Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Making Rosemaling Into Your Own Styling

Rose Rosemaling Birdhouse by KrugsStudio
Since I took a class on basic "rosemaling" at the Las Vegas Painting Convention, or as I discovered recently in Norway, translated meaning "rose" painting, I found that I was in love...in love with a design that seemed so unique and yet so complete. I realized that while it was incredibly popular in the 1700's it led to what could best be considered "tole" painting here in the United States. As we were told in Norway, over 880,000 Norwegians, Danes back then, immigrated to the United States and surely brought their traditions and art with them.

While I never stumbled on rosemaling except in historic settings, I did find a wonderful book in English and Norwegian in the town of Mundal near the Jostedal Glacier in the middle of Norway. This little town, at the gateway to the glacier, of maybe 1,000 people, is known as the "book" city. Local vendors there have over 300,000 used books for sale. It was there that I found my treasure, a classic book on rosemaling in both English and Norwegian. Its even spiral bound to boot!!!

Rosemaling, and styling changes from town to town, is best known for the use of artistic flourishes using the letters "S" and "C." However, as I read through the book it also mentions that it is flexible and that really, just about anything could be used. This led me to consider the birdhouse pictured here. When seen from the side, the flourishes that are visible on the side continue all the way up to the roof. No one ever used a birdhouse back then but while I created a kind of rosemaling effect on the front and back, similar but not the same, I felt that the side and roofline would be the perfect foil for this beautiful technique. And while my skills are still developing, I think that while simplified (some of the designs are very intense and almost too much) I found that a simpler and more colorful approach seemed to attain the same ends.

I started with a traditional background, a solid clay pink-rose, then gave it a kind of marbling using red. Then the designs were applied using a DecoArt Napa Red, a deep Green Umber and then brighter reds, oranges, a variety of greens and a splash of buttermilk. The whole thing was antiqued using a deep brown to darken the edges. It turned out to be a striking piece and while not exactly what I intended found that I am quite happy with what turned out.

Art and artistic styles are often an evolution. You start out with one idea in mind, but, if you have any innovation talent at all, you discover that there are many possibilities. That is how art evolves and even more important, how an artist evolves. Change or die.

This piece is merely the beginning. I am already planning the next piece, a plate or maybe a Lazy Susan. Oh, the possibilities!

Check out my store and this birdhouse at KrugsStudio.etsy.com.

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