How I created my latest artwork

Here’s my latest piece depicting a Christmas candle. I’ve added some interesting shapes in the background to mimic Christmas lights to give it more of a festive feel.

I’ve titled this piece “Light of the world”. I’m a Christian and I wanted to create a Christmas piece that celebrated what Jesus is to the world. In John 8:12 it says “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””

This is a 4×4 inch polymer clay mosaic tile in the pointillism style. Below I’ll show you below the steps I took to create this piece.

Step 1: I rolled out some black clay and used a 4×4 inch cookie cutter to cut out the square. You can see some small holes in the piece. The clay sometimes develops air pockets, and I used a needle tool to release the air (causing those holes).

Step 2: I traced my reference image onto baking paper, and using a stylus tool, traced over the baking paper to imprint the image onto the clay. I don’t always do this. Most of the time I mark out the basic shapes in freehand, but I wanted to get the dimensions right on this one.

Step 3: Using the left over black clay, I started rolling balls of the clay and adding them to the raw clay base. I don’t always start with the background, but I had limited time that night and wanted to get started on the piece. Adding the background allowed me to finish a lot of the piece in the quickest time.

Once I added most of the black, I stored the clay in a plastic, sealable container, resting the clay on some baking paper. This ensures the piece is protected from dust (and any children of the house that may damage the piece 😀)

Step 4: The following day, I spent about an hour mixing the different colours required. I focused on the reference image and mixed colours that matched as closely as possible. My reference image was on my iPad so it was easy to zoom in and focus on the colours in great detail.

Step 5: I then spent 3+ hours rolling small balls of the clay and adding them to the base, forming the picture. The size of the balls is random, I just created them organically based on my feelings at the time.

You can see in this photo there are lots of little balls of clay around my picture as well as scraps of clay. This piece evolved over time, and I had to remove some of the balls of clay if they didn’t work shape-wise or colour-wise. If the clay was too firmly stuck, I push it down with a stylus tool (very carefully!) and add the replacement clay over the top.

Step 6: I wanted to add some ‘glow’ and shine to the piece, so I used a small brush and added various shades of mica powder to the raw clay. I then placed it in the oven to bake (using the instructions on the polymer clay packet).

Step 7: After the piece had cooled down, I added two layers of glaze to make the colours pop (letting it dry between coats).

Step 8: Once the glaze had dried, I scored the back of the clay with a scalpel tool and also scored the wooden backing of the frame, before gluing the piece to the frame.

So there you have it. This is how I work with most of my pieces, with only slight variation.

You can see some of my previous work on my Instagram account @leah_radlett ; via my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/LeahRadlettArtist or the pieces available for sale via Etsy http://www.etsy.com/au/shop/LeahRadlett.

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4 thoughts on “How I created my latest artwork”

  1. I am fascinated by your work. The texture seems to add to a sense of light reflecting off of the surface. I also love your scripture reference. Thank you for using you God given talents .

    Like

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