Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

Yes, my Mom got me this garden gnome. And I swear, he speaks...but only when I do something really stupid. I wish I could say he's as quiet as a church mouse.

Oh wait -- I wasn't. Durhay Sarah. Yanno...when I decide to get in over my head, at least I really commit to an all-inclusive crisis. Let me break it down for ya:

(1) In my eagerness, I forgot to mask the tail, so now I have to figure out how to get raw underglaze off the white bisque. Or learn really fast how to turn a "Yikes!" into a "Yay!" I'll never make that mistake again.

(2) What am I going to use for finger-holds? The pattern I chose forces me to use the tail, and I can just imagine in my razor-bladed myopia a moment of too much pressure and....BINK. Note to self: *Must pay attention*. Repeat: MUST. PAY. ATTENTION.

(3) I don't know yet, but I bet it's lurking just around the kiln -- waiting for little ol' naive me. And it's something major. But I bet it has something to do with...

Oh...did I mention that I also decided to play with some odd pigments with this guy? I'm so curious to know how non-horse colors work in underglaze. I typically use them in cold-paint, and well...hey, I won't know unless I try, right? Currently, I prefer to work in the Duncan EZ Stroke colors because of their clear, watercolor-like properties, and those non-horse colors they come in are just too tempting. the plan is to glaze him as one of those (hopefully) high-contrast sooty red bays. I want the red bay to really pop, but I want the sooty areas to have more depth than just dark browns or black, and if I can get that blueish or purpleish tint to it, all the better.

So..I used straight yellows (and I do mean yellows -- "EZ Willow Yellow" and "EZ Sierre Yellow") and straight reds (and I mean bright red -- "EZ Neon Red") for the pangare and redish areas. I worked in "EZ Wine Berry" and "EZ Dark Brown" in there, gradually blending. Then I mixed the Dark Brown with "EZ Dark Navy," and blasted that onto the sooty areas. A bit of back and forth here and there, then a final spray of Black/Wine Berry for the point color. Pulled off the masking (no binking! PHEW), and now for clean-up. I know what I'll be doing for the next two days. Yow. How can something so tiny take so much time and even more oxygen deprivation?

Anyway, here's the lowdown on the hoedown...

The Glazes

These are the glazes I was considering. I may eventually use them all, one way or 'nuther. Dunno yet.

The Process

EZ 004 Willow Yellow for the pangare and the first layer (note unwrapped tail).

EZ 005 Sierre Yellow for reinforcing the pangare and a second layer.

EZ 106 Neon Red, third layer. (Tail still isn't wrapped.)

EZ 063 Wine Berry, reinforcing the red and as a fourth layer.

EZ 039 Dark Brown, shading and accent, and as a fifth layer. (Mind you, this is the fifth photo and it hasn't occurred to me yet to wrap the tail.)

EZ 039 Dark Brown mixed with EZ 074 Dark Navy (70/30 mixture), sooty layer. Ordinarily, I would have done more directional shading, but I had a grand experiment in mind, and that required "flatter" ideas. So we'll see if it works.

EZ 0363 Wine Berry mixed with EZ 037 Black (20/80) for the points. Then the masking was peeled away...and look at those awesome dark roots at the dock. Lovely.

Here's the other side. OK, granted, he looks really stupid right now, and nothing like the reference photos. But this is just the first step in a long process. Now I have to clean up the edges (and that dang dock) and start defining the pattern at the same time. I also have to clean up the edges around his mane. For all that, I'll use an x-acto blade, some other scraper tools and a stone age typewriter eraser pencil. When that's done, I'll start the first layers on his footsies and he'll go into my small kiln, Maury, for a Cone 06 fire to set the underglaze. The peep holes will be left out so lots of oxygen can get into the fire to retain those reds (fingers crossed). Then the nitty gritty begins.


Oh and by the way -- I have thirty airbrush bottles. How did I run out? ARGH.

At least I'm having a good time. And I'm listening to my new Faun CD "Renaissance" and lovin' it. Somehow when your mind is sunk deep in concentration, music has an odd way of not distracting you, but sinking in even more. Strange, that.

"Who so loves believes the impossible." Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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