Monday, 21 September 2015

A Marathon Effort!

Here is my latest commission for a friend of mine. This is by far the hardest and most stressful piece of artwork I have ever had to do. Totally goes against why I do my crafts in the first place but I couldn't say no to my friend. She commissioned it for her husbands birthday and wanted it to be masculine and abstract with a running theme to go with the quote. She also specified a colour theme of blues, greys and white. I think I found this canvas so hard because I had no clear vision for it at all from the beginning to the end. My stash revolves around butterflies, flowers and nature so finding things that were appropriate for this canvas was extremely difficult.
I started by tearing up some patterned paper in a kind of chevron pattern and a cris cross blue pattern and stuck that down. I then found some pictures of people's feet in running shoes from one of my husbands running magazines and stuck them randomly all over the page. I also printed off the series of pictures of a man running in time lapse to go on the background and stuck these down randomly too. I then used liquid acrylics in blue and white and applied them with a pallet knife. Unfortunately due to my lack of skill with this particular tool I pretty much obliterated the papers I had stuck down by adding too much paint! I went back to the patterned papers and added the torn chevron pieces back in the top left and bottom right.
New to me for this canvas was the tape I used to make the white arrows. I got it from a DIY store and it is used for plaster boarding. It provides great texture though and sticks down really easily with tacky glue. I cut the ends into vague arrow shapes and stuck them randomly around the canvas. Next I watered down some metallic blue acrylic paint and put it into a spray bottle intending to create a mist effect in a few areas, however the spray didn't work how I envisaged and instead I got lots of large paint splatters instead which I thought actually looked better so I left them.
I knew I wanted to put some footprints on it and tried making my own stencil but this turned out to be too complicated. Instead I ended up painting my own running trainers with black paint and walking on a piece of white tissue paper. Some of it stuck to my shoe but this added to the abstract effect although if you want to try this I would recommend putting newspaper down first as it was quite messy! Also don't use a pair of shoes you are precious about as cleaning the paint off resulted in the laces and fabric going all grey where they soaked up the painty water! I cut around the outline and stuck them down with gel medium.
To make the letters I used some white card and some watered down purple acrylic paint and sprayed the card at random. I also used he Crafters Workshop 6"x6" Mini Texturized Stencil and some grey acrylic paint to make it look like someone had run across the page. I printed the actual quote off the computer and tore round the words. I used micro glaze to go over the letters so the printer ink wouldn't smudge before sticking them down with gel medium. I wanted the footprints to stand out more but also blend better into the picture so I went round the tread roughly several times with gesso. To try and blend the trainers into the background and to try and make the whole canvas more harmonious I went round the edges with a purple soft pastel. At that point the lettering was still spattered with purple and didn't look right on the canvas at all. Once I put the purple round the edges I decided that didn't look right either and blended it into blue with a soft black outline.
The canvas still looked too busy so I decided to paint the plasterers tape white which made the whole thing look a lot more balanced. I also outlined the arrows with the soft black pastel. I decided I wanted to reintroduce the slow motion time lapse runners so printed them off again and tore round the edges and stuck them down, blending them again with the soft black pastel.
I mixed some modelling paste with a yellow gelato and used the Dylusions Number Jumble stencil to add the yellow numbers all over the canvas as well as the borders around the edges. However all the yellow was too overwhelming as well so I used acrylic paint to paint some of the numbers black, some white and some silver. I then went around the wiggly borders using posca pens in black and white to alternate the shapes but then decided that didn't look right either and eventually painted them blue.
Because I had gone over the words with micro glaze when I eventually decided I wanted them to be yellow I had a very limited choice of mediums I could use to colour them without the purple splatters and the grey texture disappearing. I eventually decided on a watercolour pencil which worked surprisingly well. As a finishing touch I stamped 3 old fashioned clocks onto the canvas using a stamp from my stash and a Faber Castell Big Brush marker in cobalt. Lastly I went round the edge of the canvas with my black archival ink stamp to create a rough border and varnished it.
As you can see ive struggled with bringing this together to be a homogenous and balanced piece and changed my mind about a lot of things a lot of times. I am happy with the end result although I don't really like it, its not for me therefore not my style.

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