Life cycle of a piece: Sugar Skull Madonna (part three)

If you’ve missed them, you can catch up with Part One and Part Two.

Part Three is all about painting. Also known as… THE FUN PART! You might wonder – I know, I do, with artists and things they make that become popular – am I tired of making these? NOT AT ALL. I love each and every one. Each one is different, I don’t take any notes on colors or facial doodles, I just… let myself go. You might think it would become repetitive, but no; rather, I find it a great source of filling my creative well.

Painting the cloak

The first thing I do is the cloak. It’s the biggest part, and while it doesn’t really ‘set the tone’ or anything, it’s nice to decide the biggest part first.

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Painting the hands

After that, I paint her hands. I leave the ‘flesh’ of the face white, to help accentuate the whole Sugar Skull motif. And yet, I paint the hands flesh color. Well, flesh-ish. If you’re sort of an off-white-pink color.

Painting the hair

Then, it is on to the hair. I try to choose a color that both goes with, and doesn’t go with, the cloak… if that makes sense. I want it to stand out, but I want it to be visually appealing as well.

Second coat done

After the hair is done, and I let everything sit and dry for an hour or more, I do a second coat on all three things I’ve mentioned above. Here is where I try to fill in any spots I missed, or even out lines, make things a little more uniform. The interesting thing about the paints I use is that they’re designed to give a different look depending on how many coats of paint you use. Here is an example of one coat only. Here’s an example of three coats. For the Madonnas, I use two coats, to get something in-between the watercolor look and the full-coat look.

And the face is done

Lastly, I do her face. I don’t usually have a specific thing in mind, unless I’m doing a custom order (like the yellow-cloaked Madonna in the background here) and I just sort of … let inspiration lead the way, and trust.

Next up, glazing and firing!


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