Saturday, August 4, 2012

"Rose Dance"--New Work-In-Progress!

I have begun a series of pieces this year that is based on a new approach to paper sculpture.

I've gotten far enough with the first one (working title: Rose Dance) to show a few samples in this space, but first I'd like to give a little history of how I got to this point.

This is the "quote panel" from the Summer Mail Piece.
My work last year on the Mail Piece Project proved to be absolutely as enlightening as I had hoped. It was a series of self-mailing multiple originals developed on the basic design of a trifold brochure, in each case incorporating some kind of paper technology.

If you would like to see some of my progress reports, take a look at New Year, Spring, and an overview of the elements that developed as consistent features. Unfortunately I got so busy I never added pages for Summer, Autumn, or Winter, though I probably should! Each edition in the series of five was a little more elaborate than the previous one.

Here is the "quote panel" for the Autumn Mail Piece.
One of the many things I gained from the Mail Piece Project was a return to my artistic "first loves" of ink drawing and limited edition printmaking (confession: I was a Printmaking "major" as an undergrad, even though I've spent a big chunk of my adult career as a graphic designer).

Here is the original ink drawing for what became
the "border panels" of Rose Dance.
Earlier, I had developed a prototype pattern for a dragon body and wings for a couple of pieces that I called "twig dragons," because they were attached to actual Silver Maple twigs from my yard.

I rendered the basic pattern as variations in ink, with both ink and color added by hand, and used them for Denizen of the Winter Trees and Treetop Primaries.

I was not satisfied with the results of the Prismacolor pencils as scanned and reproduced in the early editions of the Mail Piece Project, however--they seemed kind of muddy. So I experimented with adding color on the computer, using Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

The computer-based approach for adding color was used in several parts of the the last three Mail Pieces, though I also hand-colored all of those originals with Prismacolor pencils.

I also used computer color for my "Snowflake Dragons: The Next Generation" series. See Spring Swirls and Patterns in Turquoise for examples.

These color variations created separate layers.
The idea for the full Rose Dance composition originated from looking at the first panel I produced. It originally was going to be primarily an experiment: a small, limited edition of pieces that began as ink drawings that were colored on the computer, cut out, and layered.

Mirror images were designed to print 2-sided.
I developed different layers of color. Two color modulations formed the base layer (the darker one on the left, above), and a second overlay layer, with leaves and flower cut out from the background (right, above). Third and fourth layers were composed of the flower alone (see at left), printed on two sides, then cut out, sculpted, and glued at the center.

Here is the finished border panel, cut out, sculpted, and assembled.

Once I'd printed the various color layers on different weights of acid-free, archival-quality paper, I cut, sculpted, and assembled enough of the small panels to realize they could be more than simple stand-alone pieces. They could be assembled to create a border.

I experimented with several border layouts, but eventually decided I liked the square composition best. At that point I could begin the "base" ink drawing for the center.

The ink work is now done, but I'm still in the process of adding color. I'll post another article about this piece, once I have finished the whole thing.

IMAGE CREDITS: All photos and scans are of my original artwork, by me. All images are copyright 2011 and 2012 by Jan S. Gephardt, all rights reserved.

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