Monday, April 9, 2018

A Portrait...

I am always up for trying new things (when it comes to crafting). I absolutely love painting/shading with stain, and I learn something new with every project I complete. My latest attempt at "new" was doing a portrait in stain. 

I first thought of doing this portrait about 6 months ago. It rolled around in my mind for several months. I prepped the 1" x 12" wood, which then sat around for a month while I gathered some courage. See, this portrait is of someone very special. I could not mess this up - it had to be perfect! This portrait is of my awesome, amazing, loving, passionate, hilarious cousin, Bryant. 

Bry lost his battle with lung cancer in October 2017. He was the oldest son of my Aunt Pam. The big brother to three sisters and best friend of his little brother. The uncle to 17 adoring nieces and nephews. The #1 BYU sports fan. The guy with the quickest wit EVER. The inventor of more games than anyone can count. The biggest Christmas enthusiast. (He had 7 individually themed Christmas trees, each with their own name.) 

My earliest and best memory of Bry was when we were young kids playing in the backyard of our Grandmother's house. She had a picnic table under a large cherry tree. The ground under the tree was a dark black soil. Our Grandparents always had candy and treats for us when we would visit. My favorite treat was chocolate Jell-O pudding pops. We were all eating our pudding pops outside, under the shady cherry tree. My pudding pop slipped out of my hand and landed in the soil. I asked my Grandma for another pop, but she said no. I was kinda' devastated. Bry said, "It's fine. I'll wipe it off and you can still eat it." He proceeded to lick the soil off with one big swipe of his tongue (and then swallowed)! I looked at him with awe and gratefully accepted the pudding pop back from him. Yes, of course I ate it. Small acts of service such as this defined the life of Bryant. He was loved by so very many people. Now maybe you can see why the portrait had to be perfect...

I made more changes than I can count, which is not easy with stain. However, I gained some new techniques on "erasing" mistakes on stained wood. One is that fresh (still wet) stain can sometimes be erased by - get this - an actual eraser! This technique is, unfortunately, hit and miss. Half of the time, an eraser did not work. I haven't the foggiest idea why. Maybe after more experimental crafting I can give you a good reason. The second technique is "erasing" with small pieces of very fine sandpaper and a gentle hand. After sanding, I found that using an actual eraser to clean up the area was very effective. Please be warned though, the sandpaper can also erase your fingernails!

It's not perfect, but after I was sure I hadn't completely screwed up, I made a frame with 1" x 2" furring strips, stained with Minwax Jacobean wood stain to match the portrait.

When I was talking to my family about this project, I realized just how crazy I was to attempt it. I have NEVER done a portrait. I have never even tried to sketch a portrait in my life! I don't know what made me think I could try a stained portrait, except that I wanted so badly to honor Bryant. I wanted to give his mom something to remember him, that would hopefully bring some comfort to her. I surprised her with it last weekend. She loved it (thank goodness!) and was so grateful.

Totally worth it.

Love you Bry!

No comments:

Post a Comment