Monday, August 19, 2019

Cruising

"Cruising"
Image size 8" x 10"
Water Miscible oils

I wanted to paint Koi this week and thought that a palette knife painting would be fun and a bit looser than my usual.  I painted it on a stretched canvas that has been primed with Cadmium red paint so it has a very warm red underpainting.  I love having bits of bright colors showing through to give it some energy.

Most of my week was spent cutting out clay for my tile mural.  I finished cutting all of the pieces for the smaller side - about 125 pieces.  I know that clay shrinks when it dries (about 10%), but I underestimated how much that would affect the mural.  I want the grout lines to be about 1/8th inch and the pieces shrunk so much that if I placed them on the pattern where they belonged, the grout lines would have been about 1/4" or more.  In the picture below, I've pushed the pieces together and you can see the pattern around the curved edge and how much shrinkage there was.  The areas that are darker are where the clay isn't fully dry.  I will re-cut some pieces so that I can get it back to the original intended size.  It's all a learning experience.  Sigh...  Have I mentioned that I really don't know what I'm doing?  I've rarely worked with clay.


I've started cutting the pieces for the larger side and I am enlarging each piece by 1/8" all the way around each of the pattern pieces.  I'm sure I will have some tweaking to do once they dry and shrink, but that's okay.  I've heard that the pieces also shrink a little when they are fired, so this whole project is a big question mark.  Luckily, there is only one edge of each mural that needs to be accurate.  That is the side that abuts the sidewalk.  If the other outside dimensions of the mural are smaller, it really doesn't matter.  The only thing I need to worry about is having an accurate pattern to use to create the concrete pad on which the mural will be attached.

Another issue that I had with the clay is that my pieces wanted to curl up as they dried.  I googled that issue and one person said that it was because the top of the piece was drying more quickly than the rest of the clay.  The suggestion was to place the clay pieces on a rack so that air could circulate around the entire piece.  I know that the bottoms of the pieces weren't drying quickly because they were sitting on plastic.  I covered the pattern with plastic to protect it, but that also kept the bottom of the pieces from drying.  I'll see if the rack solves the problem.

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