Been busy. David, our 13 year old son, is now too old for that trick-or-treating nonsense, but not too old to want a cool costume to wear to school & parties. It so happens that the beloved Mrs. YSotM is, how do the kids put it? tots awesome at this whole costume/seamstress thing, and has been for a few decades, so we’re often close to a great costume just based on what’s lying around the house. (The daughters have inherited this skill, and are therefore pressed into everything from costuming plays to modifying wedding dresses. A reputation for competency is a burden.) David once went to one of those fantasy cons down in San Jose, and Mrs. YSotM put together a wizard outfit for him to wear that had people stopping him and getting their pictures taken with him.
The bar has been set pretty high, in other words. Dad has wisely stayed out of it.
Until this year. As a fun project this summer, David and I made a couple fiberglass shields – one to screw up completely, and one sort of OK and usable. (I’d never done fiberglass before, so wanted to – probably funned out for life on goopy, messy, tricky frustrating projects – would rather do wood or brick stuff.)
Anyway, always intended to paint the shield something cool. David decided he wanted a winged sword, so he could use it with his St. Michael’s costume he envisioned for Hallowe’en.
Well. My one year of art school helped me become not totally incompetent in drawing, but we didn’t get to painting before I quit, and I frankly had little interest in it, so – nada.
The result of this minimal skillset is that was able to do a few pretty decent mock-ups in pencil until I got David’s sign-off, transfer the winner in pencil to the shield without much trouble – and then learn the hard way that going from pencil to paint is tricky.
It’s looks OK from > 10′ away. Just don’t get too close.
Things I learned:
- painters love oil paints and those expensive brushes for a reason. Trying to paint straight lines with gloppy latex using cheap little brushes that keep shedding hairs – DON’T DO IT! Lumpy, uneven, frustrating.
- The fancy gold leaf style paint uses a solvent that seems to dissolve the black latex paint unless the latex is really, really dry. Therefore, you’d want to put in on FIRST. Not, in other words, the way I did it.
- Masking tape only slightly improves things. And it tends to peel off the black latex paint when you pull it up.
- My hands are pretty steady. They could be a LOT steadier.
If I find myself doing any more painting like this, I’ll spend the money on decent brushes and paint. And maybe watch a YouTube video or three on basic technique.
David is pleased, though, and that’s what counts in these things.
Book reviews, more schooling stuff, as time permits.