Thursday, August 25, 2016

Night Owl

This month's project brought me inspiration to upcycle some DVD-Rs and to put my sculpting brain to work. The theme for the PCAGOE September challenge is "Owls". I can remember when I was a kid, when owls were very popular, and they've made a popularity come-back once again over the last handful of years.


I'm not quite sure when the inspiration struck to use the DVD-Rs, but perhaps it hit me when I was in the studio looking at the massive stack of them. You see, my husband makes a lot of recorded DVDs from our over-the-air broadcast movie channels (we don't have cable or satellite, just a big old-fashioned antenna). He records movies so that we'll have a catalog of interesting things to watch for the future, since we don't really watch television programs but we do love movies. Many times, he gets a "bad" DVD-R that just doesn't record the information, or in some cases the online television guide that he uses messed up the broadcast schedule. When these mishaps occur, he tosses those DVDs into the trash. Since I am the one who empties the bins every week, I find them and keep a stack of them for "someday I'll turn these into something" projects. Well, I got to make a small dent into my stack of dvd-rs that have been piling up for the last 5 years or so.   



The sheen on the recorded side of most of my dvds is a lovely hue of purple, then I have some that are a lighter hue of purple and others that are a silver with iridescent purple sheen. Because of that color variation, I decided that these would make a perfect night sky, if I were to add a thin layer of liquid polymer painted with alcohol inks. I didn't quite like the holes in the centers of the dvds, so I decided to add some clay centers, which I think also add some interest. I made them graduating colors of purple (darkest at the bottom going to lightest at top), with one pearly white center at the top right, to be the moon. I also made sure to paint the liquid polymer in gradation from lighter surrounding the moon dvd to darker for those further away from the moon dvd. After these were cured, I drilled holes in them and strung them together with wire. 


Next came the owl sculpt. I had decided on a barn owl. Although I love all owls, I have a particular fondness for the look of the barn owls. Because I didn't want him to be too heavy, I first made a rough form out of aluminum foil. I draped a large sheet of raw polymer over the foil and cut it to the shape I needed. This first layer was cured, then I started to add the details. I added the black eyes and the beak, and then cured that layer too. Then began the sculpting of the feathers and his legs. The larger wing feathers are where the most of the work was done, handcutting each individual feather. The talons were made by bending a heavy gauge copper wire and cutting it at an angle to make the ends look sharp, these were thrust into the sculpted feet. The beak and eyes were treated to a coating of clear liquid Kato, to give them a glassy shine. 


After he was fully sculpted I used a cotton swab with varying alcohol inks to give coloring to his wing feathers and to accents of his face and chest. He then went in for a final cure. After he was fully cured, I used some burnt umber water soluble oil paint antiquing to add definition to the wing feathers and to the dimensionality of his body. I didn't notice till after the photos were taken that I need to add a little more of this antiquing to the area between his legs. The sculpting of this area is dimensional, with the back leg is slightly behind the front leg, but because of the white coloring, that is hard to see. I will be adding more shading in that area, to define it better. 



I had planned to sculpt a branch for him to perch upon, but I ran out of time... so I ran outside and grabbed this small branch from a storage of tinder that we keep on our property. I actually quite like the way it looks, but I may still sculpt a branch for him (undecided).  


This is probably the largest sized project I've ever completed, the entire wall-hanging is about 20" by 15"! The owl is about 11" tall...  I'm really pleased with this piece, overall.  Though, I haven't decided what I'm going to do with him yet. He may become a permanent resident of my studio space, but then again, he might fly somewhere else.... ;) What do you think of my night owl wall-hanging? Do you have any good ideas for how I might use the other multitude of trashed dvd-rs that I have remaining (which are bound to accumulate further)? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please do take a moment and leave me a comment below!

12 comments:

  1. Beth, I think THIS one will be your best yet....although I KNOW I have said that before...You always out perform YOU! Beautiful...Love it and look forward to seeing it real and up close!

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    1. Aw, Thank you, my dear friend! :) I do like this project, but not sure it's my favorite of all that I've done over the years... there are a few that I can think of which are higher on my favorites list. ;)

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  2. Beth, you amaze me every time. Brava! I love your barn owl. Your sculpting is wonderful. I'm very curious about the dvds in the oven though. Did they warp? Did you have to reglue the liquid clay once it was cured? Either way, your piece is beautiful, well done.

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    1. Thanks so much, Line! The dvds did not warp, on the whole. There was one that I forgot to put in with the group, so that one got cured separately, and because the oven spiked really high before I realized it, that one did warp a little (it kind of bubbled out, like a slight concave circle) but it wasn't too noticeable, and I might play with that down the road, as I really liked the effect of it! ;) And no, the liquid pc bonded to the cd, I didn't have to reglue it.

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    2. Beth this is an absolutely wonderful wall piece! I liked reading about your process, too. This is a great piece of art. :)

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  3. You never cease to amaze with your vision, talent, and creativity. This is spectacular in every detail. I love the owl and how you colored it with inks. And how you upcycled the DVDs. That's one of my favorite things about your art in general: how you see things for other than what they are. It's a true gift.

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    1. Aww, Thank you, my friend, for your generous comments! :) I do love to upcycle things by turning "trash" into something else, I'm glad that part of my work is appreciated!!

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  4. Precioso, laborioso y original trabajo. Mis felicitaciones

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  5. Love your owl and dvd night background creation. The owl would make a lovely tutorial.

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    1. Thanks so much, Mim! I will have to consider making a tutorial for the owl, thanks for the input! :)

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