I have done this project a few times, with 5ths, and it is always a memorable success. Usually connect to positive/negative space, and Henry Moore, Brancusi, Barbara Hepworth and Jean Arp.
I've used two hangers in one base, but the forms tended to be more closed. I wonder if two hangers mounted a bit further apart might work better for more open and interesting negative space.
I've let the gesso or the first coats of paint set, then trimmed the extra hosery, letting the inevitable gesso gobs 'glue' in a bit of hose, which helps it stay tucked underneath the block.
For painting, I've had great success with metalic Jazz paints for a great cast metal look, but the best painting resulted from sponged and dry brushed patinas applied over a solid base color in analogous color schemes or complementary color schemes.
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