The next piece in the Trickster series started out as many of my pieces normally do, but by the end there was a dramatic departure in terms of style. Was this the correct choice, or did I turn Raven mad? We shall find out.
For this Trickster figure we head to rain-soaked Northwest North America. Raven is a major figure in Haida belief and for this artwork I chose the story, “Raven Steals the Sun.” You can read the story here.
Raven initially started with a couple garlic press handles as beaks, and the background was made from various rack parts.
I focused on giving Raven form, adding in some bike parts and dinner knifes as the body and wings:
Added Raven back into the scene to see how everything looks. One of the major issues with this piece was the sun. I wanted to have it light up, but wasn’t sure of the best way. So I first started with a small bottle turned upside down.
I put a strip of LED lights inside it and tested it out:
Here are a couple closeups of how the lights looked inside the bottle. A few layers of paint would be needed on the bottle so the light strip couldn’t be seen, but couldn’t be painted too opaque that the light itself was blotted out. Needless to say, it took several tries to get right, and at least one bottle broke in the process.
Back to the overall piece: Using Haida illustration and painting as a guide, I started adding color. Sometimes with not so great results, as seen in one of my first attempts here. Besides the fact that the green felt all wrong, the unpainted Raven seemed out of place now.
I next tried to paint Raven, but the poor bird got completed lost. At this point it felt like a mess. After scrubbing all the paint off Raven, I stepped back and tried to think how to make it really pop out, but still fit into the scene.
Raven was removed, and I spent more time looking at Haida artwork. The colors were reworked again. Blue seemed to work much, much better than the green.
I really liked how Raven turned out, but it just wasn’t fitting into the artwork the further it progressed. The background had a very illustrative style, and so needed an illustrative Raven. So I took some spare plywood, did some sketches, and cut out the shape of Raven. With a combination of Decocolor markers and acrylic paint, a new Raven was born. Also added in Decocolor marker highlights to the background:
This was when it all fell into place. At this point it involved touchups and the addition of some yellow highlights, as well as switching out the sun orb.
Below are some shots of the final piece. Raven Steals the Sun is an 18 x 18 x 4 inch artwork with LED lighting. Thanks to the LED lights, the sun can be changed color as well as have some simple animated effects. This piece is currently available for sale. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
For more art in this series, head to the Trickster page.