Hello Photoshop, my old friend . . .

It’s good to play with you again (yes, that darn song is stuck in my head.  The ukulele version).

Mixing old photos and a face cast of an older friend  – a way to tell corny (and in this case made-up) stories.  Tonight  I should dig out my little projector, and compare ‘real’ with Photoshop.  Hmmm.

Photoshop overlay on plaster

Overlay – a wild suffragette past

cast with photoshop layers

Overlay – A family past

By the bye, Steve Caplin’s How to Cheat in Photoshop still absolutely my favourite “how-to” guide. I borrowed this four times from the library before buying my own copy, and have since given copies to friends.

Remains of my day

face casts

Today several friends from the Wellington Improvisation Troupe  came round to have their faces cast in plaster, using expired dental alginate (so pink and minty) to make the moulds.  It was hard, fun messy work!   Now I have the task of cleaning up of the faces to do, and then in a few weeks there’ll be a mask making workshop.  Yee-hah!

The bronze swimmers – non toxic patina-ing

The 3 bronze swimmer masks have now had all their odd casting artefacts dremelled way, been sandblasted, and finally last night were given a patina, to simulate that ye olde bronze effect.

After some internet research (and a lot of internet distraction), I settled on a variation of a traditional ‘salt and vinegar’ recipe, which came out pretty well.  I heated the masks in my oven on the hottest bake setting. I then put a shallow dish with a solution of non-iodised salt (1 part) and vinegar (3 parts) in a glass dish on the tray below, and sprayed the masks with just vinegar using a misting bottle.  I resprayed several times, lightly sanded off some highlights and put it back: all up the oven was probably on for two hours, and the masks sitting in a cooling oven for another half hour.   The kitchen smelt like a very badly run fishshop.

There was some more buffing and hard rubbing on the still warm masks, and then the finishing polish. I didn’t have any of the recommended ‘hard wax furniture polish’ to hand, so made the polish my granny probably used: melting a small amount of paraffin wax and mixing it with some boiled linseed oil: I kept it warm over a low flame, and kept the bronze warm too.

It came up pretty much as I hoped.  If I’d wanted a blacker look I might have tried a sulphur compound, or for a greeny/bluey look, I could have used an ammonia compound … Rodin used to send apprentices to pee on bronzes as they weathered outside!