It is SO annoying when you mess up a piece that you like and has been going well - really really annoying. So much so that it is tempting to stay safe and not risk something you are not sure about. But then this would mean you never grow and find new ideas - and most cock-ups can be recovered ... ask me how I know!! So in that spirit ..
Hopefully you remember this piece from an earlier blog post? - we left it blocking on the design wall many weeks ago - and that is where it has stayed until the last week, when I finally got it off the wall and transported to Wales with me. It looks quite vibrant in the image, as it is till wet, but when it dried, the images had been knocked back quite a bit from all the stitching, and needed the imagery pulling out again. So out with the neocolour 1. These are water resistant (unlike neocolour 2), so I can use them secure in the knowledge that they wont start running when I seal this piece with matt medium. The set below are actually called 'portrait' - but to my mind they are just perfect for my coast piece
I like to work slowly (well - slowly-ish .. it is still me after all) and just re-intensify the colours - starting with gorgeous Dixter ... darks first
then lighter greys
and then working into his dad - again darks first
all four images needed pulling back to the foreground
I also used the neocolour to start blending the edges of the images with the surrounding collage
this is really effective in helping to make the piece flow nicely ..
I like to take the surrounds into the photos and the photos out into the surround - using the old finger to blend and soften
hers is a before and after of the same section - hopefully you think the latter is more integrated ..
so all going well at this stage so I coated the whole piece in a 50:50 mix of matt medium and acrylic wax
Maybe I should have bound and mounted this at this point ... but I felt it was still just too flat for me (i know I know ) .. and the other pieces in this series had appliqued grasses around the edges before mounting. This would also have worked on here, but having done it twice, I was bored of that idea (more I knows) .. so decided to try something different. I had some more images taken on the day, of bare branches and skeletal grasses (it was Christmas Day)
and thought these could make a good border design. I also didn't want to add them as applique again (boredom threshold of a knat here) so decided to draw them on with water resistant artist pencils ... I have quite a few ...
using the photos for inspiration I started drawing in branches along the edges - farts quite softly (this should say first ... but I loved the spello suggestion too much to remove it)
then firming up a bit with black
seems to be looking ok I think ...
one of the joys of coating with acrylic mediums, is you can then erase pencil lines made on top .. so adjustment quite possible
I added branches right up the left
then tried some out on the bottom right
which seemed to balance things out, so I darkened them and reduced the height a bit on the left
Dixter assisted throughout with hints and ideas ... not
and got to this point - not 100% happy ...
... so decided to over-stitch all those branches
I also added some of the grasses in a wheat coloured rayon .... very delicate
and reached this point ...
and had a good look at things ... hmmmm ... delicate grasses completely overpowered and branches looking very thorny and actually a bit sinister and dominant ... oh.
At this point, I was completely uncertain what to do next - if anything - and frankly, very pissed off too - so left it for a couple of days. Came back and confirmed for myself that I needed to knock back those branches - a lot. Now you may not agree - and it is easy in this situation to spend days agonising over what others might think, especially when you have become a little uncertain yourself. But I always say when teaching that it does not matter at all what anyone else thinks - only yourself .. and this piece was no longer about Sanctuary for me - it had mixed messages. Another option would have been to keep it for a different theme - maybe one looking at danger and safety; security and insecurity .. but I wanted this to be a happy piece about a lovely day - so I got out my branch altering kit ..
opaque setacolour paints and I mixed up a lovely pale blue/grey colour
and subdued the beasts ...
definitely less threatening
all softened and my boys are safe again
all this terrifying stuff had knocked the colour out of the lads a bit - so they got another colour up - with pencil this time
and I am happy again ...
I shall now add lots more soft grasses in beiges and a few metallic threads ... and then I think I shall stop!! So although I did think I had really spoilt a nice piece - it is always recoverable in someway - and frequently more interesting than before your botch-up ... well I think so anyway ...
As ever - very long post and I was going to tell you about Freddy the gelliping flounder and house moves too - but I'll save them for next time ... here is a quick preview ..
what a boy!! ... thanks for visiting .. talk again soon xx