Like many of my art pieces, this Steampunk Portal emerged as I went along. I started with no plan other than to experiment with some of the Art Deco Stencils. I started by painting a big piece of heavy watercolor paper in one of my favorite colors--light aqua--and once it was dry, I used some molding paste through the two Art Deco Bookplate stencils. The one on the right became the piece I called "Yearn - Dare" which you can see here. The one on the left became the "Steampunk Subway Portal."
|Gwen's Deco Bookplate stencil pair was printed with molding paste onto a painted aqua background.|
|My worktable, covered with various deco stencils and prints.|
|The first few strokes of Derwent Inktense Blocks were applied to the painted, stenciled design.|
|Once water was added, the Inktense colors intensified.|
|More color was added with the Inktense blocks until the design was ready for embellishment.|
|The chain was too long and the Dresden trim corner pieces too small on this "audition."|
|The big Dresden corners were gorgeous, but too bold for the background, and they overpowered the central elements.|
|A smaller piece of Turkmen jewelry was too short and bulky for the background.|
|A Dresden medallion was cut apart to make the deco corner fan shapes.|
|Chalk paints and black ink gave an aged effect to the Dresden corners.|
I felt that the Turkmen chain was too long and considered cutting it. But even if I cut it, dangling it from the center of the compass seemed too boring. I didn't really want to cut it, so I decided to anchor the coin with a large brass brad and then wrap the chain around the top of the coin. I used some thread to stitch it in place and a little heavy gel medium for extra holding power.
Once the words were on, I knew I was almost done, but still felt it needed more. I put away my art supplies for the night and slept on it.
The next day I was thinking about how to finish the piece, and realized it was looking pretty Steampunk. It also occurred to me that it looked like a magical door or portal. As I was riding the subway on my way home from work, I realized that a few months before I had taken a photo of the sign in the station of my new work stop--149th Street in the Bronx--and that the photo would go nicely with my work-in-progress. The colors in the photo were greenish and old, and the mosaic tiles, the design of the sign and the font--as on much of the old signage in the NYC subway system--are authentically early 20th century.
|Subway sign over the tracks at the Bronx 149th Street station|