Sunday, 30 December 2012

Alphabetica Y - layered paint tutorial

About 5 years ago I took a class 
with Ann Baldwin at Art & Soul, in Portland. Ann has been moving from painting to photography, and her photography is interesting but I prefer her paintings. Perhaps when she's been doing photography for as long as she's been painting, I'll like the photography as much as I like the painting!

Ann paints beautiful paintings by layering acrylics - sometimes 45 or more layers. She adds texture by adding papers and other media and textured elements between the layers. I decided on a simple version of what I learnt for Y.

I took some scrap cardboard, and painted in with a thin layer of gesso. 

I gave it a second thin coat.

I got out some gloss gel medium, and a palette knife

Once I'd coated the card with gel medium, I added texture with cookie cutters, a rubber stamp, the wrong end of a pencil and a mini mister cap.

I let it dry.  You can only tell if it's dry by touching it.

I got my paints out - these, and every yellow I have. I love these paints, the colour is still strong, even when thinned with water, or applied in thin layers.

Using my brightest yellow, I painted the hearts. This may look a bit like fried eggs at the moment but it will improve, honest!

I gave it a coat of Nickel Azo Yellow. Transparent colours are best for this technique, but you apply the paint so thinly that you can get away with less a transparent layer every now and then.

I gave it a coat of Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide..

I took my paintbrush and went around the hearts with a thin layer of Yellow Ochre. This was still a very thin layer of paint, but I added some uneven-ness by painting some areas more than once.

I added a touch of red for contrast - I made a mask then stamped each heart with a dotty stamp and red Stazon.

Doesn't look like fried eggs any more, I'm starting to like it now.

Next, I stamped some words over the spots - big improvement - and then painted some of the circles with Iridescent Bronze. This is very bright, but it will mellow when there are some layers of transparent paint on top.

I added a layer of Nickel Azo Yellow. See how those bronze circles have warmed up?

Another layer of Nickel Azo Yellow. I like this - it could get much richer with more layers and the introduction of other colours, but this peice has to be Y for Yellow, so I'd better stop. There are about 10 layers of paint here.

The back, though, well that's another matter.  I'd done everything so far (apart from the red spots)  to another piece of card to be the back of the piece.

I added layers of Nickel Azo Gold, Transparent Burnt Orange, and Transparent Iron Oxide Red.  I painted some of the gold hearts with Turquoise, very thinly. I layered in Iridescent bronze at different points so there would be different colours of gold in the piece. It looks like rich leather.

This is similar, but more deep colours added - about 17 layers of paint here.

You can make it brighter, depending on which colours you use.  Somewhere in the middle of this, there was a Turquoise layer, which turned the yellowy areas green, and the reddish areas slightly greeny browny.

This is a really easy technique which produces really rich surfaces with lots of depth and deep shine.  The trick is just to have patience, and take the time to paint many layers but keep the layers really thin, and to make sure each layer is completely dry before adding the next (use a heat gun if you're as impatient as me!).

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Alphabetica U & V

This month's Alphabetica pages relied heavily on Golden fluid acrylic paints and embossing folders put through the Wizard...

U is for Umber, embossed with 2 different embossing folders (Cuttlebug, Tim Holtz) painted with a couple of coats of Golden fluid acrylic raw umber, and the word 'umber' drawn with a Viva Pearl pen. The little circle is just a couple of layers of card, run through and embossing folder and painted.

The back of the card is done in the same way, but using burnt umber paint, somehow it always surprises me that burnt umber is lighter and richer than raw umber, I always imagine burnt things to be darker and greyer...

V is for violet was a bit more fun, I used a brocade embossing folder and Golden quinacridone violet.  This looks more like fuchsia or cerise to me than Violet, but they are a professional paint company and who am I to argue? The flower is organza, which I cut into circles, then cut towards the centres and held over a candle to make the 'petals', before attaching with a gold brad. The lettering is done with gold Stickles.

The back of V is Viridian. I like Viridian, it is very close to Teal/Turquoise, which is my favourite colour (you may have noticed this!). Same techniques as U & Violet. I was really tempted to add a little Treasure Gold to the high points, but then they wouldn't have been pure colours....

