Saturday, March 29, 2008

Background tutorial

This is my favourite background technique ever! I use it for almost everything, these days. (Almost. It doesn't work very well on canvas...)

Materials needed:
hot press watercolour paper (I use Fabriano Artistico 200lb)
fluid acrylics in a variety of colours

1. Paint a small patch of gesso onto the watercolour paper. I usually do a 2"x2"square or triangle. Use enough gesso that it won't dry immediately, but don't put it on too thick, either. The good old trial-and-error method will show you how much is too much.

2. Lay the newspaper over the painted patch, and rub gently to ensure full contact with the gesso. Leave in place for a slow count of 10-15. Again, trial and error will show you how much time you need.

3.Slowly peel back the newspaper. If you've done it right, you will see a mirror-image of the text left behind on the gesso.

If you've inadvertently left the newspaper on too long, some of the paper may be left adhering to the gesso when you pull the newspaper back. This is not a problem. It absorbs the paint differently than the rest of it, and looks interesting. Remember, there are no mistakes here, only opportunities :)

4. Repeat the above steps til the entire surface is covered with print/gesso. Remember to rotate the newspaper each time for visual interest. Also, try to use various sizes of fonts (headlines or ads, for example). Pictures usually look interesting too.

Let it dry for a while (although, if it's still damp in spots when you start painting, that gives an interesting effect too...)

5. Time to get out the paints. For this one, I used pthalo blue (red hue), quinacridone crimson, transparent yellow oxide, burnt umber (light) and iridescent copper light (fine). Also a nice big paint brush.

Dilute a blob of paint with a lot of water. You want a very translucent coat of paint, so you can still see the newsprinting through it.

Start painting! Leave plenty of white space on your first coat, so the other colours can glow through.


with crimson:

and yellow:

and burnt umber + a light brushing of copper to make it shine:

and you're done!

If you'd like the ATC at the top of the post, that was created using this background, leave a comment. I'll draw a name in a few days.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I haven't been very good about keeping up with this blog thing lately, have I????

Well... I killed the sewing machine... not really - it's skipping stitches, so I think it just needs a trip to the shop for maintenance. So I've been painting again. I love painting. The silky feel of the brushes, the creaminess of the heavy-body acrylics, the serendipity of layering glazes... it's so satisfying and tactile.

This is the latest finished canvas. It's 8"x8"... it's a gift for some dear friends, and I loved making it. This was my first time doing metal leaf. That's cool stuff, that is!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

catching up

I've been spending most of the week working on the quilt-that-must-not-be-shown-(yet).
I am making a concerted effort not to start multiple projects at once, thereby causing many of them to get stuffed into a box and never completed.
This makes for a dull and uninteresting blog, since I've done nothing that can be shown. But it's going to be a lovely quilt...

So, today I took a few minutes to finish up an ATC that I made just for the heck of it. When I started out, it was going to be a greeny-turquoise vintage-looking card. It kind of went in a different direction, don't you think?