Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Elephant No. 254: Painted Foil

Today was a crazy day, so I needed something quick. A few weeks ago, I happened upon this rather pretty children's art activity, and it seemed perfect for today.

There are a number of variations on this activity, but most of them appear to involve scribing a design into heavy foil, outlining the design with a marker, then filling things in with water-based paint such as tempera or watercolour.

Grade 2 painting on foil, inspired by Keith Haring drawings.
Source: http://www.haringkids.com/lesson_plans/learn/painting-on-aluminum-foil

I started by peeling off the last bit of heavy-duty foil from the roll I had. I had planned to wrinkle the foil before I started, but this was already quite wrinkled.

I made a rough sketch next. I suppose I could have scribed directly onto the foil; however, with a surface this wrinkled, it seemed more sensible to sketch something I could scribe over.

I placed the foil shiny side up on a piece of cardboard, and taped the drawing to the foil to keep it from moving around while I scribed the design. I ran over the lines of the sketch with a pen, then removed the drawing and went over them again with the dull end of a bamboo skewer. In a few places, I used the skewer to smooth out the wrinkles. This was something I did primarily in the tassels, the band around the blanket, and the headdress.

Once I was happy with the lines, I went over them with a permanent black marker.

I started by trying to paint the foil with watercolour, then tempera, but both beaded up on the surface more than I liked. So I switched to bottled acrylic paint, and used it more or less full-strength.

As I painted, I had to keep tilting the foil to see any unpainted areas. Foil is incredibly hard to paint on because of all the reflections. It's probably even worse when it's wrinkled.

It doesn't really show in the photographs, but this is quite pretty in real life. The foil glows through the paint, reflecting in a rather interesting way. The wrinkles were also helpful. Not only do they add an extra bit of sparkle, but they also allow paint to collect, providing more variation in tone than you'd get on a flatter surface.

This took me about an hour, which was longer than I expected. It was also slightly more difficult than I expected, although it's certainly not a challenging activity. I'm not sure I'd make a habit of painting foil, but as an accent for a larger work, or as something like an insert on a greeting card, this would be perfect.

Elephant Lore of the Day
On Super Bowl Sunday in early 2012, thousands of dollars were raised by the Indianapolis Zoo for elephant conservation in Tanzania.

Lucas Oil Stadium was the site of Super Bowl XLVI, which pitted the New York Giants against the New England Patriots. During the game, the Indianapolis Zoo—located about five minutes from the stadium—offered its parking lot and a shuttle service to people attending the game. Within a single day, the Zoo had collected a cool $91,000 in parking fees.

The money was sent to the Tarangire Elephant Project in Tanzania, a country that is home to Africa's second-largest elephant population. Project director Charles Foley said that the funds would be used to start a new collaring project that would help researchers track elephants as they entered and left Tarangire National Park on Africa's east coast. The project would not only provide valuable information on related elephant populations throughout the country, but would also help reduce poaching in the region.

Elephants in Tarangire National Park.
Source: http://www.amani-tours.com/attractions/tarangire

 To Support Elephant Welfare
Elephant sanctuaries (this Wikipedia list allows you to click through to information
on a number of sanctuaries around the world)
Wildlife Trust of India

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