I wanted to submit something to the members gallery at the ABANA conference in Richmond, Kentucky in July 2004. In addition I wanted to experiment with using different metals to create a piece with a lot of color.
I decided to make a panel which would be a “painting in metal” of an autumn woodland. When I am creating a complicated piece I imagine a story which goes with it. I think that technique helps a lot with design. In this case I was inspired by the familiar Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken” http://www.bartleby.com/119/1.html
and my memories of driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina with the golden leaves falling in a spectacular show.
I used materials I already had on hand. I assembled a textured mild steel frame and constructed the larger foreground trees from textured mild steel the added some background bronze trees. The road was copper sheet, the sky brass sheet and the forest floor was several layers of mild steel sheet with different textures.
It seemed to be a helpful learning experience although there were quite a few points where I felt the result was disappointing. Achieving the illusion of depth was much harder than I imagined. But I felt I had learned enough to be able to do it “better the next time” which is my usual goal with an experiment.
When I brought the panel back to the studio I hung in on the wall for a while and continued my critique. Eventually, it occurred to me it might be interesting to weather it and see what would result. After removing as much of the clear finish as I could do easily I sprayed it with muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide to get the oxidation started then hung it up outside where it has remained for about eight years. Last year I put on a coat of satin lacquer and hung it on our back porch.
While Mother Nature couldn’t take care of my technical inadequacies, she did improve the colors which made the piece more interesting overall. The appearance changes a lot depending upon the lighting variations.
Not wanting to be an outright thief of Robert Frost’s theme, I titled the piece “Choices.” During the construction I had to make a lot of them. Some turned out better than others. Isn’t that the way life always works?