Remember how in my painted door post I mentioned I wasn’t in a sorority? Funny story, I am now. In a whirlwind of decisions this spring I decided to pledge Kappa Kappa Gamma and I am now an official member. One of the aspects of being a new member is the assignment of a Big Sister. I love my Big Sister very much, and in April I embarked on a gift project for her.
It began in a conversation where she expressed an admiration for the Kappa Kappa Gamma coat of arms. She very much liked the design, and felt it was very classy. When I heard this my mind connected to a previous conversation where she said something to the effect of: “I can’t wait to see what Kappa inspired art projects you come up with.” This was like a creative challenge to me, so when I learned of my Big’s appreciation for our coat of arms I decided to make one into a gift for her.
So I started to look at the coat of arms, to familiarize myself with its design. It struck me as rather flat. Don’t get me wrong, I love our coat of arms, but the basic print uses solid colors (devoid of value) and outlines, both of which flatten drawings. I wanted to give it a little pizazz. I brainstormed ways to capture and highlight its classiness: silver and gold leaf, glitter, swarovsky crystals, shading, three-dimensionality, swirling curlicues, etc.
I decided to experiment with three-dimensionality, a style I’ve worked with in the past. In addition to introducing value, I would literally add depth to the seal with a glue-gun and caulking-gun. First I sketched out the design. Then I selectively applied glue to accentuate edges and applied caulk to make the banner-like swirls at the top stand out. I also decided to make the key in the middle stand out, and created one out of hot glue. If I’d had a miniature key available, I could have glued that on instead.
After I finished adding the 3D elements I painted in the colors, taking care to add value where necessary for a deeper look that also suggests rich silk and satin fabrics. Once the main paints were on, I added some gold paint on the key, the owl, and the letters. I admit I took a little artistic license with the letters, which are silver in the original coat of arms. I felt the gold balanced out the other areas and added to the elegance. To further heighten the luxuriance, I added a Swarovsky crystal to the neck of the key and smaller crystals to the owl’s eyes.
I’m very pleased with the final result, and the look on my Big Sister’s face when she received her gift was priceless. She had no idea what creative mischief I had been up to.