Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 17

Welcome to week 17 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This weeks workshop was focusing on using sponges and art foam. I used just sponges. They were just ordinary flat square washing up sponges you buy from the supermarket. I cut them into wavy shapes and stamped them onto painted backgrounds…

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 1 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 2 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 3 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 4 - NB

I created several layers of colour with my sponge shapes. It’s a very basic technique but it can create some lovely textures and patterns….

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 · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 13

Today sees a return to the Surface Treatment Workshop after a few weeks break for my holiday and time for me to recover from a rather unpleasant injury. Week 13 is about using pastes. I used Galeria Modelling Paste.  Here’s what I did with it…

Week 13 - Pastes - Collage 1 - NB

Pastes are very good for embedding objects into your art work. Above, after applying my paste (not too thinly) I pressed some papers, cardboard and some rusty washers into the paste. The washers were quite chunky and heavy but the paste did a great job of sticking them down. I then simply applied a thin wash of pale blue acrylic paint over the paste.

Week 13 - Pastes - Collage 2 - NB

In the above sample, after applying the paste I embedded some papers and then I used a number of different things to make marks in the paste around the paper. I used a round cardboard tube and some bubble wrap. When the paste was dry I painted over the paste with pale blue and turquoise paint and highlighted some of the marks in the paste with gel pens.

Week 13 - Pastes - Emboss 1 - NB

Pastes are very good for embossing patterns into. Above I applied my paste to some thick paper and then pressed some swirly shapes into the paste. When it had dried I painted the shapes with blue, gold and turquoise acrylic paint.

Below is another similar sample:

Week 13 - Pastes - Emboss 2 - NB

I simply applied a pale turquoise acrylic paint to this one. These shapes turned out quite well.

So then to sum up my findings for this weeks workshop I would say pastes are a very useful commodity to have among my art supplies. I don’t think I will be using huge amounts of it but it will come in handy on occasions and it is very easy to use – does what it says on the tin… ! As always, these samples will be stuck into my dedicated STW sketchbook!

Next weeks Surface Treatment Workshop is about skins – this could turn out quite interesting. Looking forward to it…

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 12

Week 12 of the Surface Treatment Workshop is all about Metal Leaf. This weeks’s major discovery for me is that I DON’T LIKE metal leaf… !! I’ve never used metal leaf before and probably never will again but it’s part of the workshop so I’ve done it and given it my best shot….

You can click the images to view them in more detail…

Week 12 - Metal Leaf - Gold Lace - NB
Gold Lace

Above is my first sample – metal leaf over some lace. This actually worked quite well. I stuck my lace to some thick paper with PVA glue, then applied more glue over the lace and applied my metal leaf over the lace. I carefully pushed the metal leaf into the lace thoroughly to make sure the pattern showed through.

For my next sample I applied glue through a home made stencil and then applied the metal leaf over the stenciled glue:

Week 12 - Metal Leaf - River of Gold - NB
Rivers of Gold

It kind of worked OK, you could see the pattern but the edges weren’t crisp – probably something to with my technique…. ! So I then collaged around the metal leaf with some of my left over art work from previous projects and blended in some oil pastels.

How both samples look in my sketchbook:

Week 11 Sketchbook - NB

Now, why didn’t I like metal leaf?? I’ll tell you:

Firstly, I discovered I had the same issues with metal leaf as I did with the aluminium foil (Week 3) – it’s difficult to apply colour to the shiny surface. Secondly it’s incredibly flimsy, delicate stuff to handle and use – it tears very easily. Thirdly,  it’s very “fly away” – when you rub your excess metal leaf off just breathing too closely makes the stuff fly every where. I’m going to be picking up metal leaf bits for weeks….

In conclusion then my final question is: why should I faff around with gold metal leaf when I can use gold acrylic paint instead? Gold acrylic paint is quicker, easier, and cheaper to use and the end result is the same….. ! Of course, this is just my personal observation and experience of metal leaf. It will not be featuring in my future art works…

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 · Surface Treatment Workshop

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….

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 · Surface Treatment Workshop

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… !

Macro Magic · Photography

Gathering Texture

I’ve been busy gathering some textured stuff for this weeks Surface Treatment Workshop

Sharp Sand - NB

I had some sharp sand in the garage left over from a garden project. Above is a macro view – just look at all those lovely colours…  how they complement each other so perfectly…. yellows, browns, beige, cream, grey….

Black Peppercorns - NB

Black Peppercorns - Macro - NB

I got some black peppercorns and crushed them in a pestle and mortar – I think they could create some lovely texture…

Crushed Mussel Shells 1 - NB

I also found out some broken mussel shells I’d collected from the beach. Notice those blue and brown colours creeping in…. I love them! They’re seaside colours… !

Crushed Mussel Shells 2 - NB

Macro views of the broken mussel shells – yellow ochre, burnt sienna and indigo blue colours with touches of grey…

Crushed Mussel Shells 3 - NB

These three things (sand, peppercorns and mussel shells) are going to be incorporated into my Surface Treatment Workshop samples for this week. I love macro photography – it gives you a whole new world to explore….