Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Carol Tree Ornaments - The Process Story

Friday, a call went out throughout the land, "The ornaments for The Big Tree are shot! We need ornaments, and we need them by Tuesday!" This from our little arts center. The theme for the ornaments was Christmas Carols.

So I hied myself down to the arts center and was first in line to pick from the pile of printed carols. Each person was supposed to select just one, but I picked three. That way I could have one that was awesome, one that was OK, and one that sucked. If I had chosen only one, with my luck, it would have sucked. Then I would have been *so* 'shamed.

I got the easy ones: O Holy Night, Good King Wenceslas, and Ave Maria. I don't think Ave Maria is technically a Christmas carol, but hey, it wasn't my project.

Then I was off to the thrift shops to find odds and ends with which to make said ornaments. I was thinking I could sew up some puffy, stuffed doll-like thingies for Mary and King Wenceslas, and perhaps a puffy stuffed star for O Holy Night. I fondled all the bridesmaid dresses, cast-off choir robes, and silky pajamas looking for shiny material on the cheap. Nothing was suiting my vision or my wallet.

I then wandered over to the book section hoping to find reading material to keep Hubby occupied and out of my hair through the Thanksgiving holiday. Spied this tragic little baby board book:

The blanket material bit on the cover was grimy and the lace detached, and obviously the little pig doll was missing. There were more than a few gnaw marks on the edges. It was pitiful and nasty as a child's book, but was perfect for my nefariously creative mind. I loved the shape. It was only 50 cents.

I figured for 50 cents and a slather of gesso, I'd have more than enough materials for some 2-D ornaments. Including the back and cover there were seven boards making up the book. That gave me a little wiggle room in case I messed one up badly. I could start over fresh. I like a little wiggle room.

Since I don't have the art supplies for anything but pen and ink watercolor sketches, I made a stop in the Wally World craft aisle and loaded up: acrylic paints, foam brushes, paint pens, gesso, Mod Podge goo, and some acrylic sealer spray. I didn't know what I would do with all that, but I figured I could make *something.* I stopped short on buying the glitter paint pens. I thought glitter might make them look too much like a Brownie Scout project.

When I got home Hubby broke out the drill for me and I drilled a hole through the top of the book to attach hangers. I had the presence of mind to do this *before* I detached all the pages. Then I cut the pages apart and started sanding them...at my desk. I didn't think it would make that big of a mess. I was mistaken. The book was make in China so now I probably have a lung full of lead-filled Chinese printing ink and page surfacing material. I sanded two and decided that was plenty to work on for an evening.

Sanded and gessoed the rest the next day. I had them dangling on lines strung across the office. It was eerily reminiscent of the scene in "Seven" where the detectives go into a house where little cardboard pine tree air fresheners are hanging everywhere. Creepy.

I stayed up all night painting the first two, O Holy Night and Ave Maria. I fought the acrylics. They are *so* different than watercolors! They dry up oh so fast! The techniques for acrylics are so different too. I had to shift all the mental gears.

The last time I tried painting anything with acrylics LBJ was still in office. Yeah, it's been a while. I ended up doing brushwork that was a cross between Bob Ross' Happy Little Trees and Donna Dewberry's One-Stroke painting. It was interesting to say the least.

But I got them done. I was so excited about how well they turned out! I was hopping around exclaiming, "Awesome! These are awesome! I can't believe *I* painted that!!!"

But I know things look different in the cold light of morning after a good night's sleep. Lack of sleep can make things look awesome when, in fact, they suck. They only look awesome due to sleep deprivation.

The next morning I rolled out of bed and ran in to look at them again. They were still awesome! Squee!

I was running out of inspiration by the time I got to King Wenceslas. I was tired of fighting the acrylics. Decided to revert back to the familiar - sketch with pen, paint with watercolors. Broke out the Sharpie and started drawing:

I intended to take more process photos but I forgot. Sorry. Final results in the next post. This one has gone on long enough if anyone is still reading....

1 comment:

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Wonderful... you are SO CREATIVE... and I read all the way to the end.