Monday, June 20, 2011

WOW!Gorilla progress Day 9

Left the warehouse at 10.30pm last night, third late night on the trot but I got "Distinctly Different" ready for the guide book photo shoot today. Phew!

I do have a bit of fiddling on the paintwork here and there and then I need to varnish her with about 2-3 coats; so I have a few more working hours left with my Dee Dee yet, before I hand her over.

Here are some last piccies of her and a little insight into my design, which represents nature and our stewardship of this planet.

Apart from being my favourite colour, purple has long been associated with royalty – the gorilla is an iconic species, practically royalty in its own environment so a purple gorilla seemed like a good idea as a base. Aesthetically, the glitter creates “movement” as it catches the light adding another element to an otherwise flat colour surface. But if I was to get “all poetical” it could also be said that, like glitter, the natural world is made up of many species, each a little gem in its own right and shines by itself. But to create the full and beautiful effect of glitter, all the pieces need to be together to shine and glisten as one element, much like all the species on this planet need to exist, to create that wonderful glitter-ball of life – each loss of a single species makes our world shine less.

The physicality of the gorilla sculpture represents our man-made world, with nature, as the leaves and vines, growing from the ground the sculpture is stood on; refusing to be brushed aside it wraps itself around in delicate tendrils enhancing our lives in a way that is often ignored. I thought of silver as it is a precious metal often overlooked – the man-made world loves gold and its monetary value; the silver vines and leaves signify the overlooked value of the natural world - a value more infinitely precious than gold or money.

There are a handful of butterflies amongst the leaves that add life and movement to the leaf design and are decorated with a greenish glitter. Jelf Lampier’s corporate colours are purple, silver and a touch of green, so the hint of green on the butterflies helps tie in with their corporate identity.

Also I have placed two small silver butterflies in the palms of Dee Dee’s hands (crossing the palms with silver) – signifying the fragility of nature and how a strong hand (man) could crush or care for it.

Other than that she’ s a big purple gorilla with a bit of bling! :~)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

WOW!Gorilla progress Day 8

My gorilla now has its proper name... and he is now a she, as her sparkly delicate leaf look is far too feminine for a fella. Her sponsors, Jelf Lampier, have called her "Distinctly Different (Dee Dee)" which I love.
So Dee Dee has been coming along over the last four days. It's been hard work and long hours to try and get her finished by this eve. Two 12 hour shifts has got me to a point where I am pretty sure I am on track to do this and shall be leaving shortly for another long day with her.

The cushions I brought in have been invaluable as I work ... saves me from the cold floor and getting a nasty neck ache!

I'm starting to dream of silver leaves!

She's starting to look almost there... today will be finishing off the leaves and adding various details and a few butterflies.

I had promised to volunteer on the Elephants For Africa stand at the Bristol Festival of Nature all day today; they have kindly let me off doing the whole day and now I shall be with them for a few hours this afternoon. I think I am to draw the raffle which today has one of my elephant prints "Waiting for the Stragglers" as a prize.

The weather is looking good at the moment, so hopefully it will hold for the day and lots of people will visit this wonderful annual event.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WOW!Gorilla progress Day 4

My gorilla (knick-named Hugh, whilst I paint him) has now had a new coat of purple, to match his sponsor's, Jelf Lampier, colour branding on Day 2 and a sparkly coat of subtle purple glitter varnish on Day 3. The idea of the glitter is to add another element/dimension to the colour making it more interesting than a flat colour - light will shimmer across his surface and add a bit of 'movement' to him. This is a close up of his head, of course, the photo can't give the full impact of the effect, but it will give you some idea.

Yesterday I started on the twisting vine of leaves design that will eventually cover his whole body. I have used a silver paint with an iridescent medium added... again to lift it from being a flat colour, to one that reacts with light.

This is the part of the paint job that will take the time... Just doing the one leg yesterday took nine hours with a few breaks to give my back and neck a rest; as to get round the leg I was getting into all sorts of awkward positions to paint. I'm taking in a bundle of cushions today for some support and comfort!!

But I am thoroughly enjoying doing him and am so far pleased with the effects and can't wait to see him out in the daylight where all these effects will come into play.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

WOW!Gorilla progress Day 1

After a shopping trip this morning, to gather paints and supplies, I experimented at home with colour hues and effects for the decoration of my gorilla. Then a quick journey to the location where the gorillas are being stored and space is available for artists to work on their gorilla sculptures.

Another artist helped me unwrap and place my gorilla in a convenient spot to work and then it was just a case of starting. But first, the obligatory photo shoot with said gorilla.

My first job was to sand him down all over to get a lovely smooth tactile surface and then I mixed my colours using Galeria acrylics. One of the advantages of being one of the last to get to paint these gorillas is that you can pick up tips like just how much paint you need to buy and what paint covers better. It took a couple of hours to get a good coverage on him but I was pleased with my progress. Now I'd leave him overnight to dry and harden off properly before I start the next stage.

After cleaning up brushes, pots etc, I locked up the building and once outside found that I had a phone message from the WOW! Gorillas organiser... seems I now have a sponsor but that they have a particular colour purple for their company branding... so I will need to take a trip into work tomorrow, at the zoo, to look at the Pantone colour swatch so I can try to mix and match another shade of purple and repaint mister gorilla again tomorrow.

WOW! Gorillas

Yesterday I was offered one of the fabulous gorilla sculptures to paint for the WOW!Gorillas event taking place in Bristol soon.
From early July – for ten weeks – a group of life-sized hand decorated gorilla sculptures will form a trail around Bristol’s cultural and retail quarters.

Numerous companies have come forward to sponsor a sculpture and have picked the design they wish their gorilla to be decorated with from a whole host of ideas submitted by regionally local artists. Most of these have now been painted and the deadline is fast approaching - I have about a week to get my gorilla prepped, started and finished. Smaller versions of the sculptures have been ‘adopted’ by various schools, whose pupils have designed and decorated their own school gorilla. These will then go out on show along with the life-size sculptures.

After the art trail event has finished each gorilla sculpture will be auctioned and the monies raised will go to gorilla conservation projects and the Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal.

As I type this I am waiting for paint to dry as I experiment with shades of purple and coatings for my gorilla sculpture beastie.
So… back to check on the paint….