Meet Lupe the Wolf Girl, my first creature made especially for the awesomeness that is the Crammed Organisms show.
I decided to use the opportunity of being in this show of both visual artists and plush artists to explore my 'painted plush' ideas, blending my love of painting with my love of soft sculpture and plush, creating a three dimensional painting of sorts. I've been wanting to venture down this road for a while now, ever since I made my worm girl and cat mama pieces in a similar manner.
This time I took photos as she came together, so you can see my process.
Lupe started off as a softie made from my own pattern in a loose weave, natural color canvas.
I then gessoed the entire piece, just as I would do priming canvas for a painting. For Lupe I used a black acrylic gesso. In the past, I just painted directly on the unprimed canvas (for the cat mama piece), but I think gessoing is the way to go. It doesn't use as much paint in the actual painting process, which affects the feeling (and the cost) of the final piece.
I then just proceeded to paint and block out the piece, as I would with any other painting. Here she is with a basic scumbling for her coat, and you can see her face sketched out as well. I used artist's acrylic paints - Liquitex soft body professional series - to avoid using oils, but maintain the texture, flow, and pigment I prefer to use while painting, as opposed to using, say craft paint. Of course, in terms of toxicity, this makes the finished piece more like a painting, and not a toy - so don't let your babies suck on it! That would not be good!
And here she is all finished, sitting on a gourd (because her tail doesn't let her sit flat). The idea of her character was inspired by animal transformations of characters found in fairy tales, as well as the idea of the whole tragic hero, misunderstood beast idea, and not on a specific tale. Brother and Sister, Jorinda and Joringel, Beauty and the Beast, Cat-skin and King Grizzle beard were some of the transformation/ugly hero tales I recalled from my childhood while drawing up my sketches. While working on the actual painting of the piece, I realized she was also inspired by San of Princess Mononoke in her temperament, wild child that she is.
Part of me would like to write her story out - you know, how she came to be a wolf, and what she must overcome to redeem herself and return to her human form, since it's loosely in my mind, and it became more developed whilst working on her. But, one step at a time. For now, let's just enjoy her as she is.
More Crammed Organisms to come!