Sunday, April 6, 2014

- Gone fishing: Mixed media assemblages

We spend a fair bit of time on the back breezeway: taking water breaks between cactus-whacking stints, sipping decaf after dinner as the sun sets, or just sitting in the sun watching the birds fly by.

Anyway, two years ago when Don started creating whales for Jackson's nursery and fish for Griffin's crib mobile, he made a small shark (totally cool and absolutely inappropriate for child's play):

Part of an old screen door wood forms the body of the shark

Driftwood and rusted wire tail

Button eye, shell teeth, and rusted metal fins ...
notice how the wood color naturally flows from the eye

Seeing an opportunity, I requested more fish for the breezeway walls, but a whole lotta not much happened. Then I found the perfect inspiration piece when Meliss took me birthday shopping at the Seagreen Gallery last year:

It was just what Don needed to prime the  pump and soon there was a companion fish on the wall:

After carving scales into the wood, Don painted the fish with layers of milk paint. The tail spots were
applied with daubers and the mouth was masked off with painters tape before daubing, making for a very sharp line.
A bent metal washer and rusted nut eye with
a pretty cool paint job using products from

But the three small fish looked lonely on the breezeway wall. Off we went to Junkology, where Don found some potential fish eyes and a couple of old pitchforks. 

 "Great tails!"

And then, after Don explained what he was up to, the owner threw in some interesting old boards, one of which inspired the following:

Pitchfork tail, hex wrench dorsal fin, repurposed metal eye

The formerly black hex wrenches in the dorsal fin were rusted on a vinegar and salt soaked sponge,
but the pitchfork tines were already rusted to a perfect turn.

Hex wrench mouth with rusted nails, a who-knows-what eye,
rusted screen door handle gills, and a light wash of blue milk paint

Now, with the white whale in progress, the breezeway may soon look more like Sea World in San Antonio than the Hill Country in San Marcos ... which, come to think of it, is exactly what I hoped would happen.


Lainie said...

Loved my first visit at your blog today. Love the fish but your handsewing is amazing! So tiny stitches!!

Liz Ackert said...

Thanks for visiting the blog ... you've encouraged me to post some new work later today.