you on an artistic cliffhanger. Recall that the "Bowl of Skulls " commission was looking just a little moldy.  Too much green-way too much green.  I then concluded what might correct this was some rust.  At the end of the post I was trying to gather my courage because I was afraid that I would totally ruin 6 weeks worth of work.  You can see the finished work above.  I think my initial assessment was correct and the inclusion of rust was the best thing I could have done.  The rust color broke up all that moldy green and really made the skeletal parts the focus. It also helped the beautiful shape of this bowl and the decoration at the top stand out more.
A spoonful of skulls is a fun little statement but this much larger piece really stands out and is very intense.  For some it will be too intense.  To soften the intensity and because I love the contrast of the ugly and beautiful I decided to add some jewelry type elements in the form of beads.  I stated in the previous post that the wire was both functional and decorative.  I wove the wire in and around the skeletal parts for support and added beads on the wire for beauty. Kind of like life isn't it?  Amidst all the ugliness of life there is always beauty to be found.

I also decided to add a pendant in the shape of a bent and rusty spoon and added wire and beads around that too. Here is the pendant.
I liked adding as the pendant another kitchen implement and thought it brought just the right touch as a decorative element as well. 
To  finish the work I glued a bit of felt to the back of the bowl so that it won't mar my buyers paint job and added a clear sealer to the entire piece.  Note to anyone using these products: the clear sealer will change the finish and color of both the rust and patina just a little.  It makes the finish a little less rough and crumbly. 
I learned alot from this project. First: large assemblages can be a logistical nightmare.  But the nightmare can be overcome by patience and a little courage.  Second: trust my instincts-they are almost always correct.
In summation: I really love this piece.  Now to see what the buyer says: will this be the piece she thought she commissioned or will it be too intense to hang on her wall?
Your guess is as good as mine but wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The larger assemblage and other logistical nightmares

Welcome to my logistical nightmare.
And yes its a bowl full of skulls and bones. 
But let me digress just a little.  Some time ago an art buddy of mine purchased a spoon from me dripping with skulls.  You can see it below. 

This piece consists of a vintage silver spoon, with skulls and beads epoxied to it. Over this I used a two part metallic paint and green patina. I really like the way this piece came together and called it " Serving Death." My art buddy liked it so well that she commissioned a larger piece to go with it-a bowl in the same vein. A large bowl.
No problem-right? 
First finding just the right bowl was not that easy.  But I finally purchased the silver bowl above at the Alemany flea market.  For some reason it just screamed "bowl full of skulls!" to me.  I also really liked the shell shape and the ornament on top that turned the entire shape into a tear drop rather than a circle.
The next problem with the piece? Getting a skeleton and skulls large enough to fit the scale.  And yes I am missing one large articulated Halloween skeleton these days. That skeleton has sacrificed some of its parts for the greater good-art that is.
Now that I had all the parts and the bowl most of my time was spent just preparing the metal surface.
Yikes!  just creating the tooth by sanding took two days!   then there was the rustable metal primer and three coats of metallic surfacer. I also drilled some holes and inserted metal wire through the bowl. The wire serves two functions: to keep the epoxy and parts from succumbing to gravity and it would also add a decorative effect.
After all the prep I spent another week just composing and positioning the skeletal parts into a pleasing composition. This was not easy because I was determined to use that wonderful ribcage and I wanted the skull to "smile".  Since the bowl is rounded fitting everything in together was impossible so I resorted to hacking off skull and ribcage parts using a cutoff wheel and my dremel. Ladies with power tools baby!
After the hacking was completed it was now time to epoxy all the parts in the bowl. Note to self: Epoxy doesn't go very far and is expensive. I wanted this composition to look almost archaeological-
like the bones were being dug up. So needless to say I used alot of extra epoxy in and around the composition.  And I was pleased with the end result if not with the $50.00 I spent to get it.
After the epoxy was totally cured it was time to add two to three more coats of metallic surfacer and then the part that really made me nervous-the green patina. Since I had to match the original piece I was forced to use a green patina that is very tempermental and a color I would never use on a larger piece of art.  (the blue patina is much easier to use by the way)  
When the green patina was on and dried I was devastated.  True to its tempermental nature the green patina was mottled and the color uneven. As my panic increased all I could think of was that I just spent 6 weeks on this piece and now it was ruined!   Yikes!  I have no idea how to fix this moldy looking mess!  
But there must be a way!   Think!
Wait I just gave myself the key to maybe fixing this piece "moldy looking". That's it!  This piece is just too green.  Too much green!
Ok Connie-take a deep breath! Have some faith in your artistic vision. 
Find your courage.
Its time to add some rust! Keep your fingers crossed guys and say a little prayer for me-I think I need it.
Come back in a couple of days to see if my idea works and some rust can save this piece.