My children were angels; however, I've often heard parents lament the so-called "terrible twos," a span of time when children--supposedly--are hard-to-handle. I'm sure psychologists, child therapists, and the like have compiled plenty of "expert analysis" to explain away this phenomenon, but I've got an explanation of my own. THEY'RE LITTLE MONSTERS!
This is my twisted take on the "terrible twos," which because the tots must undoubtedly be infected with some sort of blood-borne monster virus, I'm calling THE TOXIC TWOS.
The side-by-side panel (below) is the original (don't be fooled by the little girl's sweet visage!) and my manipulated version. By the way, her replacement head is a print of one of Ernst Haeckel's illustrations (Tafel 67--Vampyrus).
Including the topper (which features an old hatchet head and some old square nails), the dimensions of this piece are 13.5 X 8 X 2.5".
A couple of years ago I first used what I call the "cheesecloth wrap" technique on a piece called Space Cadet. Here's a pic of the piece. Notice the texture (highlighted with gold paint) flowing out from the frame, across the top of the base. That's the cheesecloth wrap.
I used it at least once after that, but for some reason I let this technique--one of my favorite effects, by the way--kind of go by the wayside. Well, I'm using it again on the outer framework of my current work-in-progress, pictured below.
Here's how I created the effect on this W.I.P.:
First, as I almost always do, I threw down a coat or two of gesso. In this case I used black gesso.
After the gesso dried, I brushed on a layer (not too thin) of Matte Super Heavy Gel. I used this product for two primary reasons; one, it dries transparent so the black will show through, and, two, it serves as the adhesive for the cheesecloth. Which takes me to the next step...
Before the gel dried, I wrapped the piece in a layer of cheesecloth and "mooshed" (a highly-technical, artistic term) it into the gel so that it would adhere to the surface of the piece. Before setting it aside to dry, I double checked my work and brushed more gel over areas of the cheesecloth that, for whatever reason, hadn't stuck to the surface. Then I put it aside (in my case, overnight) to dry completely.
Next, I cleaned up the edges of the cheesecloth (notice the cheesecloth doesn't continue under the piece). You can probably cut it away with a razor knife or sharp scissors. However, I like to run my sanding block along the edges of the piece; the loose cheesecloth gets sanded away, leaving a fairly crisp edge.
Now, to further "seal" the cheesecloth to the surface of the piece, I painted another coat of black gesso over everything. After the gesso dried--which because I'm impatient, I almost always use a heat gun to speed up the process--I dry-brushed a layer of red over the entire piece. Dry-brushing is a terrific technique in its own right. In this case, it highlighted the texture of the embedded cheesecloth while allowing the undercoat of black to still show through, resulting in the effect shown in the picture.
There you have it: the Cheesecloth Wrap technique.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.