Monday, April 23, 2012

Pieces of Art

Here's a Glimpse of Two Projects-in-Progress
I have been exploring new ways to make paper sculpture this year. I am coming up with some things that look cool to me . . . but so far I'm having difficulty completing a full composition. Here are the pieces I've made:

"Black-Headed Heron"
While doing research for a piece I am making for a private client, I discovered these wonderful, utterly gorgeous birds!
I had a lot of fun making this Black-headed Heron! But how to handle his background?
Black-headed Herons are indigenous to Africa, and live alongside hippos, alligators, anhingas, and many other species that inhabit riverbank habitats. I found some excellent resource photos on the Internet, and from them I developed a prototype drawing from which I could create "pattern pieces" for this assemblage.

This heron is made up of about 18-20 different pieces of paper. I think he turned out looking pretty decent, but all of the backgrounds I've tried to make so far look--pardon the expression--crappy.

Yeah, yeah, it's not very original, but it'll do for a working title.

This one originated with the wing. You might note the similarity to the Heron's wing, above. I used the same pattern, then added another row of feathers, to make it look more in proportion to the horse.

I was thinking about the heavy hair on some horses' feet, also called "feathers," and my fantasy artist side just couldn't resist playing with the obvious next thought.
So far, none of my backgrounds "work" for him, any better than the would-be backgrounds for my Heron.
Unfortunately, all of my attempts to give this guy a background that "works" for him also have been epic fails. 

The horse, by the way, is a somewhat simpler piece than the heron, though created via the same basic approach. There are only about 16 pieces to him.

The Reality-to-Unreality Balance
It is proving very difficult to come up with a background that can be executed with exactly the same balance of realism-to-unrealism as that of the "central figure." If the balance is off, the composition has no unity, and the whole illusion falls apart.

Part of the time I think the work I've done possibly could stand on its own as "complete," with just a solid-color, neutral background. Part of the time I don't think that would be enough.

Suggestions, anyone?

IMAGE CREDITS: Both images are photos I took of my own artwork. Both may be used on blog posts as long as they are not altered, and full credit with a link back to this post are given. Otherwise, all rights are reserved by Jan Sherrell Gephardt, (c) 2012.