Category Archives: Art

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 11

This weeks Surface Treatment Workshop is about using drawing grounds – ie. clear gesso, absorbent ground or pastel ground. Out of these three I only had clear gesso so that’s what I used. Drawing grounds are used to add tooth to an uneven surface like a collage that’s made up from glossy items and matte items, it kind of “evens” out the surface.

So I started this weeks workshop by collaging two thick pieces of paper. I then covered them with my drawing ground  – the clear gesso. I did actually mix my clear gesso with just a tiny bit of white gesso, just to very slightly tone down my collage a bit. I left it to dry. Then comes the interesting bit – what to put on top. The book gave only three prompts for this – add thin washes of colour, drawing on the surface or a combination of both. I did a combination of both…

Week 11 - Drawing Grounds - Fish - NB
Fish drawn & painted over clear gesso

On my first collage I decided I wanted to draw a fish. I don’t know why, I just did! So I did practice a couple of times on a separate piece of paper first and then drew my very simple fish above. I painted it over with watercolour paint but it looked a bit dull – I think that has to do with the clear gesso. It needed a bit of bling… so out came the pearl mica! I overlaid the watercolour with thin washes of complementary shades of pearl mica. You can click the images to view them larger…

Week 11 - Fish Macro - NB

Above is a macro view of the fish. You can see the shimmer of the pearl mica and also the texture of the clear gesso over my collage. I photographed this image using a 60mm macro lens at f/2.8 and made sure there was backlighting to get that lovely bokeh (the sparkly out of focus bit top and bottom)!

My second collage ended up like this:

Week 11 - Drawing Grounds - Portals - NB
Portals Into Another World

I didn’t have any clear idea of what I wanted to draw on this one but I like circles, so I started by drawing some circles. Then came some lines and then I filled in with some colour, which I overlaid with some washes of pearl mica. It ended up looking a little “other worldly” so I called it Portals Into Another World…

Here’s a couple of macro views:

Week 11 - Portals Macro - NB
“Portals”, a macro view

Above you can see the shimmer of the pearl mica and texture of the clear gesso.  Below is a fun macro shot just because I love bokeh and blur…

Week 11 - Portals Macro 2 - NB
“Portals”, a macro view

Both of my samples for this week measure 13 cm x 10 cm and I have stuck them into my dedicated STW sketchbook. As is often the case, both these samples look better in reality than they do photographed! My sister Carolyn should be posting her samples from last week and this week soon,  so please do pop over and have a look… ! In next week’s workshop we are using Metal Leaf – I’ve never used this before so I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it but I’m up for the challenge…

Seascapes & Landscapes

A collection of abstract watercolour seascapes and landscapes…

Landscape & Seascape Mosaic - nb

…. a little fun play with my watercolour paints…. playing with washes, water and colour….

The colours I used for the above were: Cerulean Blue, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Indigo, and Prussian Blue. These are going into my watercolour sketchbook to hopefully inspire future work…

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 9

Welcome to week 9 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This week my sister Carolyn and I are experimenting with Fiber Paste. We used Golden Fiber Paste – I couldn’t find any alternatives that claimed to have the same properties. I read through the prompts in the book decided I was going to begin with printing on fiber paste.

I used a cheap sheet of A5 copy paper and skimmed a very thin layer of fiber paste over it with a wet palette knife. I let it dry for a couple of hours and prepared 2 photos in Photoshop ready to print onto the fiber paste. Now, my printer has been a bit temperamental of late so I wasn’t too sure how it was going to react to having Fiber Paste put through it – I was fully prepared for a paper jam, print errors and that nasty little flashing red light on the front of the printer. But to my surprise fiber paste went through the printer fairly easily…

Week 9 - Fiber Paste - Mussels - NB
Mussels Print on Fiber Paste

Fiber paste has the feel and texture of hand made paper when it’s dry – it’s lovely! The prints printed out slightly softer and lighter in colour than they would had they been printed on photo paper. If you click the images to view them larger you can see the texture of the fiber paste through the prints.

