Saturday, 31 January 2015

Day 31 - All Thirty Paintings Together

Today is the last day of January and here are all thirty paintings together.  In reality, they aren't all evenly sized (or shaped), some were larger and some were smaller, some are parts of a larger painting and some have even been worked into since posting.

This has been a very fruitful exercise, I have so many ideas for future paintings and so many more techniques under my belt as well as more to try.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Day 30 - The Finish

This is the last painting in the 30 in 30 days challenge - Day 31 will be a composite of all of them together.

I have learned a lot while doing this challenge, I have worked hard, often rising early and/or working late to get many pieces finished.  I did extra at the weekends in an attempt to get a head start for the coming week.  I found that having several on the go at once to be very fruitful, it stopped me worrying about each one individually, if I struggled with one, I could put it aside, while I worked on another.

I intended to stick with 6"x6" at the beginning, but soon found myself  working larger and this has encouraged me to think about working on even bigger canvases in the future.

The list of mixed media techniques that I began with have mostly been tried out, apart from wax, so that is something I shall be trying at my own leisure in future.

Thanks everyone for coming to visit my blog and for leaving such encouraging comments, it has helped me to keep going, even when it was tough.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Day 29 - Hints of Turquoise

I am getting excited for the end of the 30 in 30 day challenge.  I am looking forward to getting a full night's sleep and having a bit of time for normal day-to-day activities at last!

On the other hand, I will also be sad that it is over, because I have really enjoyed seeing everyone's work every day and getting to know so many nice arty bloggers. 

Today's painting is on canvas, I hand-stitched a spiral before applying texture and gesso, followed by many paint layers, I love that little bit of turquoise just below the top.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Day 28

I spent a little time cutting some more stencils.  I now have a compass rose and some other boundary-related symbols, although none are used in today's painting.

I tried to make my own modeling paste, using talc, PVA glue and matt medium. It has created some lovely texture (the circles), but doesn't retain it's form as well as Golden modeling medium, which has marble in it.

It also doesn't store very well, I made this a couple of weeks ago and it is hardening in the jar I keep it in.

The script in the top left-hand corner is in silver acrylic pen, from some angles it looks darker and other angles it is almost white. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Day 27 - Tyvek

This is my first attempt at using Tyvek (bottom left) in a painting.  First of all I painted it and then I ironed it to get the "bubble" effect and then I attached it to the substrate with the first layers of texture.

After several layers of painting, I decided it wasn't integrating enough into the rest of the work, so I glued a large sheet of tissue, before applying more paint.

If I had applied the Tyvek further on in the painting, on top of complex layers of paint, it would have been very interesting to burn it with a heat gun to reveal those layers.  Unfortunately, it was just white substrate underneath in this instance.  Something to try again, I think!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Day 26 - Colours that Sing

10"x10" on Canvas
We are in the final few days now of the 30 in 30 days challenge, hosted by Leslie Saeta on her blog

Much to my surprise, I have managed to keep up, even if it has meant I have to get up early or work late on some days.

Today's painting was begun alongside yesterday's neutral colour painting and the muted palette has influenced it a little, but I think it helps the vibrant colours to sing a bit more.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Day 25 - Neutral Colours

8"x8" on 300gsm Watercolour Paper
I did it!  Yes, I can paint in neutral colours if I try.

Colours used were Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Paynes Gray (with a very tiny touch of Cyan) and White.

I never normally use tube blacks or greys, preferring to mix my own, but I am very pleased with how nice the Paynes Gray is, especially when added to other colours.  It tints beautifully too and makes lovely soft greys.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Day 24 - Golden

Today's painting has some sewing and it also has some Golden gold metallic paint (the circles on the lower right).

As well as making my own stencils, I have also been making myself some stamps, so all the marks I make are my own.  They also all relate to my theme of "boundaries".

Just to challenge myself, I have started tomorrow's painting and it is going to be all in neutral colours - will I manage it without attacking it with some magenta or some of the fluorescent paints, I wonder?

Friday, 23 January 2015

Day 23 - The Blues

Thank goodness it is Friday - this week has been very busy and I have had to give up sleep in order to get my paintings done every day.

Today's painting is all about blue, I have to accept that I am a sucker for this colour, there is no denying it.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Day 22 - Sewn Collage

8"x8" Acrylic Paper
Today's painting was purely experimental.  The piece of paper was a leftover piece that I was just using it to wipe the excess paint off my brushes and brayers as I worked on other paintings.

Interesting textures and shapes began to appear and I decided to work it up into a fully finished piece, using stencils, scribing, stamping and many paint layers.

