I knew I was in trouble, when my teenager asked me to alter a plastic mask for his Dj purposes. I knew I could say no, as he’s the one who has composed the most beautifully soft music for my videos; now it was payback time. But how could I do it, create something masculine, when everything I do has a habit of turning into some kind of shabby chic softness?
Well, I had no choice, had I? So, I gessoed the plastic mask, painted it over with Snow White Impasto paint (and chuckled while doing so, as Snow White and masculine aren’t the usual terms connected), and started to wonder what I should do next. I can assure you; it was a trial-and-error process for me…
I noticed that the layers started to slowly slip from the plastic surface, so I added another layer and sealed it with Soft Matte Gel. It helped for a while, but I wasn’t happy with the uneven surface and added a layer of Old White matte wax to cover it all. Then I painted strong shadows using Impastos Pitch Black, Dark Chocolate, and Snow White, to get more dimension and some structure into the mask and added another white Impasto layer on top with a very soft sponge.
Again, I didn’t like the outcome, way too creepily skull style for my liking, so I decided to add some waxes on top. I mixed Charcoal Black, Graphite, and Brushed Iron with some Rusty Brown to give it warmth and applied the wax to the mask. It was looking really good, but the layers started to move again under my brush and revealed white areas. What can a girl do but do some serious patching? So, I took my Silver Metallic Flakes and Gilding Glue and started my mixed media patching work, adding silver flakes everywhere there was white spots. And I could see in the instant the first flake softly landed onto the mask that now we had a winner and as perfect a match as perfect match can go.
I waited until I was absolutely certain that the waxes and the gilding glue were completely dry, and took a blending brush and brushed the flakes as hard as I could (keeping in mind the “moving”, thin plastic surface) until all the silver flakes kind of blended into the background. Then I took Charcoal Black, Old Silver, and Graphite waxes and very, very gently spread some onto the flakes, to make sure they really looked old and worn like an old statue and added black mica powder to highlight and shadow the nose and lip lines. Just to be on the safe side, I added a layer of Soft Matte Gel on top, to protect all the layers.
And… I did it! I managed to create something if not grungy masculine, then at least not-creepy-masculine-ish and it turned out to be one of my favourite projects of all because of its challenging difference!
P.S. Yes, my son loved his mask!