Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Here's some images of the final sections of snakes.  In the images, you are seeing the glass after it has been sandblasted and the patterns on the snakes have been drawn on with a permanent sharpie pen.
Now it is ready to engrave.
For many years I engraved with a Foredom flexible shaft series S engraver which is a wonderful workhorse of a tool.  It is very affordable and if you maintain it, it will function fantastically for eons on end. (Note to students: all Foredoms in art schools are in HORRENDOUS condition.  All of them, everywhere.  Its like trying to engrave with a jackhammer while disco dancing.)

I recently invested in a new engraver called an Emax Evolution.  It is expensive but much more comfortable to hold and it engraves at a faster speed.  So they say--I am not sure I can really tell the diff.  But it is a smoother ride, all in all.  The only issue I have with it besides the noise is that the motor is housed in the handpiece itself.  In the video demo© (a new feature here at The Noose!  :)), you can't see the water.  Know that there is a small puddle in the area to be engraved, as there always must be when using diamond tools.  This preserves the diamond surface and allows engraving to be a smooth operation.

You can see in the demo that every scale in every snake is done with massive amounts of love and care!  Gotta nurture them snakes!  This is yet another reason my work takes forever. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Slithering away

The second third is done. And woopsy...I totally intended to do a blow by blow deconstruction of this one...but I didn't and I apologize. Things are super busy around here and I just went for it, full steam ahead. Hopefully on the third third I will take more in progress shots.
 Four of six panels complete.  The two on the right are what I just finished.  Two more to come.
 Details: click to enlarge.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Endless, endless snakes.

 "What's this?" you say.  I'll tell you.  This is the alchemist revealing the secret of how to turn lead to gold. This is what you've all been waiting for......this is what has been held back from you by selfish and secretive paranoid art-cabals.
This is .............wait for it.................this is nothing short of the key to how to make manifest amazing visions in material-artwork-form revealed at last....this is how to produce scintillating works of art ex nihilo!

Ok..maybe its more like finding out who Oz really is...

The secret is endless, endless, endless practice and work!  MUHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAAA!  Joke's on you if you thought otherwise.  OK--I know people reading this are almost all artists and know what I mean...but I have to get my jollies somehow.

What you see above  the wizard pic is the panels of glass with the Sharpie pen demarcations on them for the next stage which is engraving.  (Sharpies are so awesome they deserve a link....even though they are already massively popular.)

I want to point out what this stage represents, which should explain why I got all wierd above about revealing the wizard of Oz etc etc):
FIRST, I worked in Photoshop with existing images of snakes to create the swarmy pattern (which I got it in my noggin should be a repeat).  This took over a week.
THEN I printed that out and redrew it, in my own hand with a rapidograph on mylar.  This took about a week.
(THEN  I scanned that and painted the snakes in Photoshop. Please note this stage was not necessary for the stained glass--but because I wanted to use the document for other things as well--also, I was very concerned that although I was using found source material that the snakes be MINE, ALL MINE by the time I was done.)
THEN I printed the black and white document out to use for the glass, actual size.
THEN after cutting the glass, I traced the snakes onto the contact paper sandblasting stencil.  I am not using a photographic process here.  Why?  Because often when I do that it looks like RAT VOMIT.  And I have to spend several extras days trying to make what the stencil wrought into something that doesn't suck. So much for The Convenience of Mechanization...or the superiority of digital methods, for that matter--hand done is way faster!  This took about four days.
THEN, after sandblasting I drew all the snakes back onto the glass, patterns and all on both layers.  This also took about four days.

So how many times have I drawn these snakes already?  Ten katrillion?  That's certainly what it feels like!  On the upside, I feel like a leading expert in "how to draw snakes"!

Next up:  Days and days of engraving.  Or, as I like to say enGRAVEng.   (The whole engraving will take over a week or even more than two and then I will paint--so stay tuned... to get to the finish line, the whole thing will take months.)

So when people think art is some kind of magical process, all I can say is walk a mile in my moccasins, bro.  But lest you think I am complaining:  I love this!  Its just not easy or simple...or magic!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Snakes and how to make them

 This is the photoshop document I am working from.  Please see this post for details on how I made the sketch.
 This is one third of the above drawing done in glass.  I will eventually do the whole thing, gawd willing.  This section is 22" high and 10" wide--but I cut it into 5" strips.  Click to enlarge, blah blah blah....  Please note I am not trying to match the colors exactly.
 Here are the layers for the right hand side.  This project is being done with Saint Just Turquoise flash #221 and Lambert's 1001/R/CL/B.  The black  details are Reusche Stencil Black 1059 and the yellow is Silver Stain  yellow #3.  The pink is cold paint (Mussini transparent magenta)
 Left hand side layers.  Are you wondering if this was hard to do?  Yes, YES, emphatically YES!!!  I can very close to trashing it and giving up  on too many occasions to count.  So, now that your appetite is suitably whetted, I am sure you want to make some snakes in the glass yourself!  Here's how, step by step!  See posts in upcoming days as I work on it.  Please note it may take a while.
 The glass has been cut for the second third of the design--another section 10" x 22". (this pic is a detail)  I covered it with clear contact paper to make a sandblasting stencil and spent all day tracing snakes onto the plastic.
 First sandblast.  On the red panel, I sandblast some areas I know I want to be blue.  On the blue panel, I sandblast areas I know I want to be red.  This is just a rough guess.  I will decide to take off more later and will do it with a hand engraver.
 Then I free blast the snakes so they have texture on them.  This is for a thousand reasons:  #1 being its so much easier to work on it when some of the color is gone.  It may seem like the flash layer is thin but removing it by hand makes it evident that its deep....very, very deeeeeep.  And it hates you and your measly attempts to change its appearance.
 This is what the layers look like together...not very impressive! 
And here it is next to its older sibling.  More to come!