The finishing touches were squares cut out of another scrap paper sheet, which I then sewed on.  It makes the whole thing pop and tied everything together.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Day 21 - Fluorescent Colour

9"x9" on Watercolour Paper
Today's painting has a splash of fluorescence, which is very hard to photograph properly.  You can see the bright pink to the bottom of the collaged circle, but it is much more vibrant in real life.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Day 20 - Linen Thread

10"x10" on 300gsm Paper
We are two-thirds of the way through the challenge - my, that seems to have gone fast. 
Today's painting is on heavy watercolour paper and has scrim, modelling paste and linen thread applied before gessoing all over. 

Then layers of paint were built up as well as drawing with tools and black charcoal.  I have also used my own stencils throughout.

The finishing touches were oil pastel in a pale blue.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Day 19 - Sewn Collage

8"x8" on Watercolour Paper
Thinking back to my theme of "boundaries", I reflected that some of the boundaries in the landscape are caused by natural elements, such as mountains, rivers and the coastline. 

Today's painting needed some horizontal lines, so I tore papers and fabric into thin strips and sewed them to the painted/collaged surface. I knocked back some areas to the right and that gives a good contrast to the left-hand side.

I love all the frayed edges in this piece.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Day 18 - 3D Fabric Paint

10"x10" on Canvas
Today's painting has lines, circles and spirals drawn on with  Tulip Slick fabric paint.  Here it is most visible on the left of the painting. Tulip Slick is a 3D paint that holds it's form and once dry, it can be painted over.

The fabric paint comes in a plastic bottle and has a very useful fine nozzle, which I shall reuse once the fabric paint is finished.

More texture has been applied on top with some collage and, of course, many paint layers.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Day 17 - Adding Oil Pastel

9"x9" on Canvas
Today's painting had similar problems to yesterday's, the scrim on the right was very heavy, so I knocked it back with the paste and tissue.

I finished off with the bright green oil pastel and I really enjoy the interaction of the colours.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Day 16 - Perseverence

9"x9" on Canvas
I started today's painting a while ago and didn't like it very much, so I put it aside. 

A week or so later, I looked at it again and added some scrim and painted a little over it, but found the heavier scrim really hard to work with, so again, I put it aside. 

A couple of days ago, I picked it up again and knocked back the heavy scrim with some modeling paste, but it was still hard to work with, so I put it aside.

Once again, I put it back on the easel and applied some tissue over the heavy scrim area and found, at last, that  I could paint on it without that area dominating the whole painting. 

It is worth letting a piece rest for a day or two (or longer) and not giving up on it, quite often, it is salvageable.  After all, "A painting is a collection of a series of corrections" as Helen van Wyk once said.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Day 15 - Halfway

9"x9" on Canvas
Today's painting is on heavy canvas and is probably my favourite so far.  I love orange and blue together, they make me happy.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Day 14 - Mixed Media Explorations

Today's painting is another one that has been on and off the easel as I struggled to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.  Once again, scribing and cropping came to the rescue.  It is 9"x9" and is on heavy watercolour paper.


Bearing in mind the theme of "boundaries", I began by applying modeling paste and tissue before the gesso stage and then I began to build up the paint layers.  My way of working is to start with the darks and gradually move into the lights.  In between layers I added further scribing, drawing, stenciling and collage.
There is part of a spiral to the left of the painting and I began to think about the necessary boundaries the landscape artist has to employ, not only in the frame of a photograph or painting, but also in the composition.  Using the Golden Mean to help with the structure creates new artificial boundaries within the existing ones.  I may explore this further in future paintings.

Cutting Stencils

I felt the need for some more stencils, so have begun to cut some of my own, here are some examples.

I like repeating circles in the painting and up until now I have been using found objects to create them, this doesn't always work perfectly, so this stencil now will be used.

Here is how it looks on a painting.

Next up, are some triangles

 Here they are painted

I made some more and I am looking forward to using them in my future mixed media paintings.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Day 13 - Plaster

Mixed Media on Board 8"x8"
Referring back to my list of media that I wanted to try, I decided to use some plaster rather than modeling paste for texture.  To do this I needed to work on board, just in case the plaster became vulnerable to flexing of paper or canvas.  I mixed plaster powder with PVA glue and spread it on the board with a credit card (old one, of course!).  Before I put it aside to dry overnight, I scratched marks into it.
Once dry, I could apply acrylic gesso and then I began to build up my paint layers. I even managed some crackle glaze on the top right.
I really enjoyed working on this one, the texture was delightful and I shall use plaster some more, most definitely.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Day 12 - Objet Trouvé

A part of today's painting is some found bargello stitching on coarse canvas.  I felt it helped represent the fences found in the landscape.  It took a while to fit in properly, the wool just became fluffy and messy as I painted on it (and the colours were unexciting 1970 browns).  I ended up enclosing it in sewing pattern tissue. The coarse canvas was hard to integrate as well, but I  added some modeling paste to the bottom, which itself created some lovely texture.

