Friday, February 15, 2013

How to cut Silhouettes for Decorations

by Silhouette Artist Cindi Rose
                There are many ways to cut a silhouette.  One is to buy a book from Dover, and see templates of trains, cars, animals, birds, Valentine’s, and people.  Make copies of these pages, and then practice. When you think you are good you can buy paper from HyGloss on-line. It is black on one side and white on the other.  You cut on the white side, so that the black side is protected.
Another is to use Rice Paper and to put it in a large stack.  Get an Oriental template from your favorite craft shop, and an exactor knife.  Cut out the tiny shapes. Silhouette profiles  can be carved large as school teachers do.  This is the most amateur style. Normally, it is done with black construction paper which is taped on a wall where you think the subject’s face will be.  Have the person in front of the paper with the side profile shinning on the paper.  Try to follow the shadow, which will be off-since a shadow is never exactly how someone looks.  Next get any scissors, to cut art in the shape of the profile.  After this use school paste—deleted some and paste it to a white background.  It won’t be beautiful like the miniature silhouettes that are prized by historians, as those were done by portrait artists who could also draw with scissors.  However, if you make this yourself, it can be a nice way to remember a wonderful moment, and a good way to make a home project, and art décor as a novice.
                Silhouettes can be pasted with dry bond, spray mount, glue stick, sticky tabs, Elmer’s acid-free glue, or wheat paper paste.  Each glue requires clean up, but you can watch artists such as Cindi H Rose, glue on-line.  I use spray mount, and put the white side of the silhouette on a piece of paper, and lightly spray the back of the silhouette.  Then, I place it on the cardstock. Normally I like the card stock to be 5 x 7, when I splurge it is Crane’s.  At Disneyland, I use wheat paste, putting it in a bucket, taking a paintbrush to brush it on the paper, then mounting the white side of the silhouette so the black side is up. Then I take blank newsprint (or the type of paper that covers toilet seats) to wipe up the excess glue.  I must note to you, this often has the added feature, of giving the paper an antique color, that makes it appear older than it may be, a vintage or antique look, from the paste reacting with the paper.  I do recommend you use acid free paper and glue, as well as artist’s prepositional glue.

                Today you can take a photo and blacken in the face with a Sharpie marker or on the computer in Photoshop to make a silhouette.  Very few people can do the actual art of looking at someone and merely cutting the profile, which is the highest level of silhouette art portraits.  As an artist who has hand-cut silhouettes 40 years, I always feel there are only around 38 real silhouette artists in the world, and maybe only 8 great ones. There are many wonderful silhouette artists in America and London, and the premier ones appear to be on the front page of the net, when you type in the words, “Silhouette artists”.  Some have made books to buy and you can check for Kathryn Flocken’s book, it is the best ever written. You can also put your cut silhouettes in miniature, from reducing them on your printer, and glue them on the outside of glass candle holders from a dramatic look.

                You can also copy a profile photo with tracing paper, and cut that out, or trace someone’s profile from your computer and place that on the top of black paper, then cut it out.  Most of these methods make great craft ideas, but are not real silhouettes.  To find a real silhouette artist, google, bing, or yahoo the words, authentic silhouette artist, you want one that actually does this lost art by looking.  The price can be $20 to $100. Many such as take e-mail orders and have a great Etsy shop run by silhouette artist, Kathryn Flocken.  You can check out Silhouette sisters, Kathryn and Cindi to get the best examples of detailed, unique, silhouettes. Paper- cutting.  View  The Guild of American Papercutters and Peggy McClard antique silhouette gallery, to purchase wonderful books and silhouettes.  To hire a silhouette artist, go to Gigmasters, some may give lessons, although I found it impossible to teach, unless the person was a master of portrait art.
                I fell upon silhouette cutting, after being hired as a portrait artist.  The smoothness of etching a profile with scissors amazes me.  I have seen people use good barber scissors, craft scissors, and surgical scissors.  The most important part is to cut with the interior of the scissors, not the tip or outer blade.  Wrapping paper is a great medium to start your cutting crafts, until you want to invest in expensive Hygloss real silhouette paper.  You should use oval mats or oval frames to showcase your cut arts!
                If you want to watch me in action on a tutorial go to YouTube to “How to Cut a silhouette 101” and also to my video “Wedding Wonderful Silhouettes”.  I also have a website, that you can view, and if you join silhouettesbyCindiHarwoodRoseFacebook, you can ask me any questions, you may have.  Make sure to give most people the eyelash, they usually love that.  Happy cutting to you from silhouette artist Cindi Rose.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Décor alert: Silhouette artwork makes bold statements

