Thursday, January 29, 2009

Progress Being Made

I started priming about six of the new pieces over the weekend but then realized that my very expensive moonshine was going to run out too soon so I decided to concentrate on just three of them.

I'm often asked how many coats of shellac I put on a piece but I've never been able to find a good way to answer the question for a number of reasons. One being that the question can easily require a thirty minute lecture on what shellac is and how it is applied, the other being I just can't keep track. With these three, there are probably 3 to 5 coats of heavy shellac on the back, and already between 6 and 12 coats (depending on how and where you count) of much lighter viscosity shellac on the front. Sanding out of the fine scratches after starting the applications and point specific applications makes the difference. In addition, the number of coats doesn't really have any meaning when new layers are continually being removed (rubbed out) and the concentration of shellac in alcohol varies greatly between applications.

With the piece above, you can see that I've added a couple of vertical lines of black epoxy since the earlier post. The back side of this piece is also great and I wanted to be able to show both sides but, unfortunately, the epoxy is too dark to see without back lighting so I'm in the process of designing a light box and learning about wiring LEDs.

I started adding red shellac to the pieces below. I'm trying to create an effect of different shades of the red/blue continuum in each of the rectangles, playing off the same effect in the tinted epoxy. I'm struggling with the issue of whether to fill in all the rectangles with color, or to leave some of them clear. I'm a little worried that there is too much color or that the red is too dominant. In the images below, I have added several coats of red, rubbed it out, added some more blue, rubbed, and then some more red. I think I'll go back and do some serious color removal next. I'd like to see some of the rectangles to have deep color but I'd like others to have much more subtlety.

With the one below, I've added a few more coats of blue. My plan is to add some yellow and to create some green/greenish rectangles but I'm now out of my moonshine so I have been trying to find a source of ethanol before I mix up some more shellac. I'll probably leave more of these rectangles clear to compare the effect. It is really hard for me to visualize the best outcome when I haven't done anything like this before.


  1. The colored epoxy sections are really magical when backlit. I think you are onto something truly wonderful!

  2. Thanks Janet. Hopefully, I'll be able to execute it well. Learning how to paint is a struggle.

  3. Love these pieces Rob! Fantastic!

  4. Thanks Amber. It will be interesting to see if they look better when I think they are done compared with when I started. I'm finding that it is more self-evident when sculptures are finished,; paintings are another story. As a result, I think I'll continue to photograph them as I work on them so that I can make comparisons.

  5. Love seeing the process photos. Your viewers are learning also.

  6. Thanks Maggie. I'll try not to over do it but I think it would be good to see the process all the way through at least once.