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Square Foot Art: Memorials



This piece was inspired by actual memorials I saw in Waubaushene, Ontario, Canada. I was staying at the Neekaunis Quaker Camp and went walking down the highway one second morning I was there.  I saw a roadside memorial to a young teenager named Benny and further down the road I encountered the Roman Catholic cemetery.  It had a large variety of memorials and the flamboyance of the sculpture/plant gardens in front or around some of them was quite striking.

The next morning I went out with my camera and took well over a 1o0 photos.  When I got home, I selected the ones I wanted to use, cropped as desired in GIMP, and created sheets with the photos sized as I wanted in Inkscape. I printed the sheets with a laser colour printer for later cutting.  Hand-cutting was actually less laborious than creating transparency around the bits I wanted in GIMP.  Besides, some cutting plans changed as I built up the piece.  I also like the tactile feel of actual paper layers.

The cemetery itself was still quite green and I tried to capture than in the background of sponged acryllic.  Touches of diazine violet here add a somber note.  I began to lay down pieces before final gluing, I decided to add the sky blue to the top.  I also moved all the crosses there.  The central one is a massive hand-carved piece with its height there proportionately portrayed here.


Square Foot Art: Wheatscape


I had the central image of this piece on hand for months. I made it from a photo I took in the fall of 2010.  The background  photo is a cropped section of a piece of old farm machinery. The  tall “trees” are actually heads of wheat.   They and the trees and flock of flying birds are from a Dover book of old time prints.  These prints were originally black on a white background.  Dover supplies digital files and I used GIMP to convert the white to transparency and the black to a colour of choice.  I then used Inkscape to put the composition together.  I could duplicate and resize the “tree” and tree images as I liked.  I printed it with a laser printer on acid-free paper.


This closeup shows the gear that is part of the machine in the background.   The graduated sizes of the bird shapes are from the original print.  You can also see the detail of the wheat head.






I decided to use texture in the background.  I used the frugal artist’s modelling paste — wall joint compound — for a layer of texture around the photo piece.  The bottom of a plastic thread spool nicely echoes the gear shape in the photo and I used it all around the photo area.  After it dried, I coloured it with diluted walnut ink.  I then glued on the photo and did more colouring with yellow acrylic.  Once that was dry, I brushed the edges with a copper metallic acrylic on a sponge.  The texture still needed something more so I got out my dollar-store chalk blocks and dusted parts of the spool circles with a dusky pink.

The entire piece was sealed with Diamond acrylic wood sealer.

Square-Foot Art: Leaves


The inspiration for this piece was the definition of “leaf” that I came across when I pulled the full page for use in a journal page.  It talks about leaves as parts of plants as well as leaves as pages in a book.  So I knew I wanted to combine the three: leaf definition, leaves, and book pages, in the piece.

The plywood was first coated with a plain white gesso.  The background is sponged-on acrylic in leaf green, yellow, cadmium red, and pine green over wildly dry-brushed diazin violet. I aimed to capture the colours of a deciduous forest as falls begin (and leaves start to turn colour).

The next layer are the Gideon bible pages with their red edging intact.  Since the text wasn’t important to the piece, I glued them down upside down with matte gel medium after antiquing them a bit with diluted walnut ink.

Closeup of dictionary definition

I edged the dictionary definition with gold ink, but it didn’t “pop” enough from the bible text pages.  So I cut a square of red handmade paper to back it.  I glued the definition to the red backing, let it dry, then glued it down over the bible pages.

The leaves are a bit abstract, with their darker veins in navy blue, olive green and brown on cut-outs from hand-made yellowy leaf green paper.  I used Inktense pencils for the veins, then brought out the colour by brushing with water.  Doing so also gave them some dimension as colour bled a little bit from the drawn line into the leaf paper.  After the leaves were glued down, I drew in the stem with Inktense pencil and brushed it with water to intensify the colour.

The entire piece was finally coated with Diamond acrylic wood sealer.

Square-foot Art