Week 9 - Fiber Paste - Barnacles - NB
Barnacles Print on Fiber Paste

The fiber paste ended up making the cheap copy paper very strong and flexible once the paste had dried. It is a lovely surface to paint on, draw on or stitch into. I LOVE fiber paste and I’m very pleased with how my fiber paste prints turned out! This is how they appear in my STW Sketchbook:

Week 9 - Fiber Paste - Sketchbook 1 - NB
Fiber Paste Prints in Sketchbook

 Next I simply painted a watercolour wash over some fiber paste:

Week 9 - Fiber Paste - Watercolour 1 - NB

The watercolour paint has highlighted the texture of the fiber paste quite well but here’s a macro view for more detail:

Week 9 - Fiber Paste - Watercolour Macro - NB

You can really see the texture of the fiber paste in this image! Next I did another watercolour wash over fiber paste but this time I overlaid it with some pearl mica once the watercolour had dried:

Week 9 - Fiber Paste - Watercolour 2 - NB

And I also did a macro view too so you can really see the texture of the fiber paste in detail:

Week 9 - Fiber Paste - Watercolour Macro 2 - NB

In conclusion the end result of this weeks Surface Treatment Workshop is that I LOVE Golden Fiber Paste! I especially like printing on fiber paste. Once you’ve printed on fiber paste you can easily incorporate the fiber paste print into mixed media art, paint on it, draw on it, stitch into it – anything really!  I will be doing more fiber paste prints…

Carolyn should be posting all her workshop samples this week so please do pop over and have a look! Next weeks workshop is focusing on drawing grounds, so I need to get my drawing head on….

Woolalcombe Sands Watercolour

Woolacombe Bay Watercolour - NB

This is my very first ever watercolour seascape. It measures 15 cm x 11.5 cm and was painted on watercolour paper (140 lbs Cold Press). You can click the image to view larger. It’s a very simple seascape and loosely based on this image of Woolacombe Sands, North Devon:

Hazy Winter Beach - RN

I added a little more colour to my watercolour than what’s in the original image. I used just 3 colours – Cerulean Blue Hue, Indigo and Raw Sienna. When I took the photo the very bright hazy sunlight bleached most of the colour from the seascape.

As far as watercolour painting goes I am very much a beginner – very much to learn… ! I’ve always loved watercolour paint – I love the loose washes of colour that so readily mingle with each other, I love both the rich bold colours and the delicate pastel shades too and I love how the watercolour paint flows so effortlessly across the paper…

I have stuck my watercolour seascape into my dedicated watercolour sketchbook. And there will be more watercolour paintings in the future…

Macro Magic

When I photographed my samples for this weeks Surface Treatment Workshop I also did a few macro shots too which I decided to share…

Indigo & Turquoise Bokeh - NB

the peppercorns and sand…

Indigo Bokeh - NB

Sea Shell Bokeh 1 - NB

the crushed seashells and vegetable netting…

Art Bokeh - NB

I love macro photography ! All of these were taken with a Canon 60 mm macro lens at f/2.8 to achieve the maximum creative blur and bokeh…

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 7 & 10

This week for the Surface Treatment Workshop we are combining week 7 with week 10 as they both focus on gels and speciality gels respectively, variations of the same thing.

Last week I gathered some textured things for making my own speciality gels with. I gathered some black peppercorns and some sharp sand from my garage . This is what I did with them:

Week 7 & 10 - A Distant Shore - NB
A Distant Shore

In the sample above I used the black peppercorns in the top half, the “sea” part of the image and the sharp sand in the “sand” part of the image. I just laid a thickish layer of matt gel onto my surface and tipped the peppercorns and sand onto the gel. Then I just tipped off any excess. I let the gel dry and then coated the top of the textures surface with more matt gel. When the gel had dried I painted the suface – the sea is painted with indigo and touches of turquoise and the sand is painted with yellow ochre. The sand and peppercorns created some lovely surface texture and the matt gel over the top of them made the surface easy to paint.