Away from the wet media, I have been looking through past sketchbooks and for ideas.

I have also been having fun cutting some more stencils.  Can hardly wait to use them!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Day 11 - A Snow Day

Snow Day: 9"x9"
Our weather here today is very cold and many parts of Scotland have snow, but here on the coast we have escaped with a minor dusting, apart from the hills.

I think this may have affected today's painting, somehow!


I started with some stretched lightweight canvas.  My sewing machine hates the heavy canvas that I normally use for my oil pantings and I wanted to keep my options open in case stitching was needed.  It wasn't.
I applied some modeling paste through a chain-link stencil and some scrim before painting all over with gesso.
The next stage is my favourite, I just work layer upon layer of paints, knocking back, bringing forward until I am satisfied.  I applied some tissue horizontally across the painting to reduce the strength of the chain-link fence and then painted some more.
I tried a little crackle glaze at the top right, wasn't too keen on the result, so painted over it.  I pondered for a while, it looked unfinished until I added the scribing with the white marker pen and now it is complete.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Day 10 Mixed Media Explorations - Paint Markers

This painting is on acrylic paper which I stretched before use, but it still buckles when a lot of water is used.  I think I prefer either canvas or watercolor paper.

I started by applying some scrim and then I continued with layers of paint.  I finished with some writing using an oil-based marker, Uni-Paint with a medium nib. I love the bold marks it makes.

I then put a light wash over part of the painting, to unify the elements.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Day 9 - Crackle Glaze Revisited

Today's painting is much quieter after yesterday's very noisy one.  I have been practicing with the crackle glaze on bits of paper and think I have, er, cracked it!

It is included in the top left of this painting.

Many thanks everyone who visits my blog, I appreciate it very much indeed!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Day 8 - Mixed Media: Sewing Again

Knowing that yesterday's picture just needed the lines to bring it to a conclusion, I looked at another piece today that needed a certain "something" to finish it off.

It has been on and off the easel several times, but all it needed were some vertical lines to tie some elements together and to create a bit more interest in an otherwise "quiet" (relatively speaking) area.

This piece started life off as a linen tablecloth that I bought from a charity shop.  You can just see, the fabric's woven pattern on the bottom right.

I stapled a section onto board, applied some gesso and texture (modelling paste, scrim, tissue) before applying layers and layers of colour.  A lot.

Circles began to present themselves to me so I went with the flow and encouraged them to emerge with my paintbrush and charcoal.  There is more stamping, stenciling and scumbled paint, writing and finally, the sewing.

I have been working on this for days and I am delighted to see it completed.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Day 7 - Mixed Media: Sewing Machine

Today's painting is on heavy watercolour paper, has some scrim and modeling paste through stencils before layers of paint are applied.  I drew on some tree shapes and finished it off with machine-sewed lines at the bottom.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Day 6 - Mixed Media Explorations: Collage

Today's piece starts off with texture on heavy watercolour paper, then gesso, then many layers of paint, applied with brayer/sponges and brushes.  Throughout these layers I sponge through stencils, stamp with various tools and scratch or write on it. 

At first these actions are intuitive, but I am also bearing in mind my theme of "boundaries".  I use squares and circles and mesh patterns to represent enclosures and I use longer lines to represent divisions.  Much of this disappears beneath further layers, but adds to the overall interactions of colours and edges. Towards the end of the piece, things slow down and my decision-making becomes more considered.

Here, I concluded the painting by adding some corrugated cardboard near the bottom and drawing the leaf-shapes, tying them together with a simple line.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Day 5 - Crackle Glaze Medium

Crackle Glaze Detail
I had a painting all finished, but hadn't tried anything new from the list. So, I have used a bit of crackle glaze medium in the bottom right corner.  It is hard to see (I am having to photograph in poor light) and it didn't work very well, here is a close-up.

I think part of the problem was that I did it on an already heavily textured area and perhaps blasting it with the hair-dryer to speed up drying wasn't helpful.

I will be trying this again in a future painting.

How This Painting Was Made

On stretched 300gsm watercolour paper, I applied some scrim, some modeling paste through a stencil as before, as well as some stitched canvas.  The stitched canvas, unfortunately, has not shown up well in the photograph, the relief is a lot more pronounced in the flesh.

Then many layers of paint, some stamped tissue over the stitched area to soften it, some text, some charcoal drawing, yet more paint and then the crackle glaze.

