Sunday, September 13, 2009

New techniques for Live Debris project

I'm working on some new Mandala Spinners for the upcoming Live Debris event which opens Saturday, September 19. The installations will be up through September 26.

For this project, I have collaborated with fellow Trillium Artisan Anitra Cameron of Coffee Pot People. She helped me figure out how to mount my painted records onto metal "stems" and provided me with a treasure trove of vintage radio knobs which I will be using to hold the records in place on the stick. She also gave me the idea of cutting and shaping the records to make them like pinwheels.

I've been working on this for the last couple of weeks and am getting very excited about it! It has been way too long since I've made anything totally new. If these survive the installation, I am hoping they will be a new product for Eye Pop Art - finally, I will have a garden art product!

I don't have any pictures of the finished products yet (because they aren't finished!) but I wanted to share my new painting technique because I am super happy with it. It is making it much easier and faster for me to paint the records.

After priming the record, I simply draw the design with a black Sharpie.

Then, I paint right over the design with my acrylic paints. I add gel blending medium to each color in order to make it dry slowly so that I can blend the colors together without them getting all chunky. Then I add a good deal of water to the paint to make it nice and thin and transparent. I am going for a watercolor-type "wash." This keeps the paint from obscuring the design underneath.Once I've laid on all my colors, I use a clean brush to blend the edges where the colors meet. This gives it a soft, blended look. It also makes the records look amazing when they are spinning, especially the ones with the swirling rainbow designs.

I love this process because it is SO much less time-consuming than my usual method, which involves drawing a design, painting it, and then outlining the design with black paint using a small brush. That takes forever. I'm really pleased about discovering this time-saving alternative.

The next step for me is to cut and bend the edges of the painted records to form them into pinwheels, and mount them onto the metal stems. I'll have 12 of them planted at the Eastbank Esplanade (east end of the Hawthorne Bridge) starting next Saturday.

I hope you can make it down to see them along with lots of other cool art and activities, including a Dandelion Bench by my friend Tim Combs of the Reclamation Project, and all kinds of other great stuff to help promote the wonderful concept of making art from discarded materials.

Check it out! All the info about Live Debris is here.

Here are some more photos of my process:

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