When asked to encapsulate education, a good friend of mine--a high school science teacher for nearly thirty years--once came up with the following four-word definition (frankly, I think it's an equally good mantra for LIFE): Ask questions; seek answers. His wise words were the inspiration for my most-recent mint-tin nicho, entitled "Seek."
As in my last nicho, I used a piece of "jailhouse tin" that I purchased at my local junk shop. Turns out, the patina on this old piece of metal works well with the purple/blue paint effects I used on the surrounding framework.
In the detail shot below the found-object elements are more evident: paper from a thesaurus (background), a porcelain doll head, an old typewriter key, coiled wire, and a ceramic question mark (it has a pair of sharp pins sticking out of its back) that was probably used on those felt-covered sign boards that used to grace stores and restaurants.
I wanted to include a close-up shot (below) of the texture I created using plaster pushed through a stencil. The painting effects were created with acrylic paint, acrylic ink, and a dry-brushing technique.
Hmm, I guess I've been rather busy because it's been about three weeks since I've posted anything--which means it's been about that long since I've had time to work on any art. A few projects have been sitting unfinished in my "studio" for weeks--grr. Below are some shots from one I just put the finishing touches on last night; at this point I'm calling it "Davy Jones' Locker." I like the whimsy of the sea creature/sea captain; however, now that I've had time to sit back and study it, I'm rather disappointed in my monochromatic color choices. Oh well--lesson learned. As you'll see from the first pic, I used a piece of the jailhouse tin, that I described in a previous post, to frame the nicho.
Below is a close-up shot of the nicho. Davy's head is an old wrist-watch face; I found an eye image, colorized it using colored pencils, and embedded it in resin. His right, tentacled arm was taken from a reproduction of a vintage natural history illustration. His left arm is the real McCoy, so to speak; last summer while on a walk at our local lake, I found it--the owner of the claw had probably fallen victim to a raccoon. (See, sometimes it pays to not pay attention to where you're walking; sure, I often nearly run into other walkers, but I also sometimes score some cool finds!)
Turns out my painting technique (see side of piece below) was serendipitous: I think it kind of conveys a "tentacle" motif, which pairs well with the nicho's subject matter.
While waiting for plaster and paint to dry, I took a break Tuesday and visited my favorite junk shop, JB Knacker. (I always feel guilty calling it a "junk" shop because it's so much more than that--but I'm hobbled by my limited vocabulary.) Anyway, Brenda at JB Knacker showed me a couple of neat, old pieces of metal (brass?, tin?) that she hadn't yet put out on display. The story she told me--and the story someone told her--was that they used to hang in a county jail. Initials ("FT," "ER," "HS," etc.) that apparently corresponded to locations in the jail were stamped into the metal, and pins (think heavy-duty safety pins) that were also stamped with initials were hooked into the holes around the edges. I don't fully understand the concept of their role as jail-house organizational system, but there's one thing I do understand--they're really cool!
At first I didn't have any idea what to do with them, so I bought one because, yes, it was/is COOL looking. Then yesterday it hit me--duh! I'll cut rectangular holes in them and use them to "frame" some of my nichos; the great patina, stamped initials, and rough holes exude folk art, and they should fit well with the texture and color-scheme I'm currently planning for my nicho bases. So I went back yesterday and bought the second chunk of metal. Time to slap on a cutting wheel and fire-up the Dremel.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.