Décor alert: Silhouette artwork makes bold statements
                A single use of color creates drama, and when master silhouette artist, Cindi Harwood Rose, designed a black, cream, and white space, she immediately thought that classic silhouettes would be a  sylish element.
“I chose the idea that black and white combines all colors and none of the colors, at the same time, depending if you were using the theory of light or opaqueness.  It is the yin/yang of life—opposites that cry neither
good or evil, just existing side by side.   A great room, creates thought, and with a shock of color, here and there, one awakens extraordinary feelings of awe, “ the scissors artist states.   The playful silhouettes by Cindi span over 30 years-- there is a cowboy created from her former Disneyland silhouette art days, a reverse white on black denying steriotypes, and  silhouettes of animals, children, and family groupings. C. H. Rose, even empowered some of the silhouettes with her penmenship and humor.   McKenzie-Childs funky black and white serving patterns tease Rose’s whimsical detailed artwork. The room boldly states the French/American chic-style, recalling the fact that life should be lived to the fullest!   To add a lively professional silhouette wall, just contact or

Friday, February 8, 2013

Silhouette Art by Master Silhouette Artist Cindi Harwood Rose

Silhouette Art by Master Silhouette Artist Cindi Harwood Rose

                Classically, the solid form of an object, or the contour of a recognizable form, filled in with opaque color is often called a silhouette.  We normally think of this shape as a shadow- like form.  However, when one looks up what a shadow is, it is a distortion from blocked light.  When an individual looks at his own shadow, or one of another person, it rarely really looks like them.  Jung said the shadow was the ego, however, he was not referring
to the visual shadow, but to the debris of the mind.
                As a natural artist, who discovered the fine art of hand-cutting silhouettes from sight, by accident, I have contemplated why silhouette artistry, once called shades of the past, is as popular hundreds of years ago as it is today. I also know why this art can’t be taught, it is very difficult to master, and the artist really needs to be born with this talent.   I have discussed this topic with international renown silhouette art historian and collector, Peggy McClard, who has the best history of silhouette art on-line.   She is fascinated with the lives silhouette artists have led, and what compels them to do this unique art, when all of them are accomplished fine artists, who can paint and sculpt on a professional level.  When an accomplished silhouette artist is asked this question, they can’t explain the magic they feel when performing the art. It is quick, and it connects them with others. One of the great silhouette artists explained that water coloring was calming, and oil painting was sensual, but silhouette art in the authentic manner of viewing a person or object, and merely directly cutting or carving a likeness from thin black paper, was empowering. This rings true for my soul as well. The work of silhouette cutting, still amazes me, and delights others at many events that I do my work, regardless if it is for royalty, or a peasant, life comes out from my hand-cut artworks.  This silhouette work is in demand at business events, gifting suites, premiers, weddings, gift and children’s stores, and for fund-raisers for schools and non-profits.
                Since I was almost 16, I stumbled upon this lost art at an amusement park, where I had been hired to do watercolor and pastel portraits.  I had always felt “different” and could not stop drawing or trying to model people and objects from clay since a child.  The quiet time, made me happy.  When I drew portraits it took quite a long time, and normally, no artist is 100 percent satisfied with their works, which was my case.  Other people would rave about my art, but I always felt it was not complete.
                I remember a school teacher at 8, took a projector, and traced my shadow on to crude construction paper, and then cut it out, and it was awful!  I also noticed that most of her children she cut out looked a bit crude, and had odd expressions, such as an open mouth, and a little double chin.  My mother, a superb artist, threw it away, and I was glad. However, when I saw the sophisticated man in the amusement park that I was to do portraits in, look at someone and just cut out their exact likeness in a few minutes, I asked the art manager, to let me try.  He actually laughed, since he had 27 portrait artists employed, but had to fly this silhouette artist in from Paris, since good silhouette artists are scarce.  At my first attempt, the park manager, exclaimed it was extraordinary—for some reason, it was spot-on.  He immediately fired the other artist, and told me I was to be the silhouette artist.  Then on, the shy person I was, felt a passion in life.  Black and white became yin/yang, it was all about light, and happiness.
                Forty years later, I still adore doing silhouette paper profiles.  Cut art, Paper cutting, feature carving, psychic physiognomy profile snips, all are ways to describe what being a master silhouette artist means to me.  When I am next to a person, I go inside them for a minute, to decide where they are going in their lives, how to interpret them as more than their features, and then incorporate this into my silhouette of them.  Some of my works are simple, some complex. I was also told that the word, master silhouette artist, refers to any real silhouette artist, who has worked at least one year, and has the ability to earn a living with the art.
It is also noted, that many of the few living silhouette artists (usually no more than 38 in the entire world at a given time) do old-fashioned work, or can’t do groupings, or can’t do interior details, some do trite work.  All, however, find great satisfaction, in preserving a lost art, and giving people heirlooms and keepsakes to last generations to come.  For more information contact Peggy McClard and purchase Mrs. E. Nevill Jackson’s book, Silhouettes, A History and Dictionary of Artists or British Silhouette Artists and their Work by Sue McKechnic. There is a world of information on the history of silhouettes and silhouette artists at and SilhouettesbyCindiblogspot.