Art · Erosion Bundles

Spring Erosion Bundle 2017 – Papers

Way back in early March I put an erosion bundle into the garden. What is an erosion bundle? Very simply, it’s a pile of papers and fabrics assembled in layers with lots if interesting things in between the layers that will leave marks or stains. You can use natural or man made things to create the stains or marks – the key is to experiment! The bundle is then tied with string and placed outside and left at the mercy of the elements till it’s suitably decayed, about 2 -3 months, but times can vary considerably.

So without any more waffle, here’s my results:

EB Paper 1 - NBEB Paper 2 - NBEB Paper 3 - NB

I worked on a blue and rust theme with this bundle. Sometimes the papers break up when trying to separate them but I keep all the fragments – everything will get used…

EB Paper 5 - NB

EB Paper 4 - NB

Above we have several layers of paper, paint, fabric and foil all completely fused together – there’s no way of separating them! But we have some lovely colours and textures…

EB Paper 6 - NBEB Paper 7 - NBEB Paper 11 - NB

I like putting paper doilies in my bundles but they are very delicate and rarely stay in one piece. On the one above you can see marks left from rusty washers…

EB Paper 8 - NB

Above we have several layers of paper, fabric and paint fused together by the elements. I think there’s a teabag in the layers somewhere – I can feel it but there’s no way of getting it out, it will have to stay there! Notice the lovely pastel colours and gentle rust and tea stains….

EB Paper 9 - NBEB Paper 10 - NB

In the piece above there are rusty washers stuck to the paper – I can’t get them off! The background paper was a piece of “test paper” I used for testing colours on before they go on my art work…

EB Paper 12 - NB

Beautiful shades of blue and hints of rust…

EB Paper 13 - NB

EB Paper 14 - NB

A question I’m frequently asked about my erosion bundles is “what are you going to do with these papers and fabrics?”. The answer: they will get used in mixed media art work and collage. But more specifically, my sister Carolyn and I are going to begin a new art project early next year and my erosion bundle papers and fabrics are going to be enormously useful for that. I will give more information about this new project later in the year – it’s exciting… !

I hope you enjoyed looking at my distressed papers. There will be a second post about my spring erosion bundle which will focus on the fabrics that came out of my spring erosion bundle – they are just lovely and inspiring….

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 14

Welcome to this weeks Surface Treatment Workshop. This week Carolyn and I are experimenting with skins. What are skins? Very simply, skins are created by putting a layer of acrylic medium on to a hard surface (eg. a plastic chopping board, plate etc.), letting it dry and then carefully peeling it off. For this to work the acrylic medium must be one that becomes rubbery and flexible when dry. I used Gloss Gel, Fiber Paste, acrylic paint and masking fluid.

Here are my samples:

Week 14 - Skins - 1 - NB

For the above sample I used Gloss Gel and simply embedded some small pieces of my own art work into it. I left all my skins for about 48 hours to make sure they were properly dry and set. I then glued them to a surface of vintage papers and collage…

Week 14 - Skins - 2 - NB

For this sample I used some watercolour masking fluid as it dries to a rubbery consistency. And notice the lovely yellowy brown colour of it – it adds an extra vintage touch…

Week 14 - Skins - 3 - NB

This skin was made from Golden Fiber Paste. I mixed some Prussian Blue acrylic paint into it before leaving it to dry. Fiber Paste is very flexible when dry and is therefore good for making skins. After glueing it to a collaged background I stuck two small pieces of my own art on top of it.

Week 14 - Skins - 4 - NB

The skin above is made of acrylic paint. I used a vintage pale blue (my own mix), Buff Titanium and white. I did reasonably thick swirls of the different colours and left them to dry. Acrylic paint has a lovely rubbery texture to it when dry…

Week 14 - Skins - 5 - NB

For this skin sample above I used Gloss Gel. I tinted it with some turquoise pearl mica and embedded a dried blue hydrangea flower into the gel….

Week 14 - Skins - 6 - NB

The above skin samples were done by putting a layer of Gloss Gel over a rusty piece of metal. The gel was slightly tricky to peel off – I had to very carefully loosen all the edges with my fingernails and pull it very slowly. I also added a touch of turquoise pearl mica to the gel for a little contrasting colour…

Week 14 - Skins - 7 - NB

Two more rusty skins…

Week 14 - Skins - 8 - NB

For my next skins I used more Fiber Paste:

Week 14 - Skins - 9 - NB

I smoothed a layer of Fiber Paste onto a plastic chopping board, which had a very fine texture to it, and left it to dry. When dry I cut two heart shapes out of the Fiber paste and painted them. When the paint had dried I glued them to vintage papers…

Week 14 - Skins - 10 - NB

So that is all my skin samples for this weeks Surface Treatment Workshop!

In conclusion I have to say that I quite like creating and using skins. They are a good way of adding a little bit of extra interest to a piece of mixed media art. You can create skins in advance and store them ready for future use. It’s also fun to experiment with embedding different things and tinting with with different mediums.

Next weeks Surface Treatment Workshop is about Pulled Papers. It’s a great technique and I’m looking forward to it…

Photography · Still Life · Textured

Paynes Grey Brushes

I made time for a little creative photography today….

Paynes Grey Brushes
Paynes Grey Brushes

I photographed some of my paint brushes on my desk in my little studio.

I used my 18 – 55 mm kit lens with my Canon EOS 7D. I processed the image in Photoshop. Very simply explained, I desaturated the image so that it was almost black and white but not quite. Then I added two layers of one of my own textures. Finally I sharpened the image and saved it. Done.

I love how the texture layers have given the brush handles a lovely marbled look….

Art · Watercolour

A Rainy Day In Scotland

Rainy Day In Scotland - NB
A RAINY DAY IN SCOTLAND

A wet in wet watercolour sketch on 140 lb hot pressed watercolour paper. The majority of this sketch is done with Paynes Grey, with just very tiny hints of Sepia and Prussian Blue. This took me about 15 minutes.

When it rains in Scotland the mountains very quickly blur into the clouds and mist and they still look beautiful. This sketch, my abstract rendition of rain on the mountains, will be stuck into my watercolour sketchbook…

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

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…

Art · Macro Magic · Photography · Surface Treatment Workshop

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…

Art · Sketchbooks · Watercolour

Colour Study

I’ve started to create a series of colour charts in a sketch book I’ve set aside especially for the purpose. I’ve done this purely for my own personal benefit so that I have a reference guide I can refer to when creating art. They help me decide what colours and shades I want to use when planning my work and they give me an idea of which colours I need to mix get get the desired results.

Colour Chart 1 - RN

I’ve done about 12 of these charts so far and I have made myself use colours that I don’t generally tend to go for as well as my favourites – so I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone a little. I’ve found it a really interesting exercise – some colours have reacted quite differently to how I expected. I’ve used just watercolours so far but in time I will move on to some acrylics as well.

I find it inspiring to see the variety of colours all on one page – it makes it easy to see what colours work well together. It’s inspired me to use different colours, tints and shades I might not otherwise have considered.

Most of all though, creating these colour charts has been GREAT FUN!! I find it enormously relaxing and therapeutic!