Bronzed Plaster

Last week, I talked about the potentially complicated process of creating plaster sculptures, and how important it was for us to take our time and be mindful of the details. Since then, I’ve cast two more low reliefs from my negative, and am nearing the project’s completion. The final steps for me are to clean up the edges of the cast, paint each of them so they look as though they belong together yet retain their own unique character, and create a simple stand for them to better showcase their depth.

In class we discussed the possibility of treating the surface so it would have the a crude likeness to a true bronze cast, and after seeing some of my classmates successfully treat their surfaces this way, I was convinced. We started with a flat coat of black covering the entire relief, and after it dried began to dry brush shades of dark green onto the new black surface. Gradually, the dark greens turned to lighter greens, which turned to yellows and finally whites. The application of the acrylic was time-consuming, but the process of feathering it onto the surface with a dry brush was very repetitive and strangely soothing. I quite enjoyed it, and the results that ensued:

Before: 

20160302_112652

After: 

20160302_112702As you can see in my photos, I applied the same technique with shades of red and orange (and maybe a little metallic) with the second cast. In previous discussions with my professor, we had discussed painting the third of my reliefs using more expressive colors that fill the geometric shapes of my raven, capturing and expressing a more original Native American palate, but I also like the idea of using this patina approach to create one that appears almost pewter. This might help me avoid breaking too far away from the set. So I have a decision to make, and I’m recruiting you… let me know in the comments below which approach you think I should take!

This project is gearing us up for casting three-dimensional sculptures in the coming weeks. We will, yes, be casting out of plaster again, but the promise of casting in metals is dangling in the air, like milk bones wagging in front of a litter of young pups, and we are chomping at the bit. No longer will we have to paint imitation luster; it will be, in essence. Can’t wait to sink my teeth in.

Until next week, and thanks, as always for the read!

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