Sunday, October 26, 2008

Old World Wisconsin, and a New Material

watercolor on Tyvek

This past week we took a drive through the Kettle Moraine of southern Wisconsin to do some leaf peeping.  Our drive took us through the little town of Eagle, so we decided to stop at Old World Wisconsin, a living history site created by the State Historical Society back in the 1970s. We hadn't been there in ages, maybe fifteen years.  The last time I was there it was with over a hundred eighth graders.  Anyway, it was a beautiful fall day for walking around all the farmsteads, churches, and stores of Yankee, Norwegian, Polish and other immigrant groups. Since it was midweek, there were no crowds, only a couple school groups.  At most houses the volunteers had stoves burning, and in several food was cooking.  The garden produce was being brought inside, and at least one pig had been turned into hams and sausages, and was smoking. This sow was enjoying the sunshine and rooting happily in some foliage.  She came trotting over when I called her, and enjoyed having her ears scratched.  I love farm animals, and there were plenty to see, oxen, horses, and chickens.

Our walk through the historic site took us past a large marsh where the colorful trees were reflected in the water.

At one farmstead I met a man who was dressed for the cool weather in a wool overcoat and knotted scarf.  I complimented him on his mustache, and he let me take his picture.  I hope to do more with his picture later. 

This fast sketch, like the two above it were experiments in using watercolor on Tyvek.  I met an artist near Mineral Point recently who was using the material in mixed media projects.  She told me that she recycled old Priority Mail envelopes, so I tried cutting up one I found at home into post card-size pieces.  Then I did loose watercolor washes, and finished up with Micron pen.  I like that pen for line work, since it comes in various widths, and it dries waterproof.  On the picture of the sow I also layered in some TomBow marker, which blended well with the watercolor, and since it is not waterproof, allowed me to soften some edges.  The Tyvek is a manmade material, and seems to have qualities of both paper and material.  The watercolor soaked in, but I also could soften and lift color fairly easily.  I spray mounted the finished pictures into my sketchbook.


JoAnn said...

Love the idea of using Tyvek....made by duPont, located in Delaware and for whom my husband worked until he retired!


Sherry said...

Really? I'm having a good time working on the recycled material, but at some point I might like to find some that isn't imprinted with red white and blue on one side!

caseytoussaint said...

I love what you've done here. It's the first time I've ever heard of painting on Tyvek, and I'm not 100% sure that I know what it is. These paintings are wonderful, so I'm going to look into it!

Teri C said...

I LOVE going to OWW! It is not too far from my daughters so we get there at least once a year. such a fun place.

I love these on tyvek and now have to try it out. Thanks. Great sketches.

Gary Knowles said...

I just happened upon your blog and your art is really a treat! I enjoyed all your OWW work - and surfed through a few of your past entries. Great eye!

If you're looking for Tyvek I saw envelopes in about 11X13" size at Office Depot recently (no other printing)

Is your work exhibited or sold anywhere?

Sherry said...

Thanks, Gary. I'm having a ball playing with this new-to-me material. I often exhibit with the Janesville Art League at our PAC, and I have paintings at Raven's Wish gallery in Janesville. I also sometimes have some for sale at CoDos coffee shop here in town.

Sharon said...

The Tyvek texture on the pig turned out great Sherry! And I love the character in the face of the man you sketched. Where do you get Tyvek? I only know it as a building material, but not exactly the same as what you used, I'm sure.