How to Use Crackle Glaze Medium

I used Marabu Crackle Medium, but there are several different ones on the market.

From what I understand, the method to use is to apply a thick layer of paint in a darker colour (or the colour you want to show through the cracks.  Allow it to dry, then apply a layer of the crackle medium, brushing in one direction.  Once that has dried (I left it an hour or so), apply a thin layer of the top coat of paint in a lighter colour, brushing in a different direction.  Allow it to dry and the cracks will form.  

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Day 4 - Mixed Media Explorations

Today's painting is on 300gsm watercolour paper and I have built up the texture, as in previous paintings, with scrim, tape and modelling paste through a stencil.  The shapes of the stencils I choose are reflecting my theme of "boundaries" and remind me of fences.
After applying gesso to the entire sheet, I then built up the subtle washes of colours, using brushes, sponges and a brayer.
Today's technique from the list is a stamped image.  I don't have many stamps as I want to make my own (I have lino and my cutters at the ready), but I do have a set of numbers and on the upper left, you can see some zeros, quite subtle, but that is how I like it!
Thank you everyone who has popped by to look at my mixed media experiments.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Day 3

Today's painting has been very difficult to photograph as it is so high key, but I believe I have got very close to the actual colours.

The execution has been very similar to the two previous paintings with fabric and modeling paste applied, followed by a coat of acrylic gesso before applying several layers of paint, building up the colours.

Today's mixed media technique that I wanted to focus on is the drawing/writing on top of the paint, not something that I am used to doing at all, it feels rather alien to me.  I set the charcoal with fixative and can seal the entire painting with varnish if desired.

Apparently, there are mediums available that facilitate applying dry media on top of acrylic paints, so I will get some and try it out as I would like to be able to draw on top with pastels as well as charcoal.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Day 2 - Mixed Media Techniques

Today's technique is hand-sewing onto canvas. 

Size: 6" x 6"
Support: Canvas
Theme: Boundaries


Using PVA Glue, I adhered some scrim (cheesecloth) onto the canvas and when it was dry, I did some freestyle stitching directly through the canvas and then applied acrylic gesso all over the entire piece. After many layers of scumbled acrylic paint (crimson, cerulean, raw umber, ultramarine, cadmium yellow), switching to paint brushes, I began to bring some areas forward and knocked some back so the spiral is more evident.  The straight lines to the right of the spiral were made by cutting out  shapes in masking tape and painting over them before removing the tape.

Sewing on to canvas wasn't too difficult and I am very pleased with the result, it worked very well with my theme of "boundaries". I shall experiment with sewing onto 300gsm watercolour paper in the future.

Yesterday's Mixed Media Technique - Modelling Paste

I have been asked to talk some more about yesterday's painting and how I used the modelling paste.  Most of the products I am using are manufactured by Golden, and I used Golden Molding Paste which is marble dust in an acrylic medium.  I used part of a stencil to apply the paste (using a plastic gift card) onto the canvas, then let it dry thoroughly (it takes several hours) before sanding it lightly and applying acrylic gesso.  I then applied lots of layers of paint and a bit of stenciling (the diamonds to the left), before concentrating on bringing some areas forward, reinstating lost areas (the circle) and knocking some parts back (to the right of the circle). 

Using the modelling paste in this way adds a little dimensionality to the painting and I like the results.  I will also explore using the paste directly to the canvas (or paper) without a stencil in further experiments.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Mixed Media Explorations

Mixed Media Techniques: Modelling Paste
I have been persuaded to take part in Leslie Saeta's Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days challenge and have decided to revisit mixed media techniques, while working in the theme of "boundaries".

So, during January I will be exploring these different mixed media techniques, focusing on one each day, although more than one may be used in each painting.  Working on 6x6" paper, I intend to bind them into a personal reference book.  Here are the 30+ techniques I am going to experiment with (I may add more as I think of them):

  1. modelling paste
  2. plaster
  3. home-made texture paste
  4. stencils
  5. transfers
  6. sgraffito/scraping
  7. mark-making with tools
  8. masking
  9. spraying
  10. sponging
  11. collage
  12. printmaking/handmade stamps
  13. wax, cold wax and encaustic
  14. metallic paints and interference medium
  15. watercolour glazes
  16. Tyvek (painted, applied then burnt)
  17. hand sewing
  18. machine sewing
  19. working outside the boundaries
  20. bright colour
  21. neutral colour
  22. monochromatic colour
  23. blocks and lines
  24. curves and circles
  25. batik with PVA
  26. wax resist
  27. rubbings
  28. applying paint with alternative tools: brayer, card, knives etc.
  29. text
  30. negative spaces
  31. crackle glaze