Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What DO You Do With An Ugly Birdhouse? Cinder To Cinderella!

Artists are always looking for a deal. Sometimes, more than I would like to admit at least, price is more motivation than "what the hell am I going to do with that?" So, puttering around last week with paintings and birdhouses safely at the gallery, I was ready to paint again.

Flower Petal Birdhouse
I'm hoping this is the only one I bought because it was a challenge to decide what to do with it. Rockets can literally be rocket ships soaring through space or done right, cactus plants that fulfill in 3D what you create on a canvas. But this? What is it anyway? There is no other way to describe it...butt ugly. The challenge then is to figure out a design that takes advantage of whatever the crazed creator planned for it and create a thing of traditional beauty!

As you can see here, I have begun to sketch in a possible pattern. Again, I decided that while many of the elements would remain the same, front and back designs would be different. The constant was the wide sides with leaves and flowers so they would be visible from any angle. Now, of course, how to pull it off?
Flower Petal Birdhouse - back

The one saving grace with projects like this is that the costs are cheap. I am sure this was a design Michael's wanted to unload and it would have been cheap to me. While you do lose time and some materials, the amount paint on a birdhouse is very, very small. The investment is time...and there is plenty of that! And yes, this one consumed days and hours to create. I almost threw it out several times as I would box myself into an artistic corner not sure what direction to go.

Bottom of Birdhouse
Once colors are painted on though, in most instances the die is cast! Hours and hours go into a projects like this. In case there was a great deal of doubt and only the other night when I decided to use a kind of net effect did it seem that I would be able to tie it all together. I noticed this was a favorite Rosemaling technique either today or 300 years ago. Just how much detailing can you add? It turns out quite a bit. It soon gets lost though and this seemed to be the best way for me to fill void. In fact I had to go over it again as the wood stain used to color the base wood almost wiped out the Yellow Ochre I used. So...back to the drawing board and another layer of Ochre. However, it adds quite a bit of depth and allows the white flowers to stand out from the base color. I was happy.

If you look at the birdhouse that was just beginning to get paint and some kind of a color palette,  and what is the finished item, you can see that somethings changed and other elements were enhanced. That certainly is one of the beauties of acrylics. However, you still have to plan and be very careful. I could change every flower but I could not correct the base if I decided I wanted to change location of the flowers. I guess it could be done but why? Get this done and learn your lesson and move on. It would not be the first time.

I remember taking a class from the Rosemaling guru Gail Oram in May. She encouraged us to freely interpret the design she gave us and we all scribbled away. However, when it came to painting what we had done we had no reference. I packed up to go after an hour of struggling...I took the class to learn from her not by trial and error. Alarmed she came over once the class was aware of what I was doing 6 or more did the same thing. She went back to the basics of the technique. I did the lid and feeling successful with that went back to the body I had changed so much. It was at that moment I realized you could do any number of things and it would still be traditional and quite beautiful

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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