Translucent layering is a wonderful way to add depth to a bead or, in the case of this piece below, a little polymer painting.
Roberta Warshaw isn’t too happy with this polymer painting but I think she has accidentally ended up with a better design than she might have if she had been able to fully control the process.
Her process here includes marker ‘painting’ on the clay, layers of translucent polymer lamella (a technique using very thin translucent layers embedded with metal leaf as developed by Kathleen Dustin) and a little carving of the clay. She professes to have laid a layer of lamella the wrong direction thus losing the “golden glow”. She doesn’t say where this mistake is and I can’t see it or maybe the photograph doesn’t show it. Regardless, any misdirected layer is not affecting the end result in any negative way. And what is wrong with a glow-less layer? A little contrast between glow and no-glow could add dimension … an expanse of matte color among the glittering lamella sea. Sounds a bit dramatic but, hey, it’s true–uninterrupted shine will often have less impact than shine interrupted and contrasted with a little dull or subdued mixed in.
Her other disappointment was stated to be in her carving skills. The leaf stem on the left is wider than she intended. However, stop and imagine if the stem was as slim as the rest (see the photoshop version below). Do you see how it changes the balance and the movement in the piece? In the one above, the heavier leaf on the left pulls the balance towards the outside and the stems going from a barely there slimness on the right to a heavy, robust leaf on the left suggests growth (which is often what we sense in a graduated scale of size … from small like a sapling to large like a full grown tree.) Between the pull to the side and the sense of growth, there is a feeling of movement, something more dynamic than the pretty but comparatively static feel of what I think she was after.
I can’t disagree with her on wanting more control with her carving. Even though I like the composition better the way it ended up, you can kind of tell the larger leaf was not intended, that the carving of it may have been worked over a couple times or was done with a heavy hand unlike the other two. Often, a large part of the beauty we perceive in a piece of art is the sense that the work done was wholly intentional and under the artist’s control. You can have good composition, excellent color choices and an intriguing form but if it is created without skill, it is very difficult to enjoy the other aspects. Do you agree?