Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pieces of Fortune

I promised I wouldn't tease too much with the current box canvas, so above you will see what I started with. A transparency (which I had never used before) the toned and somewhat collaged canvas and some pieces of Paperclay, stamped and painted. My original intent was the girl on the front, the large clay piece in front of her --like she was emerging from it, and the two small pieces on the side.
That did not work, so off I went to the back.
I had built up layer after layer of color, laying in, rubbing off, to get the depth and patina shown here. This is not an exact science in any way. The back was originally painted 50's aqua with the inner band of the wood being bubblegum pink. Why? They make good colors as bases to add a different tone to the colors that follow. I also had, in the process of rooting about, found a page of butterflies that were the right color and size for the piece, so out came the scissors and away we went.
I rubber stamp with Golden fluid acrylics; they dry almost immediately, do quirky things I cannot control and love how they mix (or don't, as the case may be) with the other paints. They will fade away or provide good contrast depending on the amount of paint applied.
BE WARNED! Those stamps must be cleaned IMMEDIATELY and with a soft brush and paint soap, or the acrylic in on there forever.
The side gives an idea of how many colors were used, some over and over, building the appearance of age and wear. There is no simple recipe for this; it is just practise and patience and experimentation. Yes, after a while you know that this paint will do *this* or you want a particular dark for the edges, but most of it is trust and time to let it happen.

Some German glass glitter ended up in the bottom of the recess; I am not sure why, I just knew it needed to be there to complete the feel. There are also fragments of gold leaf on the inner edges of the wood, not visible in this photo but in the one from the previous post.

And here is how the front changed from my original thoughts! The transparency was sprayed with workable fixative on both sides, then the back was loosely painted with a mix of collage medium and light gold fluid acrylic. It made a shimmering but transparent layer that literally brought the image to life! I found the edges too dark and harsh, so took a nail file (the soft paper ones from the dollar stores) and sanded away some of the ink in the upper portion of the figure, and selectively sanded a bit inside the figure as well. The resulting image was what I wanted. Then it was a matter of tinkering, again, with layers of paint and applying butterflies, which were originally coated with Nickel Azo Gold but then toned down once on the canvas. Everything was pulling together in a most amazing way!

I had decided that *something* of significance needed to be above the butterfly, and then knew the back called for the clay panel. The wishbone is one I have had for years, cleaned, whitened and laying in the bowl of pearls, awaiting the right piece to go in. And it definitely was this one. Although it may not show, it is suspended from a twisted piece of dark copper wire, and the copper ties in with the other warm, orangey colors used. It balances the heaviness of the clay panel at the bottom. The side pieces of clay were not used---in this incarnation, they had no place.
I have not titled the piece yet, though I am favoring something along the lines of "The Ghost of Fortune's Souls" or anything reasonably close. Suggestions are welcome---I may pick and choose words.
I hate to brag, but this is one of the most delightful pieces to hold in your hands and turn over and over, enjoying all the detail, much of which cannot be seen here. But I hope I have provided enough for you to see, enjoy, move along with the process and maybe let your next project guide you as opposed to you trying to guide it.
May fortune guide you! Make art!


Linda Moran said...

This is amazing - I had no idea of the number of layers used, and the different types of paints, and the sanding, and everything else....Seeing the process is making me look at collage in a whole different way, and I'm loving it (as Maxwell Smart would say....)

Val May said...

Anne, Seeing this in person yesterday was fabulous. Next to your Buddha boxes this is my favorite, SO FAR !LOL! It's so good I think you need to make 2 or 3 more very similar to it :~)

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...


All collage is different; it takes time to seek out different types and find what speaks to YOU.
Mine, of course, is excessive and anal.......ahem!.......but usually I'm pretty happy with the results. I have favorites; this is definitely one of them.
Of course, I'm revealing all these secret paint methods under the "Cone of Silence"!!!!! LOL!!!!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...


Is that a HINT???? Somebody better start eating a LOT of Cornish Hens so I can get more of the little wishbones!!! (and those little buggers have gotten expensive...not like they used to be)
I have two more canvasses gessoed; have no idea what they will be. It will come to me!

Leslie said...

I can save Cornish Hen wishbones for you, that's what we eat instead of turkey.

Hey, that's gorgeous.

Hey, you own me some art...

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Save me them bones!
And yes, I do recall I owe you and Tristan BOTH art......
Boy, I guess I better make art, ship it, and THEN blog! LOL!!!!!!
Pirates....what can you do with them????? ;)

Jan said...

I need to bookmark this post and save it in my tutorials file. Maybe I will gather my materials together and see what I can come up with following your lead. Love this piece, I can see why you do too. I know I don't have any bubblegum pink paint though....fuchsia maybe. Thanks again for your generous sharing. I'll never tell;-) Cone of silence it is.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Jan, if you ever need a tutorial, besides this, all you have to do is write....you know that.
As to the cone of silence, we really don't need it----this is much easier demonstrated than described!
Just get a good basecoat of gesso on your canvas so that there is texture---multiple coats put on with a rough brush or palette knife. If there is any secret to these, that's it.
Then take your time and be prepared for stages that you HATE. I probably wiped more paint off than I left on, but it all adds to the final glow of the piece.
Experiment---I am sure with your sense of color you could find a group of colors you like that represent YOU in the work.
Go for it!

Julie ZS said...

I love all the layers of colors and imagery in this piece Anne. Very complex and evocative.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Thanks Julie---I had hesitated using a transparency because they are so overused in altered art, but this seemed to meld good and not look trendy or commercial.
It is fun to look at and contemplate......

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...


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