Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inspired by Haiti

The other day I was looking at the horrific news reports out of Haiti, and I saw a news photo of two women sitting awaiting help.  What struck me was their posture, and the wonderful colors of their dresses and headscarves.  I cropped the photo, simplified it on Photoshop, then graphed out the results on newsprint, which I then taped to a piece of illustration board.  In some ways the results look a little like a paint by number kit.

I dug into my files of colored papers, mostly clipped from fashion magazines, catalogs, paper bags, and pages from old dictionaries.  I even had some colored paper I stripped from old matting.  I selected some colors to use, and put them into stacks by color.

After I transferred the design to the illustration board I quickly added some watercolor to help me see where the pieces of prepared colored paper would go.

At this point I use tracing paper to make a pattern for each shape as it is placed.  Then the pattern goes over the selected scrap of paper and is carefully cut out and attache with a glue stick.  I do all my gluing on an old telephone book, turning the pages as they become sticky.  I find that using a little embroidery scissors works best for the little curvy pieces.  I cut out the biggest shapes first, then layer in smaller details.

This is the final result, 12x12 inches.  I let some of the illustration board show because I like the little flashes of white and watercolor.  I also try to cut the larger areas, like the black into smaller shapes so that these blocks of color are broken up a little.

I like the whole process, simplifying shapes, selecting papers, layering on of pieces.  The end result reminds me of a colorful quilt - only much quicker and easier to do.  I also like the fact that the image appears somewhat abstract at first glance, and then the shapes begin to make sense.

I'll live with this a few days, decide if I want to make any additions, then I will coat the front and back with matt medium, which will secure all the pieces and prevent the picture from warping.


JoAnn said...

Sherry, this is wonderful. You are so darn clever. I loved reading all the steps of your process.

Margaret Ann said...

So rich and beautiful...:)

Judybec said...

beautiful job Sherry!
I'm going to use your phone book gluing technique -- great idea!

Carol said...

Wonderful work, very rich and quiltlike. Thank you for sharing your process AND results.

Ramona Davidson said...

Lovely work. Your picture feels very much like the style I saw Haitians painting when I was there in 1993.