This past 4th of July holiday came and went — fireworks, barbecue, family, friends, TikiBatman… uh…say what?
That’s right. TikiBatman. Let me explain…
The wifey & I were visiting wifey’s grammy over the holiday weekend. While we were there, Grammy has some stuff she’d like to get rid of, old wall art, paintings, etc. that no longer go with the the decor of the house. We were welcome to pick through it all and take what we wanted! She opens up the door to the closet where the unwanted art is stacked and what immediately catches my eye but a three foot tall wood tiki/tribal mask wall hanging! I asked Grammy if it was up for grabs too; she was surprised I had any interest in it! I could have it if I really wanted it.
Ohh, yes Grammy, I want it. For in my warped brain, I could see beyond the mask’s surface to what I could bring forth from its stretched out form –
The goddamn TikiBatman.
The next day, I started bright and early on this new creation. I needed to do some surface fixing before I got to the good stuff. The mask had a pattern of ‘decorative’ gouges dotting all across the surface, with a giant ‘potleaf’ (I say it was a potleaf) carved out of the mask’s nose. Those had to go, so I got out the wood putty filled in all the spots, then let dry. After drying, I sanded down all of those wood putty spots to make them flush and seamless with the rest of the surface. I gave the rest of the surface a light sanding too so the primer and paint would adhere. Click on the pics for a bigger view.
Next came the primer. I have a gallon of canvas gesso left over from college painting class to use up so I slapped two generous coats of it down on the mask. I allowed about an hour or so for each coat to dry. Two and a half hours in on the project and I’m ready to paint! You can see just from the primer picture Bats was easy to see peeking of the form. For painting, I went back to my leftover supplies drawer for my stockpile of acrylic paints. Nothing fancy or expensive — the cheapest stuff you might find at your local Hobby Lobby or Michael’s Crafts.
I started with the top half of the mask which would become Batman’s cowl. I had in my mind an amalgamation of Dick Sprang/Neal Adams/Adam West flavors of Batman’s color palette and details. I used an Indigo Blue for a base color (2 coats) applied with a big ol’ brush and allowed to dry. Being acrylic, drying time was pretty quick. Once dry, I used a fine line brush with watered down black acrylic to draw the outline of the area to be filled in with solid black. Each new color layer was given dry-time before moving on. Some light blue highlights and red for the hollowed out eye areas finished off the top half of the mask. From there the painting continued with the mouth/teeth/chin portion. This area had the most nooks, crannies and contours of the whole mask so the majority was painted with a couple smaller brushes.For the skintone -a mix of reds, browns & white. A little bit of blue thrown in for his not-so-clean-shaven chin. His giant gums and teeth painted accordingly as each section dried. When it was totally dry, I took a thin-line Sharpie and drew on some whiskers on his chin and upper lip!
14 hours later (most of that being drying time) TikiBatman was complete! He came with hanging hardware already in place on the backside so it was just a matter of putting a nail in the wall. A new, no-cost piece of fabulous art to adorn my art studio wall! Now I’m on the lookout for more masks– I think I need to whip up a Joker for a matching pair! A VERY fun project!