After the first exchange with a new friend overseas, we decided to do it again. This time we set a theme, with my friend choosing ‘Wings’.
I was surprised by how quickly I came up with an idea after a brief moment of “what am I going to do?” I came up with combination of using some printed napkins that had just arrived in the mail and an idea I’d seen on Pinterest.
I started with the famous ugly 80’s envelopes. I’ve still got plenty in the stash. It’s like a never ending supply – every time you take one, more show up! A layer of gesso got the party started. I added some brown Neocolor II crayons in patches and around the edges for some base colour. Then I used Liquitex matte medium to apply a bird egg printed napkin – sooo obsessed with printed napkins at the moment. Then the hard part started.
I made a template for the the feathers. As the Queen of Impatience – I don’t know what I was thinking. Why did I think cutting out a gagillion little feathers would be fun? And why did I make the template so small? I had to cut a lot more feathers than I had expected. I used a combination of a chevron print and vintage mail print scrapbook papers for the feathers and a vintage graph paper for the top of the wing.
The layering started and part way through, I realized I was gonna need more feathers. Damn it! Whose idea was this?! Oh, yeah….
I was going to layer from the top of the wing down, but decided to go from the bottom up which was the logical way to get the right layering of the feathers. I stuck them down with more matte medium with another layer over the top to seal them down. Looking at the finished wing, it just didn’t look right. There was too much contrast, so I added a wash of gesso over the top to lighten and soften the feathers and to bring it together.
Hmm…. now what? It still needed a bit of somethin’ somethin’. So I pulled out some letter stamps. Again, this was a lot bigger task than I expected. It took forever! And the small letters are tiny peg stamp with sharp edges, so my fingers were killing me by the end of it. I was feeling kinda fearless, so I didn’t plan out the wording or placement too much – which is very not me. I’m a very ‘plan’ kinda girl but was trying to work outside my comfort zone. I’d probably have done the placement a little different if I’d planned it or had a do-over.
My friend really liked it when it arrived which is always a question in the back of your mind as you send the envelope on it’s adventure to the other side of the world. Doing something ‘good enough’. I’m wary of just replicating something from Pinterest – I like it to still look like me. Like my art, not a copy. And it’s often hard not to be swayed by the other person’s art. But in the end, it seemed very me and I learned so much as I did it.
That’s something that is happening alot as I make art at the moment. I’m not just making something pretty. I”m learning how mediums work. What happens if you do this instead of that. What I would do differently or better. It’s the first time I’ve understood that side of things when playing in the art room. And I think my art is growing so much because of it.