Thursday, July 11, 2013

At Long Last! A Rosebush!

I suppose I could write "At long last! A blog post!" too. I apologize--it's been a REALLY BUSY last-two-months.

But I'm back, and I hope to begin posting regularly again.  It seems appropriate to celebrate my return to blogging with completion of a milestone--the titular rosebush.

"Rosebush #1" is actually just one part of a larger work.

There it is, in a closeup. I am kind of boggled, myself, at how long it has taken to achieve one finished rosebush. More than a year ago in the spring, I was taking pictures of neighbors' roses, with a plan to "plant" several rosebushes in my seemingly-eternal work in progress, Paradise Garden. (How "eternal"? Well, I started on the double colonnade more than two years ago.  Thank goodness that part's done, now).

From source photos I took, I developed three ink drawings of rosebushes (did you ever stop to think how many LEAVES are on a rosebush?). I scanned the drawings into my computer, and used Adobe Illustrator (more intuitive for me to use than PS.  I know: I'm weird) to add color to each leaf and blossom.  Every leaf has at least three greens on it.  Every rose has three or four different reds, plus yellow.

Took for freakin' ever, even with my Wacom tablet and stylus.  I am not above bribing myself with British detective shows on TV to incentivize sitting that long painting tiny, tiny leaves.

This is what I mean by "tiny, tiny leaves." Here it is with my hand for scale.

At long last this week, I was able to finish color work on the last of the three.  Then it was time to cut them out, sculpt, and assemble them.

Compared to painting seemingly-endless tiny, tiny leaves and flowers, cutting them out went comparatively quickly!  One episode of "DCI Banks," and I was almost done cutting the bottom layers for one and a half of the three different rosebush designs.

There are three--in one place, four--layers to the first rosebush. The top two layers on the finished one shown above are repositioned parts of the bush, not the whole thing.

The finished one is at lower left.  More are in the works, as you see.
Here are my essential tools for the cutting-and-sculpting phase. Fingernails also are invaluable.

People always ask, "do you use an X-Acto knife?" Well, yes--but those handy-dandy little scissors on the right are my primary tool.  X-Acto cuts are very straight, the puncturing risks tears, and the blades get dull really fast. I'm all about intuitive tools, so the scissors are my weapon of choice. 

The other items in the photo above are a small corkboard for cutting and sculpting against, lab-quality tweezers (worth their weight in gold), and a clay-modeling tool with different-sized balls on each end.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse of working on my Most Impractical Artwork of the Decade (so far, anyway--the decade is young), and the reanimation of "Artdog Observations."