You can see how I've blended the yellow highlight into the orange highlight.

Discrete Highlights on Trunk and Branch Networks

When we complete a branch network there are often highlights which seemed to appear spontaneously.  Sometimes these are caused by changes in color of the newsprint below the surface, but more often they are the result of the way paint adheres to exposed hot melt glue.  Acrylic paint doesn’t stick to hot melt glue very well.  It kind of smears across, rather than being absorbed by, the surface.

I’ve often admired these color changes.  To me they make the sculpture look more beautiful and complex.  I had some spare time this week and wondered if I might be able to create highlights deliberately.  I discovered I could, and what follows is an example of creating discrete highlights on trunk and branch networks.  I share this information freely with the hope that it will improve your work as it has mine.

-Benjamin John Coleman

 

I began with an assembly of makigami branches made from newsprint.

I began with an assembly of makigami branches made from newsprint.

 

I painted the sculpture with an initial primer coat of white paint to mask any images or colors that might show through the paint from the newsprint.

I painted the sculpture with an initial primer coat of white paint to mask any images or colors that might show through the paint from the newsprint.

 

I painted the tree with a mixture of dark brown paint.  In retrospect a lighter color might have worked better.

I painted the tree with a mixture of dark brown paint. In retrospect a lighter color might have worked better.

 

I painted orange-brown highlights onto any area of the trunk and branches that I thought might be "stressed" from growth.  In other words, I painted the outside arcs of all the branches and the trunk.

I painted orange-brown highlights onto any area of the trunk and branches that I thought might be “stressed” from growth. In other words, I painted the outside arcs of all the branches and the trunk.

 

This is a closeup of the orange highlight.  Notice that I blended it a bit, working it into the darker brown color.

This is a closeup of the orange highlight. Notice that I blended it a bit, working it into the darker brown color.

 

Next I added a yellow highlight to the orange-brown highlight.  It's just to add some complexity to the color.

Next I added a yellow highlight to the orange-brown highlight. It’s just to add some complexity to the color.

 

You can see how I've blended the yellow highlight into the orange highlight.

You can see how I’ve blended the yellow highlight into the orange highlight.

 

I painted the entire sculpture with a mixture of white, brown and black paint.

I painted the entire sculpture with a mixture of white, brown and black paint.

Notice how the highlights discreetly add to the beauty of the sculpture.

Notice how the highlights discreetly add to the beauty of the sculpture.

The completed sculpture.

The completed sculpture.