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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fiona’s Flamingo hand-painted wooden wall art

I always endeavour to make a handcrafted gift for my wife Fiona for Christmas and this year I opted for a flamingo, a bird which she is fond of. Discovering an old and rather naive version of one set against the sea, I was taken by the idea of putting our local landmark Herne Bay pier head on the horizon. The engraving flamingo had a rather woeful-looking neck, so I gave it a more graceful curve, which also a better fit to my tall format and I was not giving much attention to reality, so this bird has an exaggerated neck.
My inspiration, an old coloured engraving, showing my grid and adapted neck to fit a taller format.
The oldest draughting trick there is: drawing a grid to translate the image  onto a larger format.
As long as your grid’s reliable, you can draw any squares in (note mine are numbered like a Battleships game) so you can re-visit undrawn areas...

Ensuring that the width of the neck is graceful and ‘S’-like.

Tracing the 2nd side before rubbing down
Positioning the trace down. To make this easier, the trace matches the size of the plank of wood
The trace taped on to transfer down
The darker line shows where the trace is complete. Sometimes a contrasty colour, like a red biro works well for this.

I liked the original caption, so traced that down too

A bottle of local craft beer helps burn the midnight candle!

Base colour for the pink in light acrylic
Blending in a rose madder pink
Base colour complete (note top of plank is yet to be trimmed off square, but acts as a useful trial area for colours

Loosely dashing in lighter ling leg segments

Loose is my style, so adding the sea in sketchy curls
Coming together
Prior to the ‘staining’, the colours looked a tad brash...
Adding an engraving-style scratch pen line in black ‘tightens up’ the image
Looking good with the caption hand-drawn in ink, prior to putting the coffee on!
Yes, really using my favourite black espresso coffee to add a sepia-coloured patina
A petit gris brush lays down the coffee
Head close-up showing the still-wet coffee lying on top of the original whitewash base

Local icon ‘Herne Bay pier head’
After staining, I bevelled the edges with a plane (sides) and surform (ends)
The final piece.