ARTS & CRAFTS: African Style Mask, Pt 2

Up on the wall, finally.
The (nearly) finished new look.

I thought I’d posted about this project before, here on my blog. But I can’t find any such entry! (I may have to go back and remedy that?) Anyhoo… here’s a ‘second’ instalment on the subject.

The original project was something I did several years ago, after buying a book in Heffers, Cambridge, on African masks. I bought that book even further back, a number of years earlier, with the intention of trying to replicate some tribal type African artefacts for decorating our home.

How the ‘face’ looked at start of play, with the ‘beard’ tucked away.

As as ever with my artistic projects, I’m not at all happy with my efforts. This is something that has generally stymied me in this department all my life! Indeed, lack of self-belief has grown to such an extent that I just really don’t do any art anymore. Same with the music.

Anyway, whatever. As folk say these days! For what it’s worth (or not?), this is my attempt to do something with this mask to make it such that I do like it. I’d like to say I don’t care. But the truth, as always, is more nuanced and complex than that.

The mask, all ‘masked’ up, and marked up!

This is how it is at present. Or rather how it evolved today. Even in its first stage it went through several separate steps. As I searched for the elusive something. The basic design is a mish-mash of elements from various masks in the reference book.

Today’s stages were first: masking off the ‘beard’/back of the mask; then masking some striped patterns on the front face; painting a black gloss coat over the front; and finally the tape is removed, and… ‘wallah!’, as many folk have it in Franglais.

Looking quite weird. But I quite like the green stripes.

I think it’ll need ‘knocking back’ or ‘weathering’, as it’s poss’ a bit too stark or pristine as is. Anyroad, I definitely do like it better now. I’m still not very happy with it. But an improvement is something. And it’s my first attempt. Maybe I ought to just move on to a second? We shall see…

From the right side.
And the left.

I’ll let the latest layer dry overnight. And tomorrow I’ll work on weathering it a bit. Sanding, scraping, maybe some brown (strong tea?) washes? Then I need to work up some kind ageing or patina. Hmmm!?

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