“Everything in the landscape blinded me, dazzled me. Coming from Europe I was constantly uncertain of some color [and kept] beating about the bush: and yet it was so simple to put naturally onto my canvas a red and a blue. In the brooks, forms of gold enchanted me. Why did I hesitate to pour that gold and all the rejoicing of the sunshine on to my canvas?” ~ Paul Gauguin
The painting for this month is a riot of color. There is a liveliness in the palette, as if each hue were dancing around in the humid air at sunset. I have to admit that at first glance, I actually didn’t see all the details…like the trees, the people, the house and the peacocks. I only saw the swaths of color.
So I decided that whatever I made I would concentrate on the color and keep the forms simple. I decided to tackle making actual beads. One of the reasons that I don’t usually make many beads is that I find it hard to be consistent. I recently bought several different tools that could help me with that problem: a bead rack for my oven as well as some bead rollers. Knowing that I could make more evenly shaped and sized beads meant that I could focus on the surface treatment.
These colors swirling around reminded me of that heap of scrap clay that I had sitting there. Lots of ends of creative bursts and projects gone wrong. With polymer clay there is never a need to throw it out. Scraps are my specialty, I just never know what they will become, but it is usually much better than the thing I was trying to make! What to do with all that colorful clay?
So I started chopping. I chopped all the paint colors that Gaugin used in his iconic imagery from the South Pacific…. Prussian blue cobalt blue, emerald green, viridian, cadmium yellow, chrome yellow, red ochre, cobalt violet, and lead or zinc white. Chop. Chop. Chop.
Next I twisted and rolled. Twisted and rolled.
I made a square log and cut it in half…and in half again. This presents an interesting pattern inside. The method I am using is called the Inside-Out or Natasha bead technique (ostensibly for the woman who pioneered it). I have used a similar style before with some pendants, but I took it one step further.
I really wanted to use the bead rollers I bought to make beads with this veneer on the outside, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. (Gosh, I hope those bead rollers will not be a bust!)
I decided to go smaller and cut cubes. I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I pinched the ends together to make a bicone shape and rolled into a ball. Pinched and prodded. Pinched and prodded. And rolled into balls.
A little rolling magic created a sort of flying saucer shape that I then flattened. I noticed that there appeared some flower and even butterfly like shapes! Fun! This is still a huge work in progress for me. Here is a little graphic that shows a sneak peek of the process that I am using:
Right now I am merely in the experimental phase. I always aim to learn something new each month inspired by the artwork that we host here at Art Bead Scene. I am just not sure if these will be the final manifestation for the Club selection. I don’t know if I want to keep making these this flat and large, but I quite like the patterns that are appearing when I do. I am also not quite sure of the finish of these. I want them to have more of the muted quality of Gaugin’s palette, thinking there might be more playing around involved that could include paint and stain. I am happy that they do recall the swirling colors that Gaugin painted his scenes. The only thing is that each one will be completely different. With this technique you just can’t quite make the same bead twice. But one-of-a-kind is sort of my jam, so I am okay with that.
When I get this little experiment done, something along these lines (different shapes? sizes? finishes?) will be on their way to my beloved Simple Truths Sampler Club participants. And there is always room in the Club if anyone is interested in joining. 😉