Friday, 28 December 2012

Metal ATCs

For this swap, I needed to make 3 ATCs which featured metal. 

I decided to use metal tape, but to add image and texture by putting peel offs onto the card bases before applying the metal tape.  I also used Dyna tape labels for the words.

This is the first stage:

This is the next stage:

The first ATC is coloured with alcohol inks - butterscotch and lettuce with a touch of pesto.  I applied them all separately, but they pretty much mingled into one colour.  I added some more to mottle them, but it just blended, so I took the hint and left them alone!

The second ATC - 'oak' - was painted with several colours and coats of Pebeo glass paint, sanded with a fine sanding block, then overstamped with a tiny oak leaf in Brilliance Coffeebean ink. I wasn't thrilled with the outcome so put it to one side for a while.

I added some alcohol inks and felt it had improved.

The distressed damsel was also peel offs under metal tape, but this time I added a second layer of metal tape, and trapped a chipboard frame and image between the layers. I then painted the metal tape with Stewart Gill Byzantium paints, then sanded it down, and added a little Treasure Gold here and there, then sanded again to make the high points more prominent.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

12 days of Christmas presents

Each year on the UK Art Swaps group, we run a '12 Days of Christmas' swap, where each player makes 12 small gifts, wraps and sends them to 'Mother Santa', who swaps them out and sends a set of 12 gifts to each player.

Some of us start opening one present a day from 12th December onwards, some wait until Xmas Day to open them all, and some probably open them all the moment the package arrives!

The hardest part of the swap is deciding what to make.  It needs to be reasonably small, and light, so that the postage doesn't cost too much. The cost of making the gifts is also a factor because when you're making 12 of something the costs can mount up quite quickly.

This year I decided to make some brooches.  I used some recycled wool fabric for the base, and needlefelted wool rovings onto both sides, to make a fairly sturdy felted fabric. 

I cut leaf shapes from this felt base, and machine sewed velvet leaf shapes onto them.  I used variegated Perle thread in my bottom bobbin to sew round the edges of the velvet, and the leaf 'veins'.

I sewed around each brooch a few times using metallic thread, so that each brooch has a subtle hint of glimmer.

To finish the brooches off, I got out my needles and thread and hand sewed french knots and beads to the fronts, and brooch backs to the backs.

I hope the recipients like them!

A closer view.

Friday, 7 December 2012

My rusty heart ATC

This month's ATC theme was 'rust'. 

I decided my neglected heart is getting rusty, and thought I'd interpret that in the ATC.

The background is cardboard painted with Modern Options iron surfacer, left for 12 hours then painted with  Modern Options rust solution.  It didn't get rusty enough, so I gave it another coat of the rust solution a few hours later.

Somewhere on my travels, I bought a small roll of rusty mesh, I added strips of this, held in place with some brown heart brads.

The heart is card, embossed in a cuttlebug folder, then painted with Golden micaceous iron oxide mixed with some  umber, red and orange fluid acrylic paints.  This gave it the colour I wanted, but the texture was a bit too fine and wasn't rusty enough, so I added Distress embossing powder to the high points.

The heart is adhered onto the background with some little sticky foam pads, to give it a little depth.

I really like this one. Glad I get to keep one.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ancient stash tags

I made 3 tags for a swap.  

The swap rules were that 'ancient stash' (anything you've had and not used for more than a year) had to be used to make the tags.

I dug out my Modern Options patinating solutions. I wasn't even sure if they would still work, I haven't used them for a couple of years.  I painted one tag with the 'blackened bronze' base, another with the 'blonde bronze' base, and the third with the 'iron' base. I also painted some card offcuts with the copper base.

I painted the bronze and copper bases with the green patina liquid while they were still tacky, and left the iron base to dry overnight before painting it with the rust liquid.

The results were a little patchy - but they often are if you don't get the timings right - so I gave the rusty one another coat, and redid the blackened bronze and green patina one.

