Friday, June 19, 2015

It's a sign!

My friend, Kath, asked me to make a sign for her new sound proof booth where she does voice over work.  She's naming the booth Dulcinea.  It felt pretty great to be supported and honored that way.  I had a ton of ideas but also stayed open to the process and tried to ignore the inner critic along the way.  Here are some photos of the journey to the completed product.

My husband and I looked through his wood stash to find something suitable: sturdy but light.  I asked him to cut it to size, but he was unable to get to it before leaving town for work.  So, I dug deep and figured out the table saw by myself (and kept all my fingers in the process).  Win!

First, I covered the top with gesso, made some patterns in it and left it to dry overnight.  The next morning I hated the patterns, so covered it with gesso again and made different patterns.  The gesso was light enough that some of the old patterns showed through, which I actually liked.  This photo shows the first set of patterns.

Then I started laying on some color.  Different shades of blue.  I wanted some dark areas and light areas.
The lighting's not great in this next phot, but I felt like the background needed more blue and that the dark needed to mellow out a bit.  I also took ripped some Tim Holtz tissue paper, smeared some acrylic paint on and glued it on.  In retrospect, it might have been a better idea to wait to do the butterflies, but I needed to put something down.  The placement of the middle butterfly happened because the lines on the paper corresponded almost exactly to the etch marks I'd made in the gesso.  Just felt like it had to go there.
 I'd just listened to a podcast where the artist advocated finger painting so I did that this go around.  It was great.  You can see that the blue isn't as washed out as in the above photo.
I looked at the sign for a day or two and felt like it was still too dark.  I wanted to lighten it up a bit so I used a stencil and Tim Holtz Picket Fence Distress stain spray to do positive and negative circles.  I then added some shading to the circles so that the negative ones on the right almost looked sunken in and tried to make the positive ones on the left pop out.
All along I'd wanted an image of a goddess or some powerful woman figure.  I couldn't come up with anything I liked, so finally I googled images of women speaking or singing.  I loved one of a multi-racial woman that came up.  I used her as the basis for the figure that I started to paint in the corner.
 I'd also ripped out the definition of "voice" from an old dictionary, but couldn't figure out how to incorporate it yet.  One night I realized that I could put the woman speaking on the definition.  I made the outline of her and then shaded her in with sponges and distress ink.  I wanted her to be translucent enough to see the words still.

I had also been having a lot of trouble coming up with a font that I liked.  I downloaded some fonts online but none really worked.  Kalin even came up with several fonts-- one of which was really cool and  I was close to using!  Then I thought to look in my stamp stash and found a set that I'd bought at a garage sale last summer.  I spread out the stamps in different ways to get an idea of how things were shaping up.

 I didn't like any version I came up with.  Finally I realized that I'd made the sign too tall.  So I took to the saw again and cut it in two.
 I embossed the letters on deli paper with a custom made mix of red and gold embossing powder to come up with dulcinea.
 I made a sister sign with the other piece of board.

I loved doing this project.  It came out completely different than my original thoughts, but I'm liking the results.