Step by Step: Triptych Assemblage

THIS WAS A TRIPTYCH called “Heleconia” I did specifically for East Hawaii Cultural Center’s 2011 Trash Art Show, October, 2011, in Hilo, Hawaii. It took me four full months, full-time, to get a gazillion little pieces of “box paper” (that’s what they call it here in Hawaii — think Cheerios boxes) onto the canvas. Needless to say, I won’t be doing this again. Still, I’m happy with the results.

Here’s how those four months went…

^Original sketch. Each panel will be 24″x24″

^After transferring the drawing onto canvas, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to tell the leaves apart. I then blocked them out with watered-down acrylic paints. …

^All leaves and flowers are blocked out. It turned out this would change along the way because as we all know, art is a slave to how much frickin’ box paper one can get a hold of. You’d be surprised how many boxes of Stouffer’s frozen pizza it takes to make one %$#*@ heleconia flower.

^Figuring the sizes and gluing method. (Note: Mod Podge made me physically ill. I finally went with wood glue. Both required I use little weights — shot glasses worked great — to hold the pieces down so they wouldn’t curl.)

^First leaf done. It took two days.

^More leaves done. In upper left corner, you can see where I removed a leaf I’d already built and redrew. I ended up doing that a lot.

^Three months after starting the project, all leaves are finally complete. All that’s left is the flowers! (Remember the flowers? And that it’s titled “Heleconia”?)

^Messy, messy process.

^But finally — after a coat of matte varnish — it was done. I will never look at a box of Stouffer’s frozen pizza the same. —DST


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