Friday, March 10, 2017

Nonie's Birds .5 - Birdy, Birdy in the Tree

The title of this post might seem a little odd, why a .5 instead of 1? My reasoning: the piece of altered art didn't quite reach the standard I had hoped.

The story behind the art is this:

"My Grandmother Leona, who was known as Nonie to family members, loved birds. One of my earliest memories of her is being small enough to be held in her arms at her back window. On the windowsill were little glass birds. She would sing to me a little chorus as she held me near the window, 'Birdy, Birdy, in the tree*, Sing a little song for me. Birdy, Birdy in the tree, Sing a little, sing a little song for me.' How I love the memory of her sweet voice. I wanted to capture in a work of art the joy of that song."


One of the happy aspects of this art is I was able to successfully use the QOR Cold Press Ground medium I've had on hand for a few months.
Cold Press Ground is a medium that once brushed on a surface becomes much like a piece of Cold Press watercolor paper. I smoothed the Cold Press Ground on a 5 x 7 canvas with a palette knife and a dampened brush. I used an inexpensive brush since I was not sure how easy it would be to wash out of the bristles. I tried to keep the coating thin, but it was impossible to keep it entirely smooth. If you use this product, you must expect it to be more like Rough Watercolor Paper than the smoother Cold Press. When the first coat dried, I added another thin coat and let that dry.
I was pleased when, just as promised, the surface accepted watercolor paints. When I had the background finished, I began to add my main subject, a small bird created out of pages of the book 'Anne of Green Gables.' I am always on the lookout for classic stories in thrift shops, antique stores and yard sales. **

I also cut out the words Birdy, Birdy, etc., from a large-print children's storybook. I gave each page I intended using a quick coat of watercolors.

An easy bird pattern was next. I placed it in a bright window and traced the image on my watercolored book page.
A button from my grandmother's dress was the final touch.
I like the composition of the art, and the colors I used, but ran into a serious difficulty; because I used watercolor, when I glued on the bird and letters with Mod-Podge, the brush lifted the watercolors and smeared them into non-distinct forms. The design originally included a sturdy tree. You can still see it a bit, but the form is not what I had hoped in the beginning...this is why I have titled the artwork: Nonie's Birds .5.
I know I'll be repeating this design, and next time I will use watered down acrylic paint in place of the watercolors.
*No one in the family is sure where the song, 'Birdy, Birdy,' originated. We think our grandmother might have made it up. If anyone has heard this simple little song, and knows its origin, please let me know in the comment section.
**If you intend to sell prints of your finished artwork, you must remember to use stories that are copyright free and in the public domain. 

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