Scarecrows in September

Wow, it’s September already! I love September the start of autumn and all those fabulously rich warm colours.  As a farmers daughter the harvest was always such a special time, I loved helping dad bring in the harvest when the whole countryside appeared to turn rich rusty gold, snuggly nippy nights, warm mellow days…oh and scarecrow trails!

Did you know that scarecrows have been around for over 3000 years? The Egyptians were the first to use Scarecrows along the Nile River to protect wheat fields from flocks of quail (see link to a great source The  History of Scarecrows). The Greeks, Romans and Japanese all had a form of scarecrows.  I think the scariest story of scarecorws was from medieval Britain who use living Scarecrows!!! 9-year old boys and older patrolled wheat fields carrying bags of stones to pelt the crows if they landed in the fields.

I hope you find my interpretation a lot friendlier!

To get started I needed to make an armature, now forgive me here because I was doing it all in a rush and didn’t remember photographs until it was made ready to StoneArt.  I will try to explain…
First I used a wooden base and some 2mm aluminium wire.  I pulled off around about a meter and starting from the centre I made a circle for the head by wrapping the wire around a jam jar. I extended out each side to made shoulders and arms and then wrapped the tail of each around the pole on the wooden stand.
Once this was done I used masking tape to secure it in place and padded out the body, arms and head with a lot of cheap kitchen foil.  I then masked the whole thing with masking tape.
I then made up a quantity of StoneArt Clay – around 150ml of Ivory Powertex – once this was made I painted Powertex onto the masking tape to give the StoneArt clay something to key onto and then added pieces of clay that I had flatted between my fingers.  Once it was covered I used the end of a paintbrush to mark out eyes, mouth and nostrils.  I then painted a thin layer of Powertex over the clay and gently rubbed in more dry StoneArt Powder.  I left this quite rough as I wanted a rough weather work finish. I then set aside to dry.
Now it was time to dress the Scarecrow.  I used Transparent Powertex which I worked into some ivory paperdec to cover the the arms and head to give the impression of being stuffed with straw.   Next I used two similar sized pieces of natural paperdec and worked transparent Powertex in. Tip: it uses a lot more than you think but once dried it is clear and hard.  I draped them over the shoulders and about two thirds of the way down on both front and back.
I used additional pieces to cover the wooden pole and base to give the effect of a tree trunk.  I also covered a little mdf mouse that was left over from another Powertex MDF kit. Finally I added some more ivory paperdec to make a scarf.  I then left it to fully dry, it took about 3 days!
Now to add colour! I could fill the whole blog with the very many colours and layers I added. However I wont but I will say that i started with Powercolor ultramarine blue and a tiny spec of black pigment mixed with Easy Varnish.  to colour the blanket coat.  I used dark green for the base, orange and red for the scarf.  For the straw, I used yellow and red ochre in varying degrees and used red ochre on the mouse.  I then built more layers of colours to get a well weathered look on his coat using Colortricx in pearl and copper.  I coloured the tree trunk with Secret Artloft Pigment in Golden Olive.
I then made up a small quantity of StoneArt Clay using Bronze Powertex Fabric hardener. I used a golf ball sized ball of the clay and pressed onto the top of the Scarecrows head
 I rolled this with a craft rolling pin and shaped into a circle and draped over a yogurt pot to shape
Then I layed it over the powertex ball on the head and finished the shaping.  I also pressed a little butterfly into the hat that was left over from some other project.
I added two mdf ravens which i painted with Powercolor Black mixed with Easy Varnish. Once they were dry I used Secret Art Loft Pigments in Interference Lilac to add some shimmer and Tequila Sunrise to colour the beak. I stuck these on using some matte gel for speed and added some tiny rhinestones for the eyes on the mouse and ravens.

 

Hope you like my rather friendly but scruffy weathered Scarecrow!
Have a fabulous autumn and don’t forget to share your makes with us over in The Powertex Studio and Powertex Addicts United.

Step by Step Harvest Moon in Powertex

My Design Team Member challenge this month was to create something representing Autumn and Harvest. Immediately in my mind an image of a gorgeous Harvest Moon appeared, with vivid autumnal colours framing a simple  sillhouette.

Having a look through the Powertex UK website I was drawn to the large Styrofoam Circles and metal base as the perfect shape to work with.

To start off, I covered the entire circular base with yellow hardener, which I also sprayed with mahogany bister before drying with a hair dryer to create my first layer of texture.  I think it looks like a cake at this stage.

Now it was time to gently add a layer Stone Art to one side of the circle, to create some moon like texture.  I also added a bit of stoneart to the edges of my circle. Now it resembled a cake with a dusting of icing.

From here, I did one of my favourite things to do with Powertex, swirl it on.  I swirled on Red and Yellow, gradually adding more Stone Art as I went, to create some beautiful patterns on my sculpture.  After adding each swirl, I very gently rubbed in more stone art, building up lots of crater like textures in differing shades of colour.
I used some Powertex 3D Sand  to add some more subtle texture to the edges.

 

I was fairly happy with it so far, but wanted it to have a really deep sheen, and the best thing to help me achieve that was PowerWax
I dipped a small sponge in some of the wax, then into my Autumnal Pigments (I chose Copper, Pearl Red, Clear Gold and Pearl White)  I gently rubbed in a circular motion all over my sculpture.  Making sure to work my way deep into all those lovely little crackles and crevices.  The Copper, Pearl Red and Clear Gold worked to enhance the swirls I had created, and I then went over the whole thing again with the Pearl White to blend them all in together.

My finishing touch for the front of my sculpture was to Paint a very fine lined image of some wheat sheafs in Black Acrylic for the sillhouette

 

 

To create the back of my moon, I simply swirled some more Red and Yellow Powertex over the layer I had already put on, added some bister and blasted with a hair dryer to create lots of beautiful textures.  Once this was thoroughly dry, I repeated the same process with the PowerWax and Pigments
I am really pleased with how this turned out, because it is so close to the image I had in my mind’s eye.  It was really easy to do, and you don’t even have to be great at painting because the wheatsheafs really are just very thin lines of black paint with a few whispy sheafs at the top.
I would love to see what creations you come up with with an Autumnal theme – if you don’t already know there is a facebook page dedicated to seeing all your lovely makes www.facebook.com/powertexaddicts
If you fancy seeing more of what I get up to, my facebook page is www.facebook.com/artmuralsbydonnamcghie
and my website is www.artandmurals.co.uk

These are a few of my favourite things

This one has me in the mood for a little music. My guitar playing has something left to be desired. Perhaps, when I find some spare time I will give it another go, for now I will leave it to the experts and stick with singing in my local Rock choir. Although, I do have some pretty mean guitar skills in rock band on the xbox but I am not quite sure that counts……

 

I have mixed my love of music with my favourite time of year which is autumn. Not so much for the change in temperature but for the beautiful colours that come with the harvest.
The yellow ochre and red Powertex universal medium seems to offer itself so well to the russet orange, reds and golds of the fall.
The approach of harvest honors rebirth and renewal and is seen as a time for reaping what has been sewn through out the year. But I especially love that it celebrates creative talents and craftsmanship. A long established custom is the rise in craft festivals and skilled artisans selling their wares particularly at this time of year.
 As the dark evenings grow close, it’s seen as the best time of year to learn a new craft, or hone creative talent and skills. Seems like the perfect time to crack open a bottle of Powertex and let the creativity flow. Enjoy and do share your makes with me on the Powertex addicts group.

If you like the look of a project like this and want to learn some new techniques why not contact a tutor  near you who can show them to you. If you want to support me as a full time artist follow my page on facebook at Rosehart Studio.
Toodle pip Anna xXx