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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Laurie shares a Gallery Glass Nativity Scene

Our friend, Laurie Morris, has designed a perfectly marvelous "Cling" which is an excellent way to hang a Nativity Scene on a patio door or double hung window near the tree and stockings. I love the modern look of the stable supports. It is a beautiful interpretation of the Christmas story and she got the idea from a picture of a real stained glass piece. (Anything they can do--we can do better!) Great job, Laurie, thank you for sharing the idea with us.

And since Laurie brought up the subject, I thought we should re-cap some of the Nativity concepts we have explored in the past. Lest we forget...............

Making the Project fit the Frame
I wanted to create a special gift but my problem was framing! The unusual length of the piece made it impossible to find a non-custom frame that would work. I first took a picture of the original and printed it out. Then I calculated the ratio, (length divided by the height as 2.2). I knew that my poster frame had a 1.5 ratio so I stretched the vertical measurement on my copier with the "Copy Ratio--X/Y  Zoom" feature until the image matched the 1.5 ratio. Then I enlarged the image to full size--leaded and painted it. It worked pretty well, except that the people look rather tall and skinny. I loved painting this scene because the Wise Men colors are so vibrant and because I got to use all the specialty paints--glitters and sparkles. 
This is a trick that I use quite frequently when I have a surface that is a specific size and the artwork isn't the right proportion to enlarge--as is (like when you're doing your window). It will usually work without distorting the design too much. Most artists would consider THIS a drastic change, but the kids will never know the difference. They will just enjoy looking at it. I have never seen a Bethlehem scene handled with such imagination. I love the grown-up faces and the friendly sheep--the smart looking Wise Men and the humble shepherd--the arrogant camel and the sweet faced donkey. I even like the look of the town behind them and the plunky palm trees. Notice the way the creche frames the whole group. There is so much detail, you can study it for weeks--all the way to Christmas and not get tired of it. And all of this is accomplished within a segmented design created with leading and paint. Amazing! 

On the other hand, not everyone wants to spend endless hours on a project. There are design levels to fit every one's taste. This is a triptych design from an old Plaid book that tells a story, similar to the big piece, but with a lot less characters. It would certainly start a conversation with little ones about the meaning of Christmas. I cut 2 -  8x10" styrene blanks into two equal pieces and leaded and painted the designs. Then after they were dry, I taped them together on the back and cut off the excess width of tape, so that it wouldn't show from the front. It makes a lovely screen in front of a votive candle.

But if it bothers you that 2 of the main characters are missing...try the 8x10" Mother and Child design. The style of this project is considered to be juvenile, primarily due to the simple facial expressions. But it is a nice project and could be completed by your resident child in an afternoon.
Bottom line - there is a style and a level of difficulty for almost every subject that will fit the needs and desires of the crafter. I try to show you both ends of the spectrum in this blog. You just need to look for your own personal balance between the two.

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