Monday, October 29, 2012

Dreams of Flying

This work entitled Dreams of Flying began with searching through mary Joe's Fabric store in Gastonia N.C. for a heavy duty fabric with texture and a feeling of age.  I decided upon a fabric, purchased it and brought it home.  The fabric was a light grey, heavy duty, linen with text sown in a dark textured thread.  For my taste the color was all wrong, but I couldn't deny the date 1756 sown in and the over all feel of age from the script.  

The first thing I did was stretch the new fabric over an existing canvas.  Then it was my task to change the color of the fabric.  After layers of thinned out acrylic paints, used more like a stain than a paint, I felt the background color would work.  After painting the background, I covered the entire piece with a layer of acrylic medium to seal the fabric.

I actually cut numerous stencils intending on using them on this work, but after experimenting with them, I learned the fabric was not rigid enough for my stencil process and thought about other ideas.  My wife Cara is a gifted seamstress in addition to her many other talents.  I found she had a collection of fabric scraps and I wanted this French looking red on white patterned fabric for my art. 

I then collected images of flying birds and cut them out to use as stencils for my fabric birds.  Cara helped with this because it was the first time I was cutting fabric to use in a mixed media artwork.  10 birds later and it was time to attach the birds to the canvas.  the first went on very slowly, hand stitched and sealed with acrylic medium.  after it dried I realized the acrylic sealed the fabric well enough that I didn't believe I needed to hand sew the birds on.  the other nine birds were attached by first laying down a layer of acrylic medium onto the canvas, then onto the back of the birds, and then to seal them on, I painted the medium once or twice more on top.  

In addition to attaching the fabric, the acrylic also seals dirt and dust out of the fabric so that the painting could be cleaned much more easily if something were to splash onto it.

I had the birds and I had the back ground, but the birds didn't pop. I painted around every bird with burnt umber acrylic paint to outline each one.  I blended the paint into the background to prevent the appearance of a simple contour line.

I liked it and for an hour or so, I thought I might be finished.  Then I went on and saw that today Google was honoring Bob Ross, the famous painter who painted on P.B.S. in The Joy of Painting.  I clicked on the image and was brought to a page of Bob Ross links.  I clicked onto the youtube tab and found the very first video was Bob Ross painting clouds.  That led me on an extravaganza of watching one video on cloud painting after another.  I moved from one artist to another and found one I liked very much.  He is an artist named Tim Gagnon.  I will embed one of his videos at the bottom.

Ultimately, I painted clouds and found myself very pleased. The last thing I need to do is build a frame and trim the fabric strands hanging off the edge.

I hope you like it.  If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them! 

Tim Gagnon's video: