My intention with this piece of mammoth art is to give the viewer a sense of the impermanence of life. That all things come and go, each with its fleeting place in the broader timeline of history.
As the last mammoth gazes into the Pleistocene’s sunset, it feels the continuity and presence of all its ancestors who came before. Knowing that, even in its passing, it will always be a part of the land.
The Way of the Mammoth is 3′ x 6′ heat-colored steel engraving. The unique thing about the medium, unlike others, is the dynamic effect created by the reflective grinding patterns.
The heat colors are integral to the surface, coloring without covering each area’s texture, giving the piece a range of characters that changes with your viewing angle and the lighting or time of day.
Here’s an update I sent to my artistic community while I was making the piece.
The Way of the Mammoth is the title of the heat-colored steel engraving I’ve got in the studio right now. At 3′ x 6′, it will have a significant presence when completed. You can view it in The Dean Gallery here in Homer, or purchase it online.
The mammoth on the right will be dark brown so I began by rusting the steel before adding the temporary white coating that makes it possible to enlarge and draw the image.
Once I’ve engraved the outlines, the next step is to grind and color each area to create the effect I’m after.
I typically grind and texture only areas for the specific heat color I’ll be applying. I begin with the hotter colors and work in progressive stages from hot to cold, to avoid altering existing colors.
I have to continually visualize how the piece will look as the work is an everchanging patchwork of finished and unfinished areas until the final silver grind.
This piece has a lot of transparency, and with the wintery feel, most areas will have at least a subtle light blue color or shadow.
For this reason, I’m grinding the foundational textures of the snow, sky, and mountains before I do the blue heat.
As the work progresses, I’ll invariably regrind and heat each area to create more sophisticated color effects.
I get the transparent effect by lightly grinding previously worked areas, so the original texture and color show through.
If you want to follow along as I work on pieces like this, keep an eye on my Instagram or Facebook pages. (links in the footer)
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