Friday, October 19, 2007

Little Rascals

Little Rascals measures 21"X27.5" and is the final third piece of part I Nature Series. The goal was to achieve depth in the knothole of a tree. In Little Boy Blue, I came close to achieving depth but shadows were not present to really carry out the theme, also the bark on the tree was not as realistic as I had hoped. Screech had bark that was more realistic but the depth was not there. Little Rascals started out with a layer of commercial cotton as a backdrop. Using strips of commercial, hand dyed and upholstery fabric cut on the bias, I began laying over color starting with light highlights (top right) and working clockwise to medium and then dark shades and back to medium (top left). Once the coloring was right, I began texturizing the bark with hand dyed cheesecloth in the same manner as described previously all the while blending to avoid any hard lines. Sheer crinkled fabrics. fibers and dyed tatting was added followed by dyed lutradur that had been zapped with a heat gun to build the surface up. Still, I felt the bottom left corner needed something to weigh it down both in color and texture so I added pipe cleaners that had been wrapped with dyed cheesecloth and couched them down on the surface, a wonderful trick I learned from Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn's Trees As A Theme. For the knothole, I used a commercial cotton that similated wood grain, a rust dyed black fabric for shading, black lacy tulle as well as brown tulle to impart depth in the hole. The raccoons' bodies were appliqued and machine embroidered to give the illusion of texture and depth. Next, I turned my focus on those Little Rascals. Working from a sketch, I enlarged and printed their faces on cotton and painted them with Tsukineko inks. Having come from a five day workshop with Hollis Chatellain, I was encouraged to try shading with her wonderful Living Colors thread line from Superior. On each of their faces, I used about 20 different thread colors to convey shadows and highlight in their fur. Eyes were painted with shiny black and specks of white for highlights. Their heads were layered with 2 layers of batting and backed with the same material as their bodies and strategically tacked down to allow them to "pop" out of their hole. Side edges were bound in a pillow case style binding while top and bottom edges were left rugged to carry on the texture of the tree bark. I think I finally achieved the depth I was looking for in this series and am moving on to part II of Nature Series where I will focus on negative space. I've already started on my sketch of Ruby, a beautiful red macaw perched on a branch where I can play with negative space in the tree branches. I'm thinking some Angelina fibers are definitely in the works!!!