Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Completing A New Birdhouse

As a spoiler I am going to show you my new completed birdhouse, Norwegian Village Birdhouse. I mentioned it in my last blog and was pretty torn up about what to do with it. Surprisingly it is turning out to be one of my most successful introductions. On Etsy it has had many views and hearts!

Norwegian Village Birdhouse
This was started as a paean to my Pennsylvania Dutch days but then slowly at first and more quickly later on picked up some Norweigian Rosemaling along the way.

I have a whole bunch of yellow paint and decided that it is a cheerful color that needed to be used. By painting the roof a black green I could pretty much do whatever I wanted with the rest. Country Red, Vermillion and Orange for the flowers seemed the perfect compliments to the three tones of teal that I used for leaves. Somehow it all worked together and with some antiquing, I got rid of glaring colors and mellowed them all into a wonderful whole.

But it wasn't always that way.

First attempt at back of birdhouse
I used a different pattern for the back, something I had never done before. I loved the front though I fell into my old trap of making the birdhouse hole a flower. However, Rosemaling opened up new possibilities that I wanted to use on top of the flat Pennsylvania Dutch design for depth. I think that worked out pretty well.

However, I used a totally different pattern for the back and it wasn't working very well. I didn't know why. The colors just didn't seem to work and I didn't want to waste a lot of time trying to figure out why. I hadn't don't any new traditional birdhouses in awhile, and felt under the gun to try something new and different. Besides, I had tons of yellow paint. Just before I completely colored it all out after a good sanding (I dreamed this believe it or not) I decided to get rid of the connectors to the flowers. And I did. I painted the four parts yellow again but used the darkest teal for the lines. Suddenly it all began to take shape. By using Vermillion dots in the squares of the hash marks it seemed to tie all of the colors and designs together. Even the roof fit in!
New lines, new opportunity!

It was amazing to me what those very minor changes made to what had become far too static. Adding the leaves but remaining true to the limited palette, every part of this birdhouse worked. No new colors were introduced with the exception of brown for the antiquing. I floated the brown on one side of a wide angled brush that only had water on the other side. Moving the brush up and down and all around I was able to keep browns on edges that would fade with the water into the interior's of each side. In fact, it almost looks like its 100 years old. We saw lots of that in Norway only they really were hundreds of years old.

This helped tone down colors that were too bright and yet allowed muted colors to stand out. I never know what colors will do this so its a wonderful mystery each and ever time!

Finished back of Norwegian Village Birdhouse
That is the wonder of acrylic paints. It gives you a chance to correct mistakes measured in minutes not hours or days.The whole corrective process maybe took an hour. As long as I could run the teal over the yellow I was ready to proceed and did.

This is one of my most cheerful birdhouses. Using an oil based varnish (remember you can put oil on top of acrylic as that is what gesso is but NEVER put acrylic on top of oil - never, ever! It will cause the acrylic's to sluff off ), I have been assured it will hold up for years. At the first sign of dulling, spray or paint another layer or two on your birdhouse.

Please visit my craft store at KrugsStudio.etsy.com and my fine art store at AlanKrugFineArt.etsy.com. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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