Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Colonies and Rookeries and Waddles...Penguinville

In the midst of the house being painted, the roofing extravaganza, family birthdays and my darling dear working out of town in my favorite place in the world...I made time for a unique project that not only taught me a lot about penguins, but also schooled me in painting on polyester!  How did I reach this "ripening" age without the experience of painting on poly?  I'm used to the qualities and response of cotton muslin...even silk.  But enough talk, let's get to the pictures.

This was a white tux that I believe was a rental.  It had stains that looked like chocolate or red wine or balsamic vinegar!

I sketched out the suit and circled the main stains, then strategically placed 4 breeds of penguins...gentoo, king, rockhopper and humboldt, to best cover the stains.

It was a deciding factor for the design...I flipped them different directions, made them smaller or larger...and added in rocks and such.

The next challenge came when I started trying to watercolor onto the polyester.  It bled, in two directions like a cross.  The paint crept along the threads of the suit...and they kept growing long after I thought they had stopped.  I would come back to something I had painted and it would be an inch wide spot.  Back to the drawing board.

Originally, I'd wanted to do Japanese style painting on the's a favorite style and I thought it would keep the suit soft and flexible.  It didn't take long to realize that I would have to block in areas of color with solid paint and do the art from there.  After that, it was smooth sailing in penguinville.

For the pants I decided to go big or go home.  But that's just how I am...wait until you see the back.  And since I love to paint rocks...I perched a few gentoo's on some rock nests and placed a penguin "gaurd" at the top.

This baby king penguin popping out of the pocket is probably the cutest thing I've seen in a long time.  Researching penguins put a big smile on my face...fuzzy babies, hundreds of penguins running with their flippers up, rockhoppers with eyebrows blowing in the breeze!

 For the sleeves, king penguins on icebergs...

...with lanternfish lunch swimming up above.

My lovely assistant models the jacket...

It was my hope to merge mild with wild, and leave enough neutral space around the details so they wouldn't blend and get lost.  From the back, side and have three distinct views.

And the back gives new meaning to "eyes in the back of your head"...or "Watch your back!!"  This larger-than-life rockhopper means business.  The funny thing is, they are a relatively small penguin standing at around 20" tall.  But if you're standing behind this one, watch your calamari plate...