2. If one of the elements to be used will take extra time to create and dry, make it now. I’m on a “head” kick so I’m making a lot of papier mache heads in advance. I use styrofoam heads for models as well as sculpted heads that I’ve created over the years to give me a variety of sizes. For papier mache, I use the traditional flour & water paste with paper towel (I like the texture) and a product called Claycrete.
3. Collect items that might work in the box with your theme. I’m working on a collection that will depict a different color in each box. My current box will be “black”. Gather things like jewelry, fabric, feathers, decals, coins, stencils, toys and trinkets. I always plan to do some illustrated areas so my boxes aren’t just a collection of “found” objects.
4. I use a pre-constructed shadow box that can be purchased at any craft store. Take the back board out of the box and prep it to be painted. Often this board has a velvet-like surface so I use a piece of illustration board or water color paper adhered to the original back board. If I’m going to do water color washes, I execute them directly on the water color paper. If I’m going to create a more opaque wash with acrylic paint, I’ll prime illustration board adhered to the back board, and then apply the color wash.
5. Begin to build up the elements on the background. Layers may have to be dried before others can be applied. Prop the board in front of a small space heater or use a hair dryer to speed the process. It’s always a good idea to be working on more than one piece so you can move to one while another is drying. Stick with traditional rules of design: uneven # of elements and work from the background to the foreground. When layering, this isn’t always possible since some layers happen by accident. Realize your original sketch may change significantly.
6. Examples of two finished pieces: Kaleidoscope and Begin & End and a photo of each as a work in progress.
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