Creative Squad: Masquerade Party – Riikka Kovasin

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post and video from Riikka Kovasin who is sharing a trio of festive masks using my Art Deco Empire and Batik stencils and our theme: Masquerade Party – Let’s play with disguises, the technique of masking, or maybe creating a bit of mystery this month. Not everything is what it seems, and it can be an interesting artistic trick to obscure or reveal in your artwork.

Sun, Moon and Stars 

Hi there! It’s Riikka here today sharing my October project. As you can see, I took quite a literal approach to the “Masquerade Party” and decorated some small paper maché masks with acrylic paints and self-made decoupage paper.

My inspiration for these masks were the Venetian carnival masks. Maybe it was the shape of the paper maché masks that led me there as they echo the shapes of the Venetian masks. The one I decided to make the sun has a little bit of harlequin in it whereas the one I decorated with stars has the “Dottore della Peste”, the plague doctor shape in it. With the carnival masks in mind I used bright colors and gold touches in the masks even though they are maybe a more modern addition to the whole thing. The traditional commedia del’arte masks where some of the masks have their origin were much simpler.

To get some pattern to my masks I used tissue paper as wrapping a stencil around such a dimensional shape can be quite challenging. Patterning tissue paper is an easier way to get pattern wrapped around the shape. Depending on the tissue paper, the color you’re laying it on top of, and the medium you use, you might get the paper to completely disappear. Here I used a soft body gel medium to adhere the pieces I first patterned using a golden acrylic paint and black gesso. For the patterns I used two Nathalie’s stencils – “Art Deco Empire” and “Batik”. I used golden acrylic with the “Art Deco Empire” as the pattern reminds me of a sunburst and black with the “Batik” to have some contrasting pieces for the masks. I used those just as accents, adding just a tiny detail to each mask.

As you can see, the tissue paper doesn’t completely disappear in my masks. On top of the lighter surfaces of yellow and turquoise it’s a bit more faded to the background than with the lilac. If you are trying to hide the tissue paper completely, one way to help is to have a frayed edge rather than a straight cut one. An easy way to do it is to use a wet brush. Trace the desired shape onto the tissue paper with a wet brush and then you can tear the piece loose. Paper is most brittle and soft when it’s wet and you’ll be able to get exactly the shape you want, to control the place where the paper tears.

To keep with the Venetian theme, I decorated my masks with some crystals and feathers. I chose to cut out the part with the feathers from the video as they were giving me a hard time. Or rather, I couldn’t decide how to put them on the mask. I added some several times to the Moon mask before getting the idea of attaching the feathers to the back of the masks, which worked nicely. I should have taken a peek at the modern-day Venetian masks for inspiration at that point!

As I had three masks, I wanted something to combine them into a series. Inspired by the sun like appearance of one, I decided to make a celestial triplet of the Sun, the Moon and stars. I made the focal embellishments for each using a silicone mould and casted the decoration using hot glue. There’s a quick Reels in my Instagram account showing that, if you wish to see HERE. But it’s really easy! You just need to remember that the embellishment is out of hot glue so it will melt for example in case you dry the project with a heat tool!

Thank you for stopping by today! I’ll be seeing you again next month!

Thank you Riikka – gorgeous, rich colors on these masks and I love the drama you create with them!

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Riikka used:

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