Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mail Me Art 4: Open All Hours - Celestial Convergence

Hi there!

Today, I'll be sharing with you a small piece I created for Darren Di Lieto's Mail Me Art: Open All Hours show/book. 

Last year I had taken part in Mail Me Art: Short & Sweet and I was quite excited to get to work on my piece for the 4th installment of this mail art exhibition project. I had several ideas rolling around in my brain for what I might want to illustrate, but in the end something convinced me to integrate a part of the book project I'm working on right now into this piece.

You see, recently I've been working on creating characters, scenes, props, and much more based on Norwegian folktales and Norse artwork. I was really enjoying the research but I've become a little stuck in the sketching stage - not feeling quite satisfied with what I've been producing to take things into the painting stage. What I did feel confident about was designing patterns and decorative motifs, so I decided to choose one and bring it to completion. Luckily, my MMA4 submission was still untouched, so I decided to use it as an additional incentive to push out some finished work I could share. The theme was "Open All Hours" so I chose to go with a sun and moon motif, to connect to the concept of continuity I inferred from the theme.

And here's what I ended up creating:

I've fancily called it "Celestial Convergence".

Approximate dimensions: 6 x 6 inches (14.8 x 14.8cm)
Media: Gouache + ink pen + gold acrylic paint

And here's how it all came together:
1. I started with a pencil doodle in my sketchbook
2. Then I turned my ideas into vector shapes and lines in Adobe Illustrator. (This was the final line-work after many experiments with scaling of the different elements)
3. Played around with potential colour schemes. I knew I wanted gold and silver like colours for the design and I fiddled with the hues till I felt they were 'right' and would look good against numerous background colours.
4. After choosing to work with a dark blue background for this project, I properly knotted my foreground lines.
5. Then knotted my background lines into the foreground ones and applied some watercolour paper texture over everything to give the piece a more traditional look.

And this is approximately what I planned to paint on the paper that was provided to all the Mail Me Art 4 artists. The only changes I had planned to make was to add an additional outline in black around all line elements and perhaps add some subtle shading for more volume and depth in the background. 

But that wasn't going to happen apparently.
After I inked my piece of paper I took out my colour inks and mixed my first colour. The paper looked nice and thick, like the paper I usually used, and since there was no extra test paper provided I was really hoping everything would be fine. Nope, no such luck. When I applied my ink it became blotchy and I realized I'd have to re-strategize.

After some deliberation, I decided to rethink my colour palette a bit and leave the background white.
Something along the lines of this, except I would make my painted version have a golden and silver shine or shimmer.
I pulled out my gouache paints and painted the base colours.

Then I used my 0.05 micron pen and added some stippling in black around the outside of the elements.
To finish off, I decided to use some gold acrylic paint to go over top of the darker yellow gouache and add some stippling on the sun. I also used some white paint to do a little stippling over the lavender-grey areas. I decided to not use silver paint because my brain at the moment was shouting "less is more!".
Side by side comparison of the two resulting images.
In the end, I was pretty content with the piece and enjoyed it's more delicate and detailed look. The scanner doesn't really do it justice because it can neither show the sheen of the gold as the light hits it, nor the chameleon quality the gouache has. Depending on the light, it can go from appearing light grey, to slightly lavender-grey, to a more saturated lavender. Here are some photos to show you what I mean:

Oooh, shiny!

And here's one more shot of this mail art piece being sent off. 

In the silliness of holding my umbrella, whilst also holding the painting and trying to take a photo, I didn't realize that I was on the verge of pushing it through a crack, rather than the proper slot. A slot which I needed more hands than I had to hold open and photo-document the process. Alas...

Hopefully it'll make it to its destination without damage. =) To find out more about Mail Me Art please check out the Mail Me Art website.

Be well my friends!

***Nov 7th Update: I'm happy to report that my mail art piece made it to its destination. Unfortunately, for some reason the mail service decided to print that bar code on the front, However, it now forever carries the processing date. At least it didn't get lost! Check out the other arrived mail art works here!

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