Wednesday, March 6, 2019

her faithful journey triptych

The Gypsy Soul Laser Cut triptychs and reliquaries are some of my most treasured pieces to work with. They are durable enough to handle all sorts of mediums and still remain straight for display. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out they have a large version. The arch top triptych 8 inch is the base I am using for "her faithful journey".
The first thing I like to do with any piece I am working on is to visualize a theme and how I anticipate the final appearance. Although many of my pieces take take on a life of their own once I begin, I feel it's a good idea to get a general feel for direction, size and types of finishes to help me gather my supplies.
I will be creating a very traditional religious triptych, one reminiscent of the old European Icons. The first step involves selecting the images that will be featured on each panel. I prefer that all three images are in the same art style. This gives the piece, when attached together, a cohesive look and feel. All three images will be linked together to represent an overall theme. When selecting my focal image, I like to lay the top "frame" piece over the picture to see how it will look. This is helpful when determining if the scale of the image is too small or large for the piece.
Once the focal images are selected, it is time to begin working on the desired finishes. I often let the style of my images dictate how the reverse side of the panel will be decorated. Since the three panels will be hinged together and free-standing when complete, I always make it a point to ensure the piece is as beautiful viewed from the back as it is from the front. I envision the triptych as if it is made from wood, with touches of gilding, worn away over time; the reverse side with simple patterns to create a relief. These raised areas will display remnants of paint and gilding rubbed away over time.
Once all the supplies are gathered, I layout a design for the reverse side using Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. I use two sets of petal corners as well as a leafy swirls and buds set. I attach the pieces with collage medium then allow to dry.
The decorated back sides are all painted with walnut stain distress paint, unifying the elements with the panel. The front decorative frames are also painted with walnut stain.
Next it is time to trim and attach the focal images for each panel. I have used images by Giotto from a  book by Gerldine Elschner titled The Nativity. (Note: some of these images have been modified using collaged pieces from other images by Giotto) I like to leave a small edge around the image so that when the decorative frame is adhered, there are no extra edges overhanging. The ornate edge at the arched tops make it difficult to get an exact trim. The trimmed images are adhered to the flat panels with a thin coat of collage medium and set aside to dry. Adhere each image to its respective panel; when all pieces are completely dry, add a thin layer of collage medium on top to seal them. Allow to dry overnight.

Next, I want to create my envisioned wood finish. I add layers of dry brushed paints on the back sides. I prefer to work on all three panels at the same time, this helps to ensure the finished piece is cohesive. I also paint accents chipped sapphire blue within the open flowers, and along the stems and swirls as well as within the petal corners. When I have achieved the desired look, I allow it to dry and begin recreating the finish on the front framing pieces. (Note: I always attach the framing pieces after all of the finishes are dry. This allows me better access to alter the images without being encumbered by the frame.)
While the frames are drying, I add some gold accents and collage elements onto the images, I also add color to some of the details.
 When dry, the entire surface is covered with crackle finish and set aside to cure. I rub dark stain into the cured crackle to accent the finish.
The next step is attaching the cover frames to each panel. I coat the back side of the cover frame with collage medium and align the frame with its respective back panel, then clamp together, and allow to dry. Depending on the number of small clamps available, this step may take quite a bit of time.
When all three panels are assembled, I attach miniature hinges to the back along the edges where the panels meet. I take care to make sure all the three pieces are lines up horizontally so that when the triptych is stood up, all the bottom edges with rest completely on a flat surface. (Note: the triptych can be hinged in various ways, I simply prefer to use hinges. Many times the hinge screws are too long for the thickness of the piece, it works just fine if you attach the hinges with a strong adhesive and omit the screws.)
As a final step, I add gilding wax to some of the raised spots on the back and along the decorative arched edge.
If you are inspired to create your own triptych, be sure to check out the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Shop, there are many different styles and sizes to choose from. 
Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts used:
arch top triptych 8 inch
leafy swirls and buds
petal corners


  1. You know of course I love these because of the content and triptych aspect. They look ancient and authentic. Beautifully created

  2. Ann, this is beautiful! Love the finishes on this.

  3. Ann, this piece is just exquisite. I especially love how you added raised elements to the back.