Monday, 10 November 2008

Behind the scenes of a burlesque and pin-up artist

I decided a while ago how good it would be to show the process and workings behind my paintings and other art work, and have finally set up this new blog!
My aim is that this piece of web space will act almost like a sketchbook showing where my ideas have come from, what has inspired me, where I've visited and what I've been doing as an artist who specialises in burlesque and pin up.

So without furthur ado, let me show you my most recent project:

I've wanted to experiment with a gold leaf effect for a long time now and my newest painting has allowed me to use it as a sumptuous backdrop to a new sultry image.

I recently did a photoshoot for a commission with a friend of mine who often models for me. The client wanted a rather abstract painting of a section of naked back. But during the shoot I saw the potential of looking further into the idea of a provocative image exploring the dynamics of hiding and revealing.
My ongoing series, My Baby's Got a Secret seemed like a great platform for this idea as each painting gives a glimpse at a hidden story which challenges the viewer to make their own judgement as to what is going on .
A woman's naked back can be one of the sexiest views of her body, for although she is naked she reveals nothing but promises much. I wanted to add a further hint of hidden agenda by having my model wear a ribbon tied around her neck.

I began by outlining the image on to a small canvas, small because I want this painting to be very intimate and sexy rather than overwhelming.

Then after masking around the image I began to add 'Size' a special adhesive for leaf metal. I used a brand called Easy Metal which can be bought in most art and craft suppliers. I find Fred Aldous to be really good for supplying things like this..

I heard that size used to be called 'rabbit size' as it was made from rabbits, but as far as I know this is no longer the case, at least I hope not.
The size takes 15 minutes to get tacky and is then ready for the leaf metal to be placed over. Again I used leaf from the Easy Metal range.

It's harder than it seems. I found the best trick was to let the leaf float onto the surface and then pat it into place with a padded up towel. I always overlaped each piece so that there will be no gaps and little evidence of joins.

It takes about two hours to set properly then using a soft brush I pressed the leaf into the canvas with circular motions. the excess leaf breaks away and I was left with gold in all the right places. The only problem was I got tiny pieces of gold confettii alll over my studio.
I then sealed the leaf with shellac, again from the same range. I was a bit unnerved as the shellac goes very blotchy before it dries and turns the gold into a murky mustard colour.

Thankfully after a while the whole surface settles and I was left with a uniform lushious gold. I then began to block in the colour and the painting was on it's way!

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