Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How I Spent My Winter Vacation
(or How to Come Up With Art for the Outdoors)

After so many inquiries the past three years asking if my paintings could be hung in an outdoor or semi-outdoor (screened-in porch) I decided to increase my customer base over the winter. I spent a great deal of time and thought (really!) about this and came to one conclusion: I gotta use metal. Since my best iron-welding days occurred about 25 years ago back in college and the likelihood of magically gaining a TIG or MIG welder would be like expecting Oprah to call asking for art lessons I decided to pursue "manipulating" metal via hand tools, Home Depot, and my noggin.

Featured to the right for your viewing pleasure is my spacecraft for very, very, very, very, very (etc.) short people. I still have high hopes of one day capturing a huge tuna-like fish upon a lure made from this do-dad. I can then feed all the folks in some hunger-stricken country and fulfill my life-long dream of appearing on Oprah. Until then you may laugh at your heart's content at the very bad excuse for a Medieval shield.

I went back to basics and found some success. Now I need all of you to critique and offer suggestions just like we artisans did back in college. There are a few things that I need to keep secret for the moment since there are those that scour the internet looking for a fast buck (here's a hint for those of you doing so: this ain't no FAST buck). I'm looking for my art buddies Christy, Courtney and Conni to lay it on thick. Also Gretchen, look for "Gert the Fish" to show up in this genre as well as others. You get your version in June. Seriously, I need some direction. Here's what we have:

These are tiles laid out like a lizard on my newest canvas: wood. It is now painted and ready for finishing. Questions: I thought of puff-paint as "grout" but Joan thinks it'll cheapen the look. We're thinking definition via my use of those "squiggles" found in my horse paintings.

The sides are painted black. Should I do my thing like I do on my painted canvas sides? Squiggles and whatever via pens or paint?

Here's the rough lay-out for the first one.

This features a view of something I will incorporate into some of them. The gold flecks are actually metal and I have the adhesives to make them like a signature or a wide swath. I need direction ladies (and gentlemen). Let me know!


Creative-Type Dad said...


I would just do a test first. I always test something out before making it permanent

Gretchen said...

Wow, that lizard is cool.

I like the idea of squiggles on the side or maybe just a colored band to match one of the stones?

I agree with Joan on the puffy paint, but can't think of anything but colored caulk. Do you want dimension? Is the grout for adhering for for the look?

I think the metallic flakes are awesome.

I really can't wait to see the finished product.

Anonymous said...

I won't need real grout. The tiles will be "glued" to the surface with a permanent adhesive. I was just thinking of adding something to body of the image.

I'm now thinking of using my painting ability to fulfill that idea.

Anonymous said...

you are such and artist(LOL)- hang that canvas outside and let it warp- it then becomes 3-D the easy way!! Eventually the dust will shield out the sun damage too.

I would use the modelling compound that you can add to paint to make it stiff and tint it with paint (all of your colors) and use a palette knife to build up in between the squares- so you have your colors but different layers of it. You will have to clean of the glass tiles but you can handle that. Put a red shiny thing for a focal point for the eye (a bottle cap maybe or something)or even a sqiggle of wire sticking out for the toungue!

I agree with Joan (you know I always do) stay away from the puffy paint. I like the black on the sides........but you could stripe it.

have fun!-christy

Anonymous said...

Hi Bennie,

nice idea!
So, since you asked, here ya go:
- try leaving less space between the mosaic - more stones would be better
- i love the lizard theme, it looks high end, etc., but as said, it needs a little bit more beef to warrant a higher price.
- the colors are great - the gold and turquois looks great together
- the edges: how about more mosaic stones glued on the edge? or those round glass lentils? Remember, the shoppers at shows are often women, and they love sparkly things.
- for squiggly lines, you could also try some 3-d glue with gold (keep it looking high end - avoid the flourescent colors)to outline the mosaics, maybe?it would add a little bit of texture without being too heavy.
- I like the simplicity of the lizard onthe space, it reads well and is easy to recognize. Great idea and I do think you are headed in a good direction! (oh, and of course: put it on a stick for sos :) )

keep up the good work!

Ben and Bennie said...

Awesome stuff, everyone! I knew I could count on you. Oh yeah, Conni, I had to explain SOS to Joan.

I gotta awesome "turtle crossing" idea for one via a sign posted near Tybee Island I saw last fall. I have six started that I plan on taking with me next weekend. The lizard, a sea horse, dolphins, turtle crossing, and either a palm or a mermaid. At least one will be done in "reverse" (the image is surrounded by the mosaic).

BTW, if any of you need ANY information about glues, epoxies, grouts, or cements I should be able to answer the question.

Gretchen said...

Oooh, Maddy will be all over your dolphin. Awesome--how long do you think these will take you to complete? I'm always impatient to see the finished product! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm on pace for a three day turnover.

Christy, how many coats of poly-acrylic? I'm thinking a minimum of three. First one sprayed, particularly if I'm using the fleck dust (which I'm not so far). Next two coats are brushed front & back.

Keep in mind that no one is walking on it like your stuff.