Sorry I've been so quiet. I'm having quite a hard time at the moment due to nueropathic pain caused by my MS. I've got an appointment on 20th October at the Pain Clinic to see if they can help.
Anyhoo enough of my woes.
Last week a family friend, Keith, who has an allotment near my parents left a plant pot full of dahlias in their back yard. He gives us some every year after the Leek Shows, after I told him a few years ago how much I love them. You can see from the photo how wonderful they are!
A couple of years ago, Keith was doing some work in my house and I had some Stambord blocks that I had not long finished on the hearth. He was fascinated by them and the rest of my artwork. I offered to make something for him and he asked if it could be based on a yellow cactus dahlia he grown some years previously. He gave me a tattered photo taken before digital cameras with the dahlia in the distance. This is a close up of the yellow cactus dahlia he gave me this year (complete with greenfly!).
I first drew out what I was thinking and added some ideas for materials. It still shocks me at how good the drawing turned out, as I couldn't really see the dahlia in the photo, so I drew this image from memory.
I knew I wanted the flower to be 3D, so working out how to do it became a real challenge.
I decided it would be best shown on a canvas, so I coloured a 12x12 deep edge canvas with various yellow and green paint. It was so long ago I can't remember what colours or even paint I used, but I know I used a scrunched-up piece of copier paper to add green to the mix. I didn't want the colour of the canvas to be the main focal point.
Next I hand drew some simple petal shapes onto acetate and cut the centre portion out so that I could just draw round the inside of the template to make each petal. These are for the larger petals and I did a similar one for the smaller petals too.
I sat one night in front of the TV drawing petals onto various patterned yellow scrapbook paper. Then the marathon cutting out started which took a while as I found it so tiring. I knew it was going to take a lot of petals but I didn't realised just how many!
I wanted each petal to have texture so I put most of them through the Cuttlebug, using various folders with some embossed and some debossed. I then folded the base of the petals behind and secured with tape. This meant that they looked more like the real thing. Once I'd finshed all of the petals I started to build the flower. I built it off the canvas in case it didn't turn out the way I had envisaged. I used a 2" square of card as the base and stuck the petals to it using silicone glue. This photo is of the first two layers of petals. This was when I realised I needed some more so another marathon tracing, cutting and taping session ensued LOL!!!
I built the centre layers of the flower separately too in case of error as the base layers were working so well. I used a plastic cup to keep the centre upright as the ball just kept trying to roll away!! I first attached the tissue paper but just stuck to the underside of the ball, so the tops of the petals were free to move.
As I began the lower layers of the centre I used double sided paper as the undersides could be seen and curled the paper to give the petals more 'life'. This photo is of the completed flower.
I used TSS metal in silver to cover the sides of the canvas. I just doodled free-hand on the metal with a couple of the TSS tools. I needed to colour the metal to make it tone in, but don't own any Alcohol Inks (OK I can hear the gasps of horror!!). I used brown acrylic paint applied with my finger (very carefully, so no cuts!) and then rubbed it back with a piece of kitchen towel. I stuck it on using TSS Humungo tape and made sure the edges and corners were safe.
I tore the vellum into a long shape and spritzed it with some kind of gold mist that I think I've chucked out now!! I then placed that and the completed flower to get the composition right.