Faux Bronze Ballerina Sculpture

This faux bronze ballerina sculpture was inspired by a couple of things:

First, the incredible work of Edgar Degas, specifically his Little Dancer (1880-1881)

Second, the project that my friend and fellow Art teacher, Sandy did
with her middle school students inspired by the unique figurative
work of artist Alberto Giacometti.
Se more of Giacometti's work here:

My Supply List

sturdy but flexible wire (you can even use wire hangers if necessary)
wire cutters
pliers (needle nose and/or round nose)
masking tape
mod podge
black acrylic paint
bronze acrylic paint (craft paints are fine)
paint brush
water based caulk
circular wooden piece for the base
I had 1/4"x 5/8" staples from my staple gun
small piece of ribbon
hot glue & glue gun

I started by creating a wire armature from some fairly flexible wire purchased at the hardware store.
I used my wire cutters, needle nose pliers and round nose pliers to help cut and form the shapes.

Notice in this picture that I exaggerated the length of the form, especially the legs.
You could probably create the entire form from one piece of wire but mine took two pieces. I created the arms wrapping down into the shape of the upper torso and head. Then I created the long legs that bent into the lower hips and waist and connected the two with masking tape.

Next I took a piece of foil and balled it up to create a tear drop kind of shape that would form the head and part of the neck. I attached it with masking tape.

I continued building pieces of the body with foil, shaping and adjusting and attaching with tape.

The arms and legs were wrapped with long strips of foil that had been folded in half (so they wouldn't tear so easily). The foil on each arm and leg also wrapped onto part of the main body and they were taped securely. Make sure to cover the exposed ends of wire completely.

Just to secure the foil and tape and fill in some of the rough foil texture I coated the entire sculpture in Mod Podge and let it dry completely.

Next I grabbed my paintbrush and painted the entire figure with black acrylic paint and let it dry.

To attach the figure to the round wooden base I used some of my staple gun staples (1/4" x 5/8").
I bent the ends of the legs out about 3/4" and positioned the dancer where I wanted and hammered the staples in over the bent sections of foil covered wire.

To cover the places where the figure was attached to the wood, and to continue the textured look over the whole thing I covered the base with a water based all-purpose caulk. I put it on pretty thick on the top but left the sides bare.

Let it dry completely.

Continue the black acrylic paint down on to the base.

Then using a sponge and the bronze colored acrylic paint sponge on small amounts of paint and wipe them off to give a bronzed look. Work with it until you achieve the desired effect.

Finally I took a piece of ivory ribbon and cut strips of ivory tulle and tied them on to create a tutu. I just kept adding tulle strips until I achieved the desired fullness and I trimmed the lengths to make the tutu the size I wanted.

I used hot glue to secure it in place and tied the skirt securely and trimmed off the extra ribbon (which could be tied in a bow instead if you wanted).

And voila!
There is the finished "Faux Bronze Ballerina Sculpture"

Palette Knife Painting Textured Yellow Poppies

I know there are other tutorials out there about painting with palette knives and using inexpensive "texture mediums" found at the local hardware store but here is my take on it. Hope you like it because I think it is a wonderfully fun process with great end results.

This is the flower painting I will be creating:

I set up my workspace, easel, canvas and art supplies and crank up some music to get started. Let the fun begin!

You can choose from a variety of different palette knives. I chose to use one of my large flat palette knives for creating the background textures and one of my smaller pointed palette knives for creating the thicker texture on my flowers.

And here is my secret ingredient:

A very economical (aka: cheap) texture medium. Polyseamseal - a water based all purpose adhesive/caulk. This one is white, but you can get the same thing in clear if you prefer.
Most texture mediums can be tinted or mixed with paint but I prefer to create my texture first and let it dry for a few hours or overnight and then paint on top of it. I feel like I'm saving paint that way I guess. ;)

So on to the painting......

I decided to paint my canvas in subtle shades of gray (with a hint of turquoise) I used my flat palette knife to create a bit varied color & texture by lightly dipping it in my paint and scraping it across the surface of the canvas horizontally and vertically. I softened this first layer of texture by lightly brushing over it (like dusting the canvas) with a very large fluffy paint brush (the brush I used is huge.... like 4"wide and I love it)

The next step, after the background dried, was to sketch my flowers on the canvas in pencil.

Then I began creating the thick texture of my flowers by "painting" them in with the polyseamseal using my pointed palette knife.

Here's a close up so you can see the texture better. Another reason I like using the white polyseamseal... you can really see what you've done.

Let the texture dry several hours or overnight.

Next, I painted my flowers in vibrant shades of yellow.

For the stems, leaves and centers of the flowers I used shades of green and brown with the yellow.

After those colors dried I went back over the entire painting adding more of my various shades of gray with my large palette knife. I scraped color throughout the background in different directions as well as directly across the flowers. I used my big fluffy brush again to soften it a bit in some areas.

Repeat until desired effect is achieved.
Just be careful, it's easy to overdo if you get carried away having fun with the process!

Now, wouldn't it look great if I had a funky yellow couch like this to hang it over. ;D