The air has a crisp scent, pumpkins are popping up, leaves are falling down. Its that time of year - time for the Day of the Dead!
We have discussed the Dia de los Muertos both recently and in the past here on the AJE blog. It is a celebration that inspires me greatly - with its rituals and colors, its heritage and history. ( I have discussed that here. ) The holiday acknowledges death as a part of life, and remembers & honors the departed. ( Linda goes into depth on her post from last month if you missed it.)
This is the second year I have made polymer "sugar skulls" - my take on the popular decoration for Day of the Dead. This time I was savvy enough to take pictures of the process. I hope you enjoy - and feel free to ask me questions!
|Roll a ball of polymer. I use ivory. |
( 2 pts white, 1 part translucent, 1 pt ecru)
|Pinch and turn bottom half - aiming for a light bulb shape.|
|Gently flatten until desired shape is achieved. Square off chin if you want...|
Roll a wedge shaped tool in from edge toward center of head.
Soften hard edges with your finger.
|Variations on cheekbones and chins.|
|I use wax modeling tools from my casting classes in college. |
This has a spear tip, bent like a spoon and makes great nostrils!
|Repeat on other side for that skull nose shape.|
|Roll a tool across the jaw to mark out mouth and teeth.|
|Press teeth in above and below line with "bent spear" tool.|
|Teeth on left are simple lines pressed in, pressing above and below mouth line at the same time. Eyes have a little interest added with a star shaped screwdriver bit from the hardware store.|
|First layer of color! Burnt umber to antique the clay. I use Genesis heat set oils. Here you see it applied, and then wiped back with a tissue.|
|Antiqued and sanded. Ready for color - in the form of acrylics.|
|1. red applied to dot design. 2. red wiped off with finger. 3. red sanded back /ivory on face. 4. Others with impressed designs colored, wiped, sanded.|
Then I just break out small brushes, put on music, and paint! This two part process really clicked with me. Like a wash, or an underpainting when painting on canvas, the burnt umber adds great depth to the colors with out being too heavy of opaque. I do heat set my acrylic layer - although every one seems to have differing opinions about that. And this batch was given a light coat of Swellegant sealer. Its very important to me to be sure the colors are secure and long lasting with normal wear.
|Ready for a Day of the Dead celebration near you!|
Feliz Dia de los Muertos!
Stay tuned for the next two Fridays! I have some slightly spooky, slightly morbid topics bubbling away on the cauldron...
- The skulls have wrapped loops - a barbell is you will - in the back. It is held in place with a textured bit of clay, integrating yet hiding the hanging mechanism.
- Clearly I am new to tutorials as I forgot pix of a whole stage in the process. Sorry!
- I do not receive any $$ from Christi Friesen for promoting her products: flower molds and Swellegant.