I have been working quite diligently on my portrait this past week. It is almost completely finished, there is just one more decision that I need to make before I mount it on a it's wooden block.
First, I dyed the fabric and printed the portrait. The actual image did not come out as dark as I wanted, so I did come back into it with watercolors in some places.
From the beginning, I have always intended to cut shapes out of the portrait, and the more I thought about what the portrait was representing, the more I wanted to cut out arrow like shapes. But finding arrow forms that worked well for my purposes has been difficult. I wanted them to be able to convey a message about direction, but also be small enough that the portrait itself was discernible amongst the shapes. I came up with this arrangement about a month ago that combined my original idea with painted arrow shapes, hoping that it would be a good compromise between my original vision and the difficulties I've been having in executing that vision.
I used the sample that I made as a template to cut out the arrows. It saved me an immense amount of time because I didn't have to remeasure everything, even though I originally planned on drawing things out anyway. It also makes me glad because, since the stencil was on card stock, if my knife slipped, it messed up the stencil and not the actual piece itself. If I had messed up and cut something that I wasn't supposed to, I think I would have found it hard to start over on this piece for a third time.
This is the piece before I went back in and painted on the additional arrows. I was actually kind of pleased. Having the columns of arrows staggered really helped to preserve more of the face. Although, this photograph made me notice that having the portrait mounted on a white background may be too overwhelming.
Here you can see the arrows that I came back in and painted on. They are super subtle, especially int he darker parts of the portrait at the bottom. I also began to experiment with photographing the portrait on a brown background, which I definitely thinks helps with preserving the integrity of the portrait. The cut outs don't overwhelm the image with the brown back ground. The background in this picture appears a little too dark. In real life, it is considerably lighter: more similar to the medium tones of the image. It works really well for what I want, so it might be what I go with,
The question then becomes what I used to make the portrait's background brown. The sample that I did to test whether I liked it or not was just watercolor on computer paper. Do I keep that? Do I try watercolor on laminated or watercolor paper? Do I dye some organza? And then, once I figure that out, I need to figure out how the two pieces are going to be attached. If I would have thought of this at conception, I would have just stitched the two together and called it a day. But, depending on what I use for the background of course, do I just use spray adhesive to attach it to the wood, and attach the portrait with nails over top? Or do I just paint the wood the color brown I want I?
What are your thoughts?