Once dry, I ran each tag through the Wizard in two different embossing folders, and highlighted the raised areas with Brilliance ink

I stamped and embossed architectural images down the centre of each patinated offcut of card, and attached these to the tags with brads. I wrapped some metallic thread around the non-embossed 'stripe' I'd left on each tag, and added some air-dry clay embellishments I had made a couple of years ago. I added a touch of Treasure Gold to the embellishments, in colours which toned with the tags. Finally, I threaded and knotted a selection of fibres to the tags to finish them off.

I'd forgotten how lovely the patina solutions make cardboard, I should probably go and paint lots of pieces of card for my stash, to use these liquids up before they lose their potency.

Hope the recipient likes the tags as much as I do, these were a little hard to let go!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Fabric ATCs

I made these for the small international ATC swaps group I belong to.  

September's theme was 'woven', and this is my interpretation.

I used Ranger Adirondack color wash sprays to dye pelmet vilene, before cutting it up and weaving it together. I hand embroidered a 'darned/woven' area, and added small pieces of pelmet vilene with the words stamped on them.  To finish, I cut two circles of card and used a brad to attach them.

October's theme was 'fabric & fibres' and this is my interpretation.

I needlefelted scrim to a wool fabric base, then needlefelted some wool rovings to the back to bring subtle colour through to the front. I couched down some knitting yarn with Perle thread, and added a line of stitches in fine gold metallic thread.  I used toning and contrasting threads for the french knots and seed stitches, before  finishing the ATCs by backing them onto pelmet vilene with machine zigzag.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Another great Celyn Textiles class

I have really enjoyed myself yesterday evening and all day today, learning how to dye fabric, transfer designs onto fabric panels, use perle thread in the bottom of my sewing machine, and sew organza onto wood.  And one day I may even finish my wall hanging!

The class, taught by Sheila, was called 'Twisted', and this is the sample Sheila brought to show us.  The corduroy fabric used for the base, and the scrim embellished to it were hand dyed using procion dyes.

We soaked our fabrics in a mixture of water, baking soda and ash, wrung them dry, then squirted the fabric with various colours of dye (made from procion dye powder mixed with urea).  The fabrics dried overnight, and then we started working on them.  The image below is the back of my panel, and I drew the design for my panel on the back with an ordinary rollerball pen.  I forgot that the design would come out like a mirror image on the front, I wish I'd remembered to reverse it when I drew it!

We then cut the dyed gauze/scrim into pieces, made holes in it, distorted it and generally made it shabby before using the embellishing machine to adhere it to the corduroy.

Once the scrim was in place, we 'drew' our designs with machine stitching.

The next step will be to fill in all the motifs with machine embroidery, but I had forgotten to take my free motion embroidery foot with me so I had to skip that step!

Sheila had the fantastic idea of using florist 'canes' (balsa wood?) as a 'frame' for leaves and shapes made from organza.  

I had a great time in the class, and hope to finish this panel - I'll post a pic when I do.  Meanwhile, the other class members were generous enough to let me take pictures of their half finished pieces to share here, so you can see the variety of pieces which will spring from this class. Don't forget that you can enlarge an image by clicking on it.

Lovely birdie, beautiful colours....

Fabulous colour contrast...

Autumnal rusty shades and beautifully embroidered flowers....

A fishy business...

Variegated threads....

And fabulous free motion work with gold thread.....

Great class with a great bunch of women - and I'm looking forward to the next class in January!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Alphabetica T

T is for texture - always!

This postcard was easy, one side is just a selection of Golden pastes and mediums - crackle paste, fibre paste, moulding paste, garnet gel, glass ball gel, a gel with small gold mica flakes in it.  I inscribed the word 'texture' into the moulding paste, waited for it all to dry, then added a coat of azo nickle gold fluid acrylic paint, and rubbed it around with a baby wipe to thin it out, spread it round, and remove brush marks.

The second side involved metal tape.  I love this stuff - made from aluminium in various widths, with a sticky back.  It's made for builders to use on pipes and roofs, I think.

I stuck several pieces of tape onto the card, about 3 layers in all.  I created some 'rivet' marks on the left, just poking it with a pencil, and wrote the title of the page in the bottom left corenr.  I ran the whole thing through the Wizard embossing machine, using a Tim Holtz embossing folder, the dabbed it all over with Stream alcohol ink (Ranger brand). 



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