Size: 15″ x 30″ x 2″
Truggotha was created using paper clay, painter’s caulk, yarn, tissue paper, acrylic paint, and polyurethane on canvas.
Truggotha was an experiment in texture as well as personal challenge. I have never worked on a canvas this large before but wanted to try a larger piece. I approached this piece with the attitude that I wanted to try something different, something new (for me). I also knew I didn’t want this piece to become too structural, or to have lots of things glued to it. I wanted to focus on texture rather than objects or even theme.
I started out knowing two things. First, I was going to use the tube of black painter’s caulk. Second, I was going to use tissue paper. Past that, I had no preconceived notions of where this piece was headed or what colors I was even going to use. After staring at the canvas for a while, still secure in its plastic wrapping, I grabbed a Sharpie marker. I drew out some basic shapes on the plastic. Then I used some colored markers to give me an idea of the color palette. After having a clear idea of what I was going to do with the caulk (more or less), I removed the plastic wrap.
I drew in the shapes for the caulk in charcoal pencil. Then I taped off those shapes so I wouldn’t mar the rest of the canvas. I applied a good amount of caulk to the two sections and smoothed it out. Then I used a large comb (almost comically large) and brushed vertically, then horizontally but in line with the shape of the area. When I was happy with the texture, I carefully removed the tape and let the caulk cure.
After 24 hours, it was time to paint the white areas. I started by laying down teal paint. There was no technique, I just needed to cover the base. Once dry, I applied Mod Podge. I took large sheets of tissue paper and crinkled them up into balls. I carefully straightened them out and laid them in the adhesive. The trick here is not to smooth out the tissue too much, the texture it creates is the whole reason for wrinkling the paper to begin with. Over the top of the tissue I applied more Mod Podge. Then more waiting.
Once the adhesive was fully dry (a few hours), I applied layer upon layer upon layer of paint. Some was applied with a dry-brush technique, some of sponged on using a sea sponge. There were many shades of blue, teal, green, and purple painted on. When I was finally happy with that, I took some metallic gold and added in some random highlights. Once all that was dried, I brushed over the piece with a matte varnish to seal it. Then more waiting for that to dry. This piece took many days to complete.
The little oval bits are made from Paperclay. Those were part of the original charcoal drawn design. It took two attempts to get them correct though. I started, both times, by created ovals of the clay. I placed them on a flat surface and then took a toothpick and poked a zillion holes (yes, I counted LOL) in each one.
Paperclay is naturally a grayish white but I knew I wanted the ovals to be black. The first attempt failed because I tried to paint them black after they dried. Paperclay will soften if you remoisten it so it smoothed out some of the texture – and it was next to impossible to get the paint into all those holes. For my second attempt, my plan was to spray paint them, but I realized the package said I could mix paint directly into the clay. That’s what I ended up doing but boy was that messy. Once they cured, I spray painted them with a protective top coat and glued them on.
To finish the edging around the caulk, I applied a single strand of yarn above and below both sections. The sides of the canvas are finished in keeping with the pattern laid out on the canvas. Where the black caulk is on the front of the canvas, however, I just painted the sides with black acrylic paint. This allows for it to be framed if the future owner would like to do so, but if not, the piece has a very finished look on the sides.
The name “Truggotha” comes from my list of names I invented back when I toyed with making my own video game. I’m terrible at storytelling so I got as far as making a list of names for people, places, things, etc. Rather that let that go to waste, I use the names whenever I’m stuck for a title. Abstract pieces, for me at least, are routinely hard to title.