"I begin with an idea ... and then it becomes something else"
~ Picasso

Friday, 24 March 2017

Surface Treatment Workshop - week 6

it's been a misty mizzly week in Mousehole with not much colour to cheer
and I've been stuck indoors all week with a really bad cold

so it was good to get out today for a short walk
and discover some beautiful blues and rusts


and they do say that, sometimes, you just have to create your own sunshine
or really search for those bright colours that cheer ...


this week I enjoyed working with a bit more colour in my
faux encaustic samples for The Surface Treatment Workshop

for a long time now I have  loved  using wax in my textile work and collages
and have playfully experimented with it for over 10 years now
dipping papers, photos and fabrics in wax or applying it to collages and canvases
and I just love the look and feel of a waxy texture


every now and again I have sessions where I wax papers and fabrics
so they are translucent, fragile and ready to use in a textile piece

so I was looking forward to having a play with the faux encaustic technique
using gel mediums, acrylics and inks

below you can see how the mixture in my palette looks quite waxy

it's a pourable recipe of Golden gel medium,
turquoise acrylic ink and green acrylic paint

this technique is all in the layering up of encaustic recipe, papers and embedded objects
several ... three ... four ... five layers ...
the thicker the medium the more waxy it looks

I used an old vintage black and white photo, one of my St. Ives photos
lots of text, pre-rusted tissue papers, corrugated card and sewing paper
I also used some wax from some ceramic tiles and some of my waxed papers
smothered in really thick gel medium and there are several layers on these collages
but it was quite hard to photograph the actual waxy texture


it does look sort of waxy?


what I do like about the gel medium is that
being translucent all of the layers can clearly be seen


still, after all that, I wasn't sure I liked the matt finish
so I used a glaze on top which enhanced all the colours and layers


then, I felt that some of these little collages would benefit
from adding some textile layers and stitch

I added some of my melted and textured textiles ... ready for little stitches
and flowers and leaves pressed from my garden embedded in the faux encaustic


this is a collage I layered up ...


which I then cut into four pieces ...



you can see I've pinned on some blue silk and a little cottage ...



I will have these finished up in no time and show in my Sunday snippets post

my conclusion is that this technique has a lot of potential
and it's good to get the process under my belt ... but
I probably do prefer the proper encaustic look of using coloured wax
and will experiment more with that at a later stage

if you would like to know more about these surface techniques and products
you can find them in the book "The Surface Treatment Workshop"
by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson

and Evelyn's gorgeous samples are here

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Surface Treatment Workshop - week 5

it's been a busy week and I'm few days late posting this week's samples
but I've had a lot of fun with the crackle medium and crackle paste
and it was a real learning curve with mixed results and pleasant surprises

after clearing up in my studio last week ...
I came across a bottle of DecoArt Weathered Wood Crackling Medium
so, with no idea how many years I've had it or if it has a shelf life
I began sampling with that ...

I followed instructions to paint first then apply the crackle medium
a few minor bubbly textures appeared but on the whole nothing much
still, I discovered that the medium is great for creating a shiny glaze
which reflects the light and therefore adds a watery effect to my "beach streams" painting


next up ... another abstract painting with the crackle medium applied on top
for this one I waited till it was dry then zapped it with my heat gun to create some texture

areas of my painting bubbled up with the heat ... so I applied silver foil to the raised areas
overall I'm pleased with the finished effect even if it was not intended


still with the DecoArt crackle medium ...

for the next sample I applied the crackle medium first and painted into it while still wet
using a brush I mixed the colours directly on my base
then heated the sample with a heat gun and ironed on more silver foil

I was pleased with the effect of the paint in the medium
which runs together in a similar manner to when you paint into pva glue
and does vaguely resemble a "weathered wood" texture with a bit of imagination

the original sample is much more interesting than my photos do justice


the sample below is more DecoArt Crackle Medium

heated with a heat gun before painting which created this texture below
(showing it coloured after I had painted it)


and this is the sample after I had applied silver foil
(I do like a bit of bling on an otherwise matt surface)


it was useful to try DecoArt Crackle Medium applied very thinly on a pastel seascape
the effects were quite faint which is great if a more subtle result is sought


below is the last of my samples with the DecoArt Weathered Wood Crackling Medium

I painted this seascape with sunrise with acrylics on mount board
then applied the crackle medium really thickly on top and left for 24 hours


this does appear to have a more weathered wood look
so I guess this is how the medium should be applied
the instructions on the bottle were not that clear
as to how much to apply ... hence the experiments

it worked well on the waves which look choppy with small  "white horses"
and on the white/blue sky too (below)


the following samples below are with Golden Gel Mediums Crackle Paste
experimenting with different thicknesses of paste and applying with a brush and palette knife

the first thing I discovered was how patient you have to be waiting for the stuff to crack up
these samples were left drying out several days


the second thing I discovered was that the size and depth of the cracks
depend very much on how thickly the paste is applied

