Rockwell in the Third Dimension

   by Sherry Zehner for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Triple Self-Portrait

Inspiration Artist: Norman Rockwell

My project idea was to take the famous Norman Rockwell painting, “Triple Self-Portrait”, and make it come to life by re-creating it in 3 dimensions. I was so excited to open my kit, and as I was looking in my art history book for inspirational art, I saw the rope on the red chair in Rockwell’s painting and thought, There it is! I could use the clay for the figure, sculpey for the small parts, rope for the chair, wood for the easel, etc. It was all there as if it was meant to be. I knew immediately that it was the art I wanted to re-create.

Use of Materials:
Oil Based Clay - used to sculpt the figure over a wire armature
Sculpey clay - used to sculpt most of the small accessories including the helmet, eagle, pipe, book, trash can, paint brushes, paint tube, hanky, wallet, palette, and legs for the red chair. It was baked in the oven for 15 minutes (less for tiny pieces) at 275 degrees.
Wire - used for eyeglass frames, and armatures for figure, chair legs, & paintbrushes
Canvas Board - cut to make Rockwell's canvas. The edges on the cut side were made a little larger, then the canvas peeled back, cut a little more, then edges frayed and glued back with Elmer's. Clothespins were used as clamps (see photo).
Canvas Cloth - circles were cut out of the fabric, edges glued leaving an opening, dried, and stuffed with some of the tiny white pellets, then opening was glued shut. I painted it with watercolor.
Thin wood – The easel, stool top, & mirror frame were made by cutting 3 strips from the thin sheets of wood, and gluing them together like plywood. Clothespins were used for clamps (see pics) to hold together until dry. Fake glass was made for the mirror with a piece of the thin wood. Then I cut strips and glued them on in layers around the edge for the frame. I carefully used scissors for the cutting, but had to be careful not to split the wood. Cutting out the round stool top was the hardest part because it kept splitting. Tiny pieces became matches on the floor.
Thick wood - used for chair seat under the rope wrap. I could have used this for a lot of parts if I’d had a band saw. Instead, I used a razor blade knife, chisel, and hammer to cut the seat. It was so difficult to cut without a saw, and the edges so ragged, that I decided to use the thin wood for everything else.
Tiny Pellets - I melted some in the oven to make the red paint spill in the floor. I also used some to stuff the chair pillow. I had fun experimenting with these. I only wished they would have dried clear instead of white after melting. If they had, I would have used them for lenses for eyeglasses, and for the drinking glass. It was easy to paint after melting though.
Hot Glue Stick - melted with a glue gun over the end of a dowel rod to form the drinking glass (see photo). I used the rest of the glue stick to glue on the eagle, helmet, chair & stool legs, and to glue the drinking glass onto the book. I had to use it very sparingly and when I ran out and had to make do with the Elmers, I wished for just one more stick, but it still worked out, just not as instantly.
Shredded Paper - used as paper wads in trash can
Box - I peeled the white paper off the cardboard to use for the mini paintings
Dowel Rods - used for stool legs and as a mold to make the drinking glass
Rope - I separated the strands to use for wrapping the seat of the red chair.

I used watercolor and acrylic for the paintings, to paint the sculpted pieces, and used an oil-based gold paint for the mirror frame and some of the accessories.