Friday 28 June 2013

Just WAY too easy!

I don't normally post a Tuesday Tutuorial on a Friday, but this has been a cock-eyed week, so here goes:

A palette paper transfer from your mixed media bag of tricks is one of the easiest things to accomplish.

When I have leftover paint on my palette paper,

I make a thin wash and leave it to dry.

Gather your painted sheet of palette paper (freezer paper or butcher paper works just as well - it's the glossy plastic finish you need for lift-off), some liquid acrylic medium (yes, I buy Golden gloss by the gallon), a support, a brayer and a paint brush.

Paint your support with a layer of acrylic medium, plunk it face down on your palette paper

 and run your brayer over the back side to ensure there is contact everywhere.

Allow it to dry (anywhere from two hours to overnight, depending on how liberal you were with the acrylic medium), and then peel the palette paper off the support.  

The paint will remain on the support and add interest to your background.

You can layer transfer upon transfer this way, building up a rich and varied background that adds a sense of luminous depth and colour to your painting.

Harlequin Party  Mixed Media on mat board  © Win Dinn
Harlequin Party has seven to nine palette paper transfers on the background surface before the addition of middle and foreground accents.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

It was a welcome change...

...from overdosing on the devastating flood news to teaching at the Creston College on the weekend.  There is nothing more uplifting than an eager group of students, flying paint, laughter and the fun of sharing upwards of twenty mixed media techniques.

From an altered book spread

to a painted paper,

to drying cobwebs,

and drizzles and drops,

it was an ever-changing rainbow of colour.

This pair looks like they're having too much fun;  I couldn't resist this photo, as Deni watches Dennis test out some brayered leaf prints - the technique demo resulted from an innocent question about the possibilities from another student - we just never know what's going to come up in these classes!

Here Colin, Deni, Dennis, Coral, Lynn and Lynn show a small part of their hard work in Mixed Media II - More Playtime for Adults.

Since this is the last workshop of the 2013 'winter season', I'll be painting and catching up on posting tutorials over the summer, with the occasional hour of weeding thrown in for good measure, likely.  You can bet, though, that there will be more workshop photos to come in the fall.  If I'm doing one in your area, please come and play with us!

Friday 21 June 2013

It's a deluge...

but not of artwork.

We're under a rainfall warning here today  in the Creston Valley, and my old hometown of Canmore, AB (and still home to my daughter, Rochelle) is being flooded out by Cougar Creek gone wild.  Calgary has now 100,000+ evacuees, with more to come if the rain continues.

It's an amazing thing to see the havoc that can be wreaked by nature, and when this type of an event happens, I'm always happy to know that most of us can be safely tucked away doing something safe and enjoyable while we wait for Mother Nature to step back down from her passionate rants.

Although my studio is torn apart from stem to stern today in preparation for this weekend's workshop at the Creston College (you'd be hard pressed to imagine how much prep work is involved in moving large parts of one's studio for a couple of days!), I did manage to complete a couple of pieces over the last while (and start several more).

T for texture
This piece is the start of a new altered book, a visual Gratitude Journal.  Only 25 more letters to go.
F for flowers
And F is for flowers, of course.  How many more to go?

A Peacock Called Alice  8" x 8" x  2"
This piece is one that was inspired by the beautiful painting by Alice Saltiel-Marshall, and is the third in matched pieces created during our back and forthing between Creston and Claresholm.  There is, of course, a story behind her original painting, A Peacock Called Win.  Our reconnection through Facebook a couple of years ago had us messaging and commenting back and forth like machines.  When I queried a photo of a painting in progress on her page (it had a large, unpainted white blob in the middle), she fired back a reply "Peacock Head".  I thought she was calling me names and very nearly responded in kind until I realized what she meant.  The finished piece gained its title from this exchange, as eventually, did mine.

As we wait for news of the end of the rainfall in Alberta and start of the reconstruction process, I'm wishing you a safe, warm and dry weekend ahead, and if you've got some room in your heart to send out prayers to those who are affected, please do so.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Alcohol gets in the studio...

...but not for drinking (or at least not on a daily basis).  I use 99% isopropyl alcohol for a fun resist technique.  Although I attempted this technique a number of times with regular 70% alcohol, I had no success with it at all.  Vets use the highly concentrated alcohol in their practice and that's where I get it in British Columbia.  Many other provinces and states allow their pharmacies to carry it.  Do note that for safety reasons, you'll want to do this outdoors or in a very well-ventilated room.

Tools for this technique

I start by gathering water, palette knife, paint, brush, support, spritzer filled with said alcohol and an eye dropper.

A multi-layered start gets into play
Here I'm using a many-layered mat board that started out by mopping up leftover paint, and then more leftovers, and some palette transfers and a journal page transfer - you get the idea.  It's a hodgepodge.