I felt I got much better results when the paste was applied with a palette knife versus a brush
perhaps because I favour a knife over a brush for acrylics anyway
and because I don't really like seeing brush strokes in the paste


the third thing I discovered is that paint just sinks into the cracks to the base layer
and therefore any depth of colour needs to be built up in several layers / applications


below ... adding another layer of watery acrylics


this is how it looks when dry (below) ...
you can see the depth of colour pales as it dries

overall I'm pleased with the crackle textures
but didn't really like the chalky feel of the surface
so I also experimented with different clear glazes on my sketchbook samples
trying Golden fluid matte medium, pva glue and the DecoArt Crackle Medium


I ran out of time for any more samples this week
as I've had to get some collages ready for faux encaustic (week 6)
but I may work some more crackle samples later with more intense colour and glazes
and it's good to try every angle of a material

my sister had some great results with the crackle paste this week
you can visit here if you would like see Evelyn's samples


also this week I've been working some more on my St. Ives stitched collage
securing the fabrics with stab stitches and playing with the composition


since I took these photos I've stitched down the cottages
secured the rusted fabrics (which I found on the harbour beach)
and attached the shells, seaweed and vintage button

I was pleased with how the rusted orange lifted the neutral colours

it's coming along ...

I'll be back on Wednesday with The Surface Treatment Workshop
in week 6 we are exploring faux encaustic techniques which is rather exciting!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

end of winter textiles and paintings

this week began with some most welcome sunshine
a few hours in the garden weeding and pruning the hydrangeas
and picking spring flowers for pressing


I love moments amongst the flowers in my garden
the fresh air, sea breeze and time to really think and reflect on important matters
and valuable time to regain perspective

last year I started keeping a flower diary
a note of what was newly flowering or coming to it's end of life
and "what to do" in  my  garden throughout the year


I enjoy plants that come up every year of their own volition
that naturally find their way to my little plot
a happy mix of wild and cultivated

I'm quite happy when a profusion of forget me nots, wild garlic and hyacinths
sit happily next to the bulbs and shrubs I have intentionally planted

the delicate purple and yellow crocuses are finished now
they have a short but valuable life span
(I must make a note to press a few next year)


when I got down one of my heavy books from the shelf to press this year's flowers
I found this pressed cornflower from last year
faded ... but still holding it's blue in a subtle, beautiful way


I finished spring cleaning my studio
 (after recent building work caused dust to settle on everything despite using dust sheets)
I went at it thoroughly including going through boxes of artwork from college
and, finally, cutting up design boards and work that will now go in sketchbooks

I feel so much better for having a clean, tidy studio and space to work again
with areas where I can leave paintings to dry
and stitched work in progress ...
on Monday my lovely friend Jo came over to me for, what we call, a "crow day" 
we like to get together for sewing and professional development
work on new projects, techniques or try out new materials

Jo wanted to have a go at one of the techniques from Mandy Pattullo's book
so we chose to work on a small stitched collage

this is my calico base with selected fabrics placed on the top and pinned down

inspired by my view and recent weather I chose to use pale neutral tones
that remind me of Cornish winter skies, sea, mist and rain with a hint of pale blue

at this stage my sample looks a little like a mood board


I used a variety of soft linens, wools and some previously worked textile pieces
melted textiles that I hand painted and stitched with silver thread
and sand coloured frayed silk


melted textiles


the pieces are only pinned at present, but I have begun to stitch them down
and consider where to place found objects and embellishments


so I will continue on with the stitched collage as the week progresses


also on my work top this week ...
the crackle paste samples and some small paintings







these are inspired by end of winter landscapes and seascapes
recent misty weather in Mousehole and breezy St. Ives


thank you for visiting and have a lovely day ♥