As a theme, ‘Structural’ is a little contrived but I suppose there is some structural element to each of the things featured in this post.

My papier mache experiments dried and I released them from their moulds.

I’m pretty pleased with them. They are solid and smooth(ish) and look the way I envisaged them. That’s one of the great pleasures of this creativity project: envisaging something in my head and making it happen. I’m going to paint the spherical one and see what it looks like with a light behind it. I’ll post it again when I’ve done that.

Yesterday, driving to work, I spotted a tree with red berries and yellow leaves and this morning I stopped to take a photo of it. While looking at it I saw a most beautiful maple tree so I gathered some of the fallen leaves.

Beautiful colours. I’m pressing the little one at the top right. I thought I’d try to create leaf skeletons with the others. The process for doing this is a bit hit and miss, and very tedious! It involves boiling them in a sodium carbonate solution for a long time, then brushing the leaf pulp from the veins, leaving an attractive web of leaf skeleton. That’s the theory. In practice, it’s a lot more difficult. Twice the solution foamed up and spilled all over the place. Also, there are no time guidelines for when the leaf will be ready for brushing the pulp away. Too short a boiling time and the leaves will be tough and the pulp won’t budge. Too long and the leaf will disintegrate.

The solution
With leaves

The jury is still out on this batch. I started brushing one leaf. Some of the pulp brushed away but I think I was using too much pressure because I brushed big holes into it. I’m soaking the rest tonight and I’ll have another go at brushing tomorrow. I think the fact that these are autumn leaves may be a contributing factor in them disintegrating. Anyway, we’ll see.

This last item is stretching the structural theme a bit. This morning I painted a fern shape with masking gum. I made the mistake of shaking the gum bottle before painting and I got a lot of bubbles. Bubbles make it difficult to paint fine lines and that affected the final piece, unfortunately. This afternoon I gave the picture a watercolour wash with greens and blues. Then, when it was dry, I used an eraser to rub away the masking gum and here’s the finished pic …

The bottom is much better than the top because the bubbles were gradually bursting as I worked from top to bottom and I managed to get more definition in the fern. The background could be a bit darker too, for more contrast. But I’m pretty pleased with most of it.

That’s it for today.

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