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Archive for the ‘The Great American Glass Industries’ Category

Flower Children

“Flower Children”, as the above creatures on Yupo Paper are called, just happened by accident—but gave birth to a new-to-me process which excites me more than I can say!  For starters, the original is larger than my scanner/printer bed so that you are not by any means looking at the whole painting.

The elephant (I think that’s what they are) on the right has a much longer stretch of trunk, and the bottom of the piece is loaded with flowers.  On the left, the original painting contains a generous vertical column of flowers—thus adding balance and extra interest.  The flowers are mostly rose-hued and magenta, with splashes of white.

The blotchy quality is obviously due to Kosher salt.  But not obvious on the print is the raised texture, achieved with gouache over the initial watercolor washes.  I have used gouache before, but never to the extent of mounding it up so heavily—like oil paint.  This works on Yupo, but is not so effective on normal rag watercolor paper which will soak up some of the layers.  On Yupo (a glass-like synthetic surface), the paint cannot go anywhere but up.  The rugged textural effect of the original is visible through glass in a picture frame, but not on the reproduction.

So given those details, hopefully you can begin to imagine these funky flower children.  Gouache on Yupo has a brilliance, similar to acrylic, yet it can be thinned to transparency.  (I guess acrylic can also, but I’ve yet to try that.  So far I have not fallen in love with acrylic, like I have with gouache and watercolor.)

The above painting and the two below, which I did in the same week, are framed and hanging in our living room/dining area—hanging, yet nearly bouncing off the wall thanks to their vibrant color.  The combination of Yupo, watercolor, salt, and a build-up of gouache is something that I think I can reproduce while spinning off in many directions with an endless variety of subject matter.  No two renderings will ever be alike, because paint on Yupo does its own thing.

Meanwhile, here are the paintings which follow the “Flower Children”:

Castlewood Canyon 3

“Castlewood Canyon, Colorado”.  Also too large for my scanner.  There is more rock across the lower right on the original, and more vegetation on the left.  But the over-all effect has been reproduced.

End of the Day Glass Series 3

“End of the Day Glass” (series)  I’ve posted at least one other in this series.  Victorian glassware is a delight to me.  Glassblowers sometimes combined their leftovers at the end of the day and created one-of-a-kind whimsies that could not be reproduced—rather like paintings on Yupo paper.

Like the others, this one was a lot of fun.  The original, also large, contains more on the bottom and left.  The bubbly, blobby circles in the upper center formed themselves, and I was careful not to disturb them while dropping in a suggestion of blue and rose.  Then I fabricated the lower, slightly off center blob with my brush to extend the idea of the roundness of the vases (or whatever they are).  Again, Kosher salt created speckles, and here I squirted a bit of water from my small spray bottle, while tipping the Yupo to disperse the water and salt.

These are all tricks and techniques that a child could learn if he or she so desired.  And each finished work is always different from the last.  It’s a wonderful feeling to make something that is “uniquely YOU!” or “uniquely ME!”

Margaret L. Been, June 2014

 

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Flowers in End of Day Glass Vase

The above, “Flowers in An End of the Day Glass Vase” was too large (matted to a 16 x 20 outside mat size) to scan, so I had to prop it on a chair and photograph the painting.  The painting is a combination of watercolor and gouache (love that stuff!) on YUPO® paper—a synthetic, polypropylene surface.

Normally on YUPO, I begin with no idea in mind.  I simply wet the paper, dump paint, and watch the happenings develop.  The subject often presents itself and I go from there.  Even if no pictures appear in the paint, something triggers a memory in my head and voilà:  there is the subject with a title. 

Here, however, I sat down to paint with Flowers in An End of the Day Glass Vase in mind.  I love art glass, especially that made by the American glass companies of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Indiana in the glory days of 19th and early 20th century glass production.* 

In the industries, End of the Day glass was a composite of left over blobs of gathers (those molten mixtures of sand and whatever in the ovens) literally at the end of the day.  These gathers were combined to make one-of-a-kind creations—mottled and streaked with a plethora of colors.

Since I’m frequently tired at the end of the day, that is a perfect time to paint Flowers in An End of the Day Glass Vase!

Margaret L. Been, ©2013

* Sadly, people no longer linger much over beautifully appointed, at-home dinner tables!  Elegant home dining is something I grew up with, and have continued to celebrate—but few bother anymore.  Hence, our superior American glass makers have dwindled.  The last one to hold out is Fenton—the only company, as far as I know, to remain in a family for its history—beginning in 1905. 

Beset by financial issues due to the abysmal decline of American elegance and its subsequent dirth of markets for art glass, the Fenton Company has struggled and struggled again, to subsist and continue.  The continuance of a glass industry is a strange thing to pray for, but sometimes I do pray for odd things—especially traditions that say a lot because of their implicit quality of life.  🙂

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