Next a completely experimental piece! I had this idea in my head, I had no idea how it would turn out – it was either going to be very good or very bad. How did it turn out? Judge for yourself:

Week 7 & 10 - Turbulent Seas - NB
Turbulent Seas

For this sample I used a polythene label off a 4 pint plastic milk bottle. I stuck it to my surface with matt gel in a scrunched kind of way. I let the gel dry a bit first and then I blasted it with a heat gun till the plastic label crinkled and melted. I let it cool down then I coated the top with more matt gel. When that had dried I coated it with 2 coats of white acrylic paint to blot out the remaining writing and colour from the label. The texture created from the melted plastic is awesome. I used loose washes of watercolour paint in shades of Intense Blue and Emerald, when they mixed they created a lovely shade of turquoise. I finished this sample with a coat of gloss gel, which then served to fix the watercolour in place.

Week 7 & 10 - Ocean Wave - NB
Ocean Wave

Something else I gathered last week to use in these samples was some crushed seashells. Again I stuck them to my painted surface with matt gel. To be honest, they looked so lovely I didn’t have the heart to paint over them – I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! So all I did to them was coat them with gloss gel mixed with a little pearl mica (a shade called Diamond Dust) to give a little extra sparkle. You can see it catching the light in the images above and below…

Week 7 & 10 - Seascape - NB
Seascape

In the above sample you will also notice I also used some netting from a bag of veges! I stuck it down with matt gel. The photos above of the crushed seashell samples don’t really do them justice. The reality of them is so much better…

Week 7 & 10 - Pebbles - NB
Pebbles

For the above sample I used some black and some white organza, stuck it down with matt gel and melted it with a heat gun – it crinkled up lovely. I then covered it with more matt gel. When dry I finished with a coat of gloss gel mixed with pearl mica for the colour.

Click on any of the images to view them larger…

I really like using gels, they are so useful for so many things – too many to explore in this post. Gels will have a permanent home in my little work room. Next week the Surface Treatment Workshop focuses on Fiber Paste – it’s going to be interesting… !

Indigo & Rust

Denim & Rust - NB

At the weekend I decided to have a little play with some light blue denim and some bleach. I just love the wonderful shades of indigo blue that denim comes in – they’re all very different.

Also a new crop of rusty stuff is “developing” in my garden! The piece of rust above is one of four new pieces recently rusted. I also have a lovely collection of washers and nuts happily gaining a nice thick rusty coat in my garden at the moment….

Rusting Washers - NB

They’re not properly “cooked” yet – these washers will be in my garden for at least another week yet. I’m so looking forward to putting some of these into my erosion bundles and other art work when they’re done!

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 8

Welcome to week 8 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This week’s focus is on using gesso. Mostly gesso is just used to prime a surface before adding paint or other media but I decided to make more of a feature of it with my samples for this week…B & W Gesso - NB

In the above collage I painted four squares of gesso onto the paper – clockwise: dark grey, black, light grey and white. Then I simply added strips of vintage paper over the joins. I finished by putting four small squares of my own art work in each box. Very simple to do and a very simple design. I really like the neutral colours.

Neutral Striped Gesso - NB

Next I decided to have a play with some tinted gesso. Using one of my larger paint mixing trays I set about mixing white gesso with acrylic paint. I found you only needed very tiny amounts of paint to turn the white gesso into some lovely  pastel colours. In the sample above I used gesso tinted with sepia, indigo and just plain white gesso. Down the left side is a strip of fabric roses which I painted with indigo gesso.

Gesso Sketchbook 1 - NB

How both samples look in my sketchbook.

One of the prompts in the book was to stick objects items onto the surface and gesso over them. I decided to stick some vintage lace to my acrylic paper and gesso over them:

Vintage Lace & Gesso - NB

On the left side the lace is painted with Sepia gesso and the for the blue side I used Prussian Blue gesso overlaid with some white gesso to tone down the blue a little. For the next samples I decided to add some more colours to my paint tray – to the Sepia, Indigo and Prussian Blue I added Paynes Grey, Yellow Ochre and Turquoise….

Tinted Gesso Mosaic - NB

I used a large brush and a palette knife for the above samples. All the colours work really well together and the palette knife helped to create some lovely textures. This is how these samples look in my sketchbook:

Gesso Sketchbook 2 - NB

More tinted gesso samples:

Tinted Gesso 1 - NBTinted Gesso 2 - NB

The samples with stripes on I used some corrugated cardboard to stamp gesso onto my paper – stamping with gesso was one of the prompts in the book we’re working from. I also stuck some of the corrugated card I used into my sketchbook. This is how both these pages look in my sketchbook:

Gesso Sketchbook 3 - NB

I really enjoyed playing with gesso this week. I found my imagination ran overtime – I have so many other ideas for using gesso than what you see here but I just didn’t have time to explore them all this week. So I will have another play with gesso another time.

