31 January 2012

Mr Punch Automaton Almost Finished

This is taking so long to finish. I have the characters ready and waiting..

It is finishing the frame/stage thing that is taking so long. I used three different types of wood: soft wood mouldings, hard wood ply and a bit of pine in there too. I have had to think very carefully how to unify these into a fake mahogany. If I paint on a stain the soft wood will go really dark, the pine is oily and will go streaky and the plywood?  So my experiment so far has been to paint the frame with a very dilute layer of acrylic primer and then orange with acrylic paint. It is a bit more orange than the photo, something very odd with the colour as the carpet is really cream.

I then used equal parts of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna oil paint mixed with japan drier, brushed on quickly and then with a larger dry brush.

I may not have quite achieved mahogany but I did get an even unity. It does look like it is made from one brown wood and if I had some mahogany to reference I could fake it more convincingly. I think I will have to make surreptitious trips to the local antique centre with painted samples in my pocket until I get a perfect match. All my furniture here is oak. 

I now need to get it a little darker and will add a layer of shellac and a second brown paint layer, then french polishing. 

24 January 2012

Automaton with Mechanism Above

I had an idea to see if I could develop the string movement that I used in my fairy automaton to make a mechanism that worked from above. So after a very quick sketch......

I have now roughed out a working version. I am fairly pleased with the movement but the composition is weak. Tomorrow I will try longer legs on the standing characters to see if this improves the dynamic.

22 January 2012

A Stitched Doodle

I began embroidering these characters without an end image in mind.

It is quite big and took a few days so I was really disappointed that the end result looked so horribly twee. A good lesson in how important it is to plan before doing anything. I have been thinking hard how to save it and some bits I like: the flowers and the characters expressions. I think my main dissatisfaction is that it looks a bit too much like something that a machine could make and lacks the freedom of human drawing.
No it is just horribly twee, PLAN before you work!

I have tried dying it in tea to see if it would soften the contrast and bring out some of the lines. Marginally better but still too flat, I do like the dead flower.

09 January 2012

I Forgot I Made These

A trip back to England has reunited me with many items which I had completely forgotten that I had ever made. These are the two that I was most excited to see again and that I feel can inspire work in the New Year.
A very dusty tin automaton of a person brushing a flower. I made this in a workshop a couple of years ago.

And this collagraph print of a girl, made as a card for a dear friend. Like finding an old sketch book it is wonderful how much something you made ages ago can be just the right inspiration.