This past September I was honoured to be part of a chosen group of artists to paint a skate deck. Each of us was supplied with a blank skate deck to turn into a work of art to be displayed at Barrie's Spare Room Gallery as part of Culture Days.
I was excited because this was something I haven't done before and getting to try my hand at creating on different canvases is so fun. But also because this was the first time my work would be displayed for a show.
Not really knowing if my concept would work, I kinda just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Worst case I was going to have to sand it all down and start over. I wanted to do a close up of a dragonfly wing because the shape kind of reminded me of that and I'd just finished carving something similar into a linoblock to use on some pottery pieces (coming soon).
I wanted a texture in the board so used my wood burning tools from my bird carving days to trace out the intricate wing pattern.
Once the burning was done, I had fallen in love with the look of the burnt wood, but realized I would have done the burning on the opposite side of the lines I sketched. Sure something no one but me would have noticed but I definitely was frustrated I hadn't thought of it earlier. In any case, my next step - still with fingers crossed, - was to strategically "stain" the wings. After all, Dragonfly wings are clear. I was hoping with washes that I could achieve making them look like you could see the sun set behind them.
That didn't work. Maybe I didn't sand enough of the varnish finish off, but my gut feeling is that staining was never going to work due to nature of how the skate deck is made; laminated wood. There was always going to be a certain amount of glue/varnish/resin in the board itself making it difficult for the wood to absorb the washes of paint.
But I was too far gone so I was going to have to just keep going.
In the end, I'm SO HAPPY with how this turned out, even if it wasn't want I had pictured at the beginning. In true "me" fashion, it's way more vibrant than I imagined it would be. But I can't help myself, I love colour. I also hit some cells on the wings with an iridescent paint so when the board caught the light it was really special.
In the end the skate decks were auctioned off and I will never see it again. I'm happy knowing that it went into good hands as the owner sent me a picture of the wall where it will hang. What a cool and unexpected project this Fall. I really love how it turned out.