Just click on any of the images to view them larger…

Next week we are going to do Week 7 (which we missed out) and Week 10 together as they both focus on using acrylic gels – it’s going to be fun !

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 6

Week 6 of the Surface Treatment Workshop focuses on using a faux encaustic technique using acrylic  gels. Generally the idea is that you mix different acrylic gels mediums with water to thin them just a little and them mix them with wet paint on your art work surface. When it’s dry you do another layer, making sure each layer is different and adds something. Well, that’s the theory anyway!

Week 6 - Faux Encaustic - Seascape - NB

I tried the technique on the above painting, which is acrylic on paper and measures about 6″ x 6″. I followed the instructions to the letter, or so I thought, but it doesn’t really look how I know encaustic art should look. I guess if you look close enough it vaguely resembles encaustic in places. But anyway, encaustic looking or not, I like my little acrylic seascape. The gel medium has helped to create some lovely surface texture with the aid of a palette knife and brush. Well undeterred, I had another go with the faux encaustic stuff…

Week 6 - Faux Encaustic - Vintage Collage - NB

A vintage collage using papers from my erosion bundles. Now this is more encaustic looking than the last piece. I used a lot more gel and less paint, and I built the collage up in layers…

Week 6 - Faux Encaustic - Collage Seascape - NB

This is my final attempt with the faux encaustic mixture – a mixed media collage. Different items of the collage were embedded in different layers. Again, this sample is slightly more encaustic looking.

On the whole, my humble opinion is that if you want an encaustic look to your art then I think it’s best to make the necessary effort and do the real thing! You can create some lovely effects with acrylic gels but they are no subsitute for a genuine encaustic technique.

Next week we are skipping week 7 temporarily and moving straight on to week 8. We will be returning to week 7 at a later date. Week 8 is focusing on using gesso. I’m looking forward to doing creative things with gesso…

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 5

Well week 5 of the Surface Treatment Workshop has finally arrived! The focus for this week is crackle paste. I used Golden Crackle Paste and I have to say it is brilliant stuff! Using crackle paste is time consuming but worth the effort and a little patience!

Week 5 - Crackle Paste - Blues & Browns - NB

I did decide to go for some blues and brown colours – couldn’t resist! The above sample is on cardboard and will go in my sketchbook. Next are some closer views of the above sample:

Week 5 - Blues & Browns - detail 1 - NB

Week 5 - Blues & Browns - detail 2 - NB

Week 5 - Blues & Browns - detail 3 - NB

The crackle paste has a lovely texture to it as well as the cracking ability. I also opted for some blue and turquoise colours…

Week 5 - Crackle Paste - Blue & Turquoise - NB

… with a touch of ochre – I do love these colours. Next are some close up views:

Week 5 - Crackle Paste - Blue & Turquoise - detail 1 - NB

Week 5 - Crackle Paste - Blue & Turquoise - detail 2 - NB

Not only does it take time for the crackle paste to work, I also found it takes more time than I realized to paint the crackle paste too! You have to build up the colour in layers, lots of diluted washes of colour, letting each layer dry before adding another…

Week 5 - Crackle Paste - Crazy Paving - NBThe above sample I decided to call “Crazy Paving”. It is also on cardboard and will go in my dedicated Surface Treatment Workshop sketchbook.  Next some close up views:

Week 5 - Crackle Paste - Crazy Paving - detail 1 - NB

Week 5 - Crackle Paste - Crazy Paving - detail 2 - NB

Out of all the crackle paste samples I started with three are complete which I have posted here. Two are in progress but I haven’t decided what to do next with them so I’ll leave those for a while. And one other is not painted at all yet – I will finish it and add it to my sketchbook!

My sister Carolyn will be posting her samples for the Surface Treatment Workshop in a few days, please do pop over and have look! Next week the the Surface Treatment Workshop is focusing on a Faux Encaustic technique – this could be very interesting…