Tuesday, October 8, 2013

FARRAGOZ: Learning the Art of Patina - Module 1

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to take an online course for free, in exchange for blogging about it. The course, created by Farragoz, teaches techniques for achieving the look of aged patina that is found on centuries old objects and artifacts. I have just completed the first of 5 projects I will be making during this 12 month course. My first project was to make a Byzantine icon of the Archangel Michael.

The Farragoz version shown below is truly an exquisite work of art.

You are asked to create your own version of this project by following the easy step-by-step instructions and video they provide. You are also assigned your own personal online instructor that is with you each step of the way. I must tell you, by the time I completed my first step of using a jigsaw to cut my wood down to the proper size, I was already feeling pretty empowered. The subsequent instructions had me making my own gesso, casein paint and oil stains, and before I knew it I was learning how to build up layers of them to get the result I was trying to achieve, but not entirely without making a few mistakes that turned out to be invaluable. My first few layers of gesso paint, upon drying overnight, sprouted huge cracks and when accidentally bumped, crumbled into nothingness. My instructor was reassuring and encouraging, and my second attempt was much better.   Now I was ready to begin the process of layering oil stains and applying techniques I learned along the way, which brought me to the version you see below.

Now on to the fun part -- it was time for me to give my project a sense of history.  Tania, my instructor provided such valuable guidance and support all along each phase of my project.  She forewarned me that the steps of aging may make me cringe, but encouraged me to come up with a story explaining the history of my piece and what it may have endured that would go along with how I chose to distress it.  So before I show you my completed project, my imagination has run a little wild, and I hope you bear with me in spite of it.

Perched high above the sea, on the edge of a rocky cliff-side path . . .

There sits an old stone Inn that is left vacant most of the year.   Only recently there has been talk that this former Inn has changed ownership and is being converted into a private residence.

The South wing of this commanding structure overlooks a beautiful sand beach.

The structure itself faces out to the sea, but directly below, you will catch the sight of vast jagged outcroppings and treacherous terrain.

Just inside a dimly lit room perched high above the ocean is a long forgotten object.  If you were able to peer inside this window you would catch sight of it resting upon an old, dusty settee, quietly awaiting discovery.

So go ahead and peek right in there.  You will see it right away.

By the look of this piece, it must have endured exposure to the elements of this harsh terrain.  Did it suffer a fall from a sudden wind during an outdoor art exhibit this former Inn was famous for? Or perhaps extreme temperature fluctuations caused the cracking and flaking you see in its surface.  Here, take my binoculars and get a better look of it.  I know, the window is a bit cloudy, but I want you to see it up close.

Yes of course! A summer wind must have swept it up high into the air before it began its slow spiral to the rocks and salt water down below.  Thought to be completely ruined, no one bothered to wipe away the bits of seaweed that will forever stain its surface.  It got stowed away, instead of discarded.  Still, someone remembers it is there, stored high above the ocean in a dimly lit room.   Someone who will never again return for it, still believing it was completely ruined.


As you can probably tell, I had fun.  I may have never told you before, but attending art school was something I had always wanted to do way back, when I was much younger.  This online course is truly fulfilling my dream of what it would have been like.  I do not know how I got so lucky to be selected for this experience, but I can tell you I am savoring every minute of it!

I encourage anyone, who may want to learn more about this course, to visit the Farragoz website by clicking the link found here.  I have also included a link on my sidebar to make it easy to find information of how to sign up for this course.   

(And isn't it rather sneaky of me to include images from a recent trip we made to York, Maine for the purpose of illustrating my story.)


Tania Rossouw said...

Lili, you did a fabulous job! You can be very proud of your icon - I know we are. Love the history you created for him. Such a lovely story. Well Done! Can't wait to see your next project. Tania xo

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I loved the story - I really got caught up in it, wishing the previous owner could return and see that their treasure was still there. Beautiful scenery on your trip too - and a lovely result of the art class.

This looks like it is going to be a fun class, can't wait to see more.

GaleM said...

Lili, that's an amazing piece!! SO happy for you that you're taking this class and learning. Wait til I get up there and we start flinging paint and plaster around!!! haha xoxo LOVE the story and the pictures. Can't wait to see what your next piece is!!!

Crown of Beauty said...

Beautiful piece of art, no one could tell that it was only recently made. And the story, together with the photographs - they are remarkable indeed. You are a born artist, Lili!

Crown of Beauty said...
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Teri said...

Love it! Your art piece...your story... your blog... and the fact that you're back!!!

Robin Larkspur said...

This is a very exciting project you have undertaken! I know you have a wonderful imagination, and now I have seen a glimpse of your artistic gift! Fabulous story to go with this unusual technique. And loved the photos of York!!
So good to see a post from you, Lili!!

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

Dearest Lili, I'm not surprised that you were asked. I have always felt you have had artistic talent in you just waiting to burst out . . . it shows in everything you touch. Well done my friend and enjoy this new adventure. xoxo

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Lili, Your icon turned out wonderful and I love the story you created. Thanks for your kind comment on my clock project and I am now a follower.

regan said...

Sneaky, brilliant, and oh-so talented! Your piece is beautiful! And so is the story that goes with it! Well done!

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

I love your story, and your icon, Lili. Nice job!

Heaven's Walk said...

Oh Lili!!!! I'm so glad to see a post from you, sweetie!! How ARE you?? Sounds like you're having a wonderful autumn in beautiful Maine. Those seaside photos drew me in and made me want to drive right out to see you. :) I love that you're following your artistic soul and taking that class. You did an amazing job!! Keep us posted on your artwork, my friend! You are so talented!!! (oh...and don't forget to include more pics of your beautiful state....lol).

xoxo laurie

Country Girl said...

Yes! To all of this! How beautiful. So cool, Lili!!