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Week #8
This work was done by Gayle Waddle-Wilkes in 2016 in Seattle for the session “DESIGN: Deconstructing the Grid” in PRIMITIVE TO MODERN. In her own words:
I always have a more satisfying artistic experience when I connect it to something personally meaningful. So when we were asked to bring a simple design to class I took inspiration from my friend Doris. She was planning a trip to Colorado so see the Quaking Aspens. This intrigued me. I imagined clumps of trees huddled together at the foot the Rockies trembling in fear. Research revealed that the common name refers to the shaking of the leaves in a light wind. The poetry of the common name appealed to me and having a “Q" was a bonus since Qs are not very common in English. Research also provided images of the trees and leaves. Since the assignment was to supply a “simple design" I refined it down to 3 leaves. These are the 3 leaves that you see in the upper left of the final piece.

From the beginning the piece was intended for reproduction. The first step was to determine the best size of the design by photo copying it in several sizes onto a transparency, cutting out each size and trying out the placement keeping mind the final size would be approximately 11 x 17 inches. Once I had a rough idea of placement of the leaves I expanded the 3 leaf design by creating more lines that echoed the outside of the leaves and extended the veining of the leaves on a large sheet of tracing paper being sure to make it large enough to fill ½ sheet of waxed watercolor paper that I knew we would be working with. After establishing this part of the design the same process was used with the words written using Reggie’s lettering example with the Latin name in a smaller size for contrast. Once the best size was determined the words were photocopied onto 90# hot press Arches watercolor paper and cut out with an ample border. Tiny pieces of foam core were attached to the back so they words would sit away from the background and create a shadow when photographed.
Next the leaf design on the tracing paper was transferred onto one of the 11 x 17 color copies Reggie provided in class. Orange and yellow was the obvious choice for these fall leaves. The photo copy was lightly pressed onto the waxed cold press watercolor paper and the design was carefully cut out with an Exacto knife with a new blade along the lines. After completing this task it was "fractured" by peeling up each piece and moving it a bit to let the white of the background create and outline of each piece. The sticky wax made adjusting the placement a breeze. This process was not precise and often small bits of the pieces needed to be trimmed and pieces of the colored paper inserted into the spaces that were gaping. A “happy accident” occurred when I discovered that there was too much white space running down the center of the leaves. By adding a sliver if the lighter toned paper (contrast again) to the middle of the leaves they became more "leaf-like".

As embellishment gold foil pen dots were applied along the outside edges of the original 3 leaves and then scattered throughout the piece. For more contrast and interest, I later added 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch gold dots made by punching them out of gold card stock.

Since the piece was intended for reproduction and not as an original piece art piece it lends itself to multiple uses. I have since made thank you cards by using this back ground and the same process with the words “thank you”.

I’m sure this project could have been accomplished on the computer, but for me doing it “old school” slowed me down and helped me physically connect with the process. I am a firm believer that the journey is as important as the destination….sometimes more so.

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