Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Psanky Horse

Another real media mimic, this time of Ukranian easter eggs, or Psanky eggs.

I've done real eggs before, and it's a time consuming but very rewarding at the end. It basically works through submerging the egg in a series of successive dyes, with a layer of carefully applied wax resist between each color. The wax is applied in thin lines using a tool called a kitska (I hope I'm spelling that right)

For instance, if you want white lines, you draw wax onto the blank egg the areas you want to make white, then, dip the entire egg in yellow. When the yellow is dry, you draw wax over everything you want to stay yellow, and dip into the red. Repeat, then orange, green, blue, purple, and finally black. Order of colors is important, as each dye completely covers the dye before it, but not vice versa.

After coming out of the black dye, your egg looks like a lumpy, blackish dirty-wax-colored, egg. You hold the egg near a candle and buff the wax off as it melts. This part is like watching magic as your design comes out. It's always a surprise to see what the thing actually looks like when all i said and done, as you can't see the color of your design as you go.

This piece is digital, but I tried to stay as true to process as I could. No eraser. I only allowed myself to attempt any given mark three times (a true purist wouldn't have any redo, whatsoever, but I justify it by saying my hands are much steadier on an actual egg than they are on my tablet...) I also named my layers for what color they'd be, then drew in monochrome, blacking out the canvas as I went. When the entire thing was 'waxed on' (except what I wanted to stay black, of course) I made a black fill layer beneath everything, then systematically filled in each layer with its color to see what I'd actually ended up doing. It looked like most peoples first psanky egg: awful. Determined to get a decent image anyway, I started doing what digital art does best: cheating. My main cheat before uploading here was I changed my mind on colors after I was done. (Well, after I decided this wasn't going to be my final bash at this particular process, I think I'll get a better one next time.) So, next time: No cheating at the end, now that I've had my test run.

1 comment:

Jillian Lambert said...

This is absolutely striking! The rhythm and stylization are delightful, as is the color palette. If you don't mind my asking, what did you use to create this piece?