EspressoDude wrote:random thought: where, what, who created that? looks like Mexican or Phillipine hand carved mahogany or monkey-pod. The carvers did not do much in the way of finish work and probably carved the wood somewhat green/wet. A problem with PI carvings brought back to the states was cracking due to drying and shrinkage. That would mean that the wood was somewhat wet when painted white with inexpensive paint. The brown tones in the paint would be tannins from the wood sucked/leached into the paint over time. This will not happen with oil base paints. suggest cheap latex, not whitewash. try on scraps, possibly wet the wood first. Thin coat, possibly off white first then lighter then sand partway through the lighter colored top coat.
This makes a whole lot of sense to me.
The beastie belongs to some friends. They (or at least he) seemed to think it was a very old antique. One look at what really goes on with the paint wiped that idea right out for me.... but I haven't the heart to point out the obviously intentional distressing -- on the ear at least. On the body, the paint has "crackled" and the wood separated. To my mind it's the state of the body that made them (or at least him) think that it was very old. I don't think he's ever looked upclose and personal at the ear he gave me. She may have - hence her differing view. (fact is tho that she just loves him too damned much to make him sad over so little)
My original thought was that it came from Bali. The ONLY thing I'm basing that on is the wood itself - which is extremely light, as much of my Balinese stuff is. The style is anything BUT Balinese. The painting is uninspired and uniform.
I think that your hypothesis is probably spot on about the tannin bleeding.
Which brings us to Figjam's latest obviousity (a word I've made up JUST to refer to Figjamisms) that the new ear being of a different wood couldn't possibly give me the proper result where leaching is a necessity.
The grain is similar. The colours within the elements of the grain are not. Balsa is pretty pale throughout. Whatever was used appears to have dark spots within.
So I'm thinking.... perhaps Mojo's "reverse" technique, using some of the most appropriately hued earthpowder rubbed hard into the grain then sanded off, hopefully leaving the soft spots impregnated the darker colour before restaining and applying (and removing) layers of cheap ivory paint and highlights of a brighter white... and finishing the oeuvre with a light dusting of playa dust.
(gotta get that playa dust in there. Madame was the one my husband invited to burning man in my stead last year, but ended up having to decline to care for her mother (who passed shortly after). Now she's battling a pretty horrendous bout of cancer and this year is most likely out for her as well. This might be the closest she ever gets to the playa)
Anyhow, lots to go on now. I'm feeling somewhat empowered (Thank you, Thank you, Thank you). Knowledge enough to experiment with is a VERY good start!