Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Peace Pillars: Work in Progress and Process

Peace Pillars in process 4', 3.5', 3'

pillars with primer being applied

Ideas about color-using color cards to help get a feel for direction

Book on color to show my friend what palette I have in mind

Painted papers-value range and color matching

Peace pillars with potential color swatches
Peace Pillars is the potential name I have in mind for these larger versions of my Contemplation Columns shown in an earlier post. I have been working away on these  pillars since the beginning of April. There are a lot of steps so I thought I would write a bit about things.

Rich got the pine board for me and cut it to the three sizes: 4', 3.5' and 3'. The columns are called a "4 x 4" but they are actually 3.5" x 3.5". At first, I was very turned off by the wood. It is rougher than what I would have liked-knots, some holes and definitely texture. I was afraid that the finished pieces would look like painted fence posts. After sanding and filling some holes, I still wasn't thrilled but proceeded with the primer (pic 2). What I really envisioned was a greater degree of smoothness, possibly another product altogether. As I was priming though, I decided that I was just going to allow the wood to be itself. It has imperfections. It came from a living entity after all. Why try and hide that? Why not make it part of the finished concept-this imperfection of form? After adjusting my mindset, things went more smoothly.

Pictures 3 and 4 show my color references. They pillars will be installed in my friend's garden (as seen here) in early May (hopefully and God willing!). She and her husband are participating in a garden tour featuring gardens that use native plants. They did a tremendous job on their yard and will be showing it off. I wanted to see if some of these colors appealed to her so I showed her the color book as reference. She approved that second palette along with that red violet color. From my standpoint, what can be wrong with blue and orange? I decided to not highlight the aqua color with the pinkish red. I included a kind of aqua color anyway thinking that I would focus on cooler hues contrasted with a few warmer ones. My thoughts are to highlight one hue relationship and to focus on proportion of color, controlling chroma and value.

Pic 4 shows my painted papers used for color swatches. Since I am painting directly rather than gluing paper, I needed to mix up a lot of paint so the swatches came in handy for color matching. The painted paper is also being used to make a set of contemplation columns which I will show later.

Pic 5 shows the columns with their prospective color swatches. Even after careful preparation, I still ended up adjusting the colors. The blue just wasn't what I wanted. 

I am about halfway done and feel safe enough to show the progress. I am almost certain these will be finished. I learned that gesso is better than white paint for taking the initial coats of paint directly. Even just the primer would have been fine. I also learned that all of the paint needs to be mixed first and that one side of each column need to be worked at the same time. (So, each column has a side number-1,2,3 or 4. It's best to work side 1, for example, of all three columns at the same time. It's akin to working the whole canvas at once.) Lastly, I learned to accept imperfections both in the substrate, the process and myself. As an example, taping off areas and painting leaves a raised line. There isn't any way around this that I can see. So, I am working with it. I am trying to focus on what excites me which is the colors next to one another and shown in such a large and dimensional form. 

OK, off to finish on side 4. (I started with side 2.) Once all of the sides are painted with their initial coats, I will go back and adjust the lines and repaint needed areas. The taping doesn't always leave a clean enough line. I am hoping to finish by the end of April. The pillars will need several coats of a weather friendly varnish. They will also have holes drilled in the bottom for rebar. The rebar goes into the ground and the pillars will rest on a base, protecting them from the moisture of the dirt. If my friend isn't thrilled with them they will come home to live on my porch. I think. Bonfire anyone? LOL:)

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter and a great start to the week. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. Dear Libby - I think the title of your art is fantastic and love the colors you have selected. Stopped over to visit your friend's garden...wow what lovely place for displaying your beautiful art friend. Enjoyed reading how you accepted the wood and worked with it in spite of the rough feel. They are certainly looking good. Hope you are having a lovely day. Hugs!

    1. Debbie,

      Thank you so much for the input on the title. There is already a type of work called a "Peace Pole" so this is similar. Peace Pillar sounds a little better to me.

      I hope these will look good in her garden. I have not done anything like this before so I won't know until they are actually installed. It's very iffy!

      Hope you are doing well. Thank you as always for your visit and kind words.

  2. I'm delighted to see all your hard work paying off and will look forward to seeing these installed in your friend's garden. This is a great accomplishment!

    1. Carol,

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. I have been working on these since the beginning of the month. Good thing I didn't know in advance how much work is required! They are coming together though so that is positive. I hope they look good once installed.

      Thank you as always for your visit. I appreciate it.


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