Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Frames with Rocket Power

Tomorrow is a big holiday. May the 4th is Star Wars Day. The local Cincinnati illustrators group have organized a Star Wars themed art show for the second year in a row. This fan art tribute show opens Thursday, May 4 at the Brew House in Walnut Hills and will be on view until June 4th. A percentage of sales will go to the George Lucas charity Force for Change. This is a kid friendly event. About 40 artists are showing work. There will be cos-play folk and an R2D2 rolling around. A Star Wars Improv group starts performing at 5:30. The opening will be from 4-11, Ill be there around 6 if that is an extra reason to show up.

Last year I did not have time to participate. This year I definitely wanted to be involved so I decided to do two quick paintings- of course I ended up doing way more than I initially planned. I had just purchased a few toys in an auction I thought would be perfect. The R2D2 cassette player was very cool and once I paired it up with a Verbot from the early 80s, I figure these robots would need to find a common language. The flag background added the patriotic space look I wanted.
Still life set up and the painting freshly signed.

Much of the work involved me custom making two frames for the work. I have in the past made a custom  Star Wars frame. I really enjoyed that process and decided to go at it again.
2X4 roughed out shape
Here is that process.
I had some sketches of space ship shaped frames in my sketchbook that I wanted to build. I rough cut one out of 2x4 scraps I had in the shop.

I ran the frame through the saw with the blade on an angle to get the sleek design and used a router to get the inset in the back for the painting and a bevel bit to shape the inside of the opening.
Next I added 1/4" plywood wings and the rocket ports on the bottom, which were made out of wooded eggs I had found- Yes, I save everything. I cut them in half and sanded the top flat and screwed them to the bottom.

Sanded shape with wings and rocket jets
Next I used scrap pieces of matboard and the cardboard backs from old drawing pads to hand cut panels. I would measure the pieces and then hand cut them with an exacto blade to get the bevel. They were then glued on following guide lines.
Covered in cardboard panels and spare parts.
Using another 2x4 piece I cut another rocket port at the bottom to balance it out and added a metal soffit vent. Then I add bits and pieces I had in the shop to add variety. I bought a few parts in the Hardware store that I could add to my ship. At the top, the round piece is a plastic electrical plug insert. The bottom vents on the corners are plastic PVC electrical pipe nuts, that I added metal screen pieces to. I used a few toy parts and upholstery tacks and made sure to sand all the bumps and edges.
Next I sprayed the entire frame with gray auto primer.

Freshly primed.
A few times sanding and priming and it was almost done. I then used acrylic washes to tone some color on some of the panels. I added a warm tone, a blue and a green to add some variety. An acrylic silver leaf tarnish gel was brushed all over the frame and wiped off to give some shadow to the recesses. I then drybrushed the frame with a light gray to get the frame to pop. I brushed on some powered pigments to grunge it up and it was ready for the painting.

Death Star Mix-tape, 19"x11, oil on linen, © copyright Richard Luschek 2017  

 Here it is on my back porch ready for take off. Hope to see you at the show.  I'll write about my Vader frame next week. The painting and frame are available. Message me if you're interested.

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