Friday, 14 April 2017

A canvas using some very wee stamps

Hello there.  Its been a while...

I thought you might like to see how I made the canvas that was on the last Claritystamp One Day Special shows on Hochanda.

Its not so long ago I would have been terrified of starting out on a big project like this, but with this sort of art you can just go for it without worrying too much.  When you break it down step by step, its not scary at all;  so if you want to, you should definitely try out a project of your own. 

It's easier working on a canvas board, but for this project I needed a stretched canvas.  You'll see why later.

I stamped the leaf onto tissue with grey archival ink and mod podged onto the canvas.  This helps with the layout and positioning of stencils and colours later on.


Next stop was to pull grunge paste through the stencil.  We're not looking for perfect here;  just texture.

I tried some random stamping with brown archival using the text from the journalling set.


After a coat of white gesso, I started to flood on some colour with diluted Paperartsy Fresco Finish paints.  The advantage of using these over watercolours is that once dry, the colours are permanent, so they don't go muddy.

I mod podged on some old book page scraps, and using a different stencil, added more grunge paste.

 A slightly darker colour starts to add depth.

To apply the paint, first thin it down with a bit of water.  Spray the area on the canvas where you're going to apply the paint, so that when you add the paint it can spread and move more freely.  And if you want to thin it out and make it spread even more, then just spray again.


Allow each layer to dry before adding the next.  

Some little splatters are good too.  I made sure to keep the background paler where the leaves are going to be placed.


Keep going until you're happy.  I lost count of how many layers I used here.  Most of the time is spent waiting for the layers to dry, so this is an ideal project to have on the go while you're working on other masterpieces!

Now I laid out the twigs that will provide the main structure of the design and planned out each of the little landscapes in the leaves on some copy paper.


Then I painted on some areas of crackle glaze;  varying the thickness.  The crackle effect will develop as the glaze dries;  a thinner coat gives a more delicate effect, the cracks will be larger where the glaze is thicker.


Next job was to make my leaves.  To avoid any potential issues stamping directly on the canvas, I stamped these onto deli paper using black archival.  The sky and landscapes were also done with archival inks to make sure the colours wouldn't bleed when decoupaged onto the canvas (I used DecoArt matte medium);  and how do I know this?  Let's just say it's a good job I did a little trial run.

Once I'd decoupaged the leaves into place, I attached the twigs with some fine wire;  simply by piercing 2 small holes in the canvas and threading the wire through (hence the need for a stretched canvas rather than a canvas board on this occasion). 

In the details below, you can see that I rubbed over the crackle glaze with antiquing cream.


Finally, I coated the canvas with a couple of coats of matt varnish before adding a few highlights with gilding flakes.

I hope you like the finished piece, and that maybe you feel inspired to try out something similar for yourself.

I'll try not to leave it so long for my next post.  Till next time.  Xxx

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sketchy lady colour wheel

Hello there.  Just realised I never got round to blogging this sample from January's Claritystamp show.  It was so nice to revisit some old stamps and create something new. 

I decided to use sketchy lady's outfit to create a colour wheel.  So first, I had a quick play on copy paper to make sure the idea would work, and to choose the colours.  I used distress inks:  candied apple, spiced marmalade, mustard seed, lucky clover, mermaid lagoon and wilted violet. 

Then I had a further practice run perfecting the positioning.  So now we're ready to go for it.  Be aware that this is a substantial piece of artwork, so you'll need to start with a piece of card approx 12" square.

I started first by making a deluxe, exclusive piece of equipment as taught by my dear friend Maria Simms at her Shrewsbury workshops. 

Punch a circle from some copy paper, and fold and mark into the required number of equal sections:  I went for 12 here.  Use a piece of blu-tac to hold it in place in the middle of the card.

I started by stamping 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock into place.  You can see how I lined up her toe with the marks.

Now its just a matter of working around the circle, lining up sketchy lady's toe with the marks each time.

Lift off your deluxe, exclusive piece of equipment, and there you have a perfect circle at the centre of your wheel.

I worked my way round from 12 o'clock, masking off the outie of each sketchy lady in turn, while I coloured her outfit.  I really love the rainbow effect and some of the colour blends I achieved.  To finish, I used my polychromos to add a little colour to the face and feet, and edged with a black sharpie pen.

I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed making it.  I'll be back soon.  Till next time.  Xxx

Monday, 13 February 2017

Ballroom dancing

Hello there.  Blogging again, I hear you say?  I'm definitely on a roll at the moment!  Aren't these new dancer stencils fab?  This one in particular really evokes all the glamour of the ballroom, something I tried to capture in my samples.

For this first one I used picked raspberry, wilted violet and blueprint sketch distress inks and built up the background colour gradually with my Clarity stencil brushes.  It does take quite a bit of time to build up this intensity of colour.  I went round the edge with black distress ink and a blending tool.  I think I might have added a bit of chipped sapphire as well to add even more drama.

Then I started work on the large "glitterball" moon.  I cut out a large circle of double sided adhesive sheet and stuck it into place.  Then, working across a row at a time, stuck the squares of kitchen foil into place.  Buff up when finished, and brush on a little talc to de-tack any exposed adhesive.

All that was left to do was to put the dancers in place.  I always feel a bit nervous when I've done so much work on a project and am about to tackle the final make or break stage.  This time, I got a beautiful crisp image with the black embossing paste and sprinkled on some black distress glitter for a really luxurious effect.

The piece below was done using one of the new Claritystamp designer papers.  I used the softer, more muted side of this particular design as my background.  

I made a paper mask of the stencil design to allow me to overlap the dancing couples.  It took me quite a while to decide on the colour to use for each of the couples as I wanted each one to be different, but still co-ordinate with each other; and tone in with the background too.  I sponged purple ink through the couple at the front;  this would add a barely noticeable shadow once I paper pieced the design, and also provide the much needed guide for accurate placement of each of the pieces.  However, I didn't do the paper piecing until the rest of the design was complete.  Cover the first couple with the paper mask, reposition the stencil and sponge through blue ink.  Repeat this step with pink ink for the third couple.

Add some definition round the edge with a blending tool and purple ink.

Using the other side of the same designer paper, I paper pieced the first couple.  Simply mounted onto white card to finish. 

I hope you like them.  Thanks for visiting.  See you again soon.  Till next time.  Xxx