Overall wash, spritzed and dropped alcohol  
I've laid on a very thin wash of golden Payne's Gray overall, spritzed it (on the left) with the alcohol, and  dropped alcohol on the right with an eye dropper.

Alcohol here is lightly spritzed (top left) and splashed with a dropper
Splashing, throwing, daubing with a paper towel dunked in alcohol, etc. are some other ways I've used this for texture.
Three layers of the alcohol technique on the bottom area.
You can do layer after layer with this technique to add depth and richness to your work.
This has a gloss medium base
And when you change the base coat, you'll get a different look.  Why not try it on a gesso base to see the difference there?  You'll love it, as long as you don't drink from the bottle...

Friday 14 June 2013

Play time...

is always better when it involves friends, and this holds true whether it's in the studio or on the deck!

Paul, Bill & John admire my gift
While Alice, Meg and I played in the studio for three days, 'the gents' contented themselves with antiquing, perusing second hand stores and viewing the sites of the area.  Those of you who know my love of gardening (tongue-tearing-through-my-cheek here) will understand how excited I was to view my gift for the day - a beautifully crafted gardening fork.

In the 'drying room', aka driveway
The frenzy in the studio was pretty unbelievable, with both Meg and Alice tearing up the space with start after start, and even some completions.  I watched in awe as these consummate artists tore through and combined  a repertoire of mixed media techniques that was astonishing.

A Tyvek kind of day
Meg took a piece of Tyvek, secured it to a canvas (to be wrapped on completion), drizzled with with layers of paint, and stamped back into it for a start that is luscious with complexity and earthy colour.

Meg makes the paint fly on a leaf transfer start
Meanwhile, Meg's small 'pup' usurps Opal's normal spot in the studio as she patiently waits for us to stop our play and start hers!
I'm oh-so-patient, here...waiting, waiting, waiting.
Alice, here on day three, knocks off some butterflies on a plastic wrap background that she prepped when last here in the fall.  She'd completed so many paintings in our three days that she could easily open her own gallery.
Alice dances with butterflies
Among other things, I got a chance to play with my new Dylusions Ink sprays from Ranger, which pleased me no end.  Alice had purchased them for me on a recent trip to Maryland.  I'm so hooked that I've got a barb sticking out of each eye!

Oh the colour!
As we moved back and forth between the deck
Paul shoots John while I shoot him
and the studio,
The Three Amigos
we were constantly aware how rich and fortunate are our lives.  Truly the paint fumes, supportive spouses,  sunshine,  flowers, valley, friendship and the wine are really hard to top!

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Printing with leaves...

Friday's post was about checking out the possibilities inherent in the garden.  My favourite part of summer is the opportunity to play with the leaves and grasses in the garden, and this year is no exception.

I start by accumulating some leaves and grasses, chosen for their interesting shapes, a soft brayer, paint and a support.

My first trick is to place the foliage on a support, cover with a sheet of paper, and use several passes of the brayer to flatten the heck out of the leaves and grasses.  This makes it much easier to create an impression.

I roll the brayer in the paint (fluid consistency seems to work the best for me), and then over the greenery.  Then, placing the greenery paint side down on the support, I use another piece of paper on top, and apply the brayer over all.  It leaves (pun intended) a lovely impression.

I then place the leaves on a piece of palette paper and repeat the process, leaving a transferable image (see Direct Transfer technique) to be used later in other pieces.  (Because palette paper has a plastic coating, the direct transfer works without scrubbing the back - something that is required for magazine direct transfers - oh happy day!)

Even the mat board that is being used when I'm coating the greenery has interesting patterns - another start, for another time.

A second colour and another layer is applied  in the same way.

A soft wash of quinacridone gold over all, with a paper towel scrunched into the sky area to create interesting variation, and

my play is done for this set of foliage.

Friday 7 June 2013

Leaves, and more leaves

Honestly, I am aware that most people view gardens as 1)  a source of wonderful summertime vegetables, or, 2)  an oasis for the soul, filled with flowers, butterflies and the scent of heaven.

For me, it's that time of the year when I'm in the garden checking out the foliage for artistic possibilities.  The virginia creeper has a beautifully shaped leaf,

and my resident 'money tree' is filled with purply green coins.

The quack grass is tall and stately,

and even the other weeds are looking as though they have possibilities.

 The peony bushes, while not yet in bloom in our yard, are rampant with potential,

and the strawberry leaves surely wouldn't be missed if I picked just a few?  (After all, John's already been eating the strawberries, without sharing!)

Look at these gorgeous carrot tops

and the serrated edge of the currant leaves.

Can you tell what's coming up in the Tuesday Tutorial?  Well, of course, we're going to be printing with leaves!

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Pools of light...

The wide range of gel mediums by Golden make them almost irresistible for playtime in the studio, and the fact that many of them actually resist paint is even more fun.

For a gel resist, assemble a gel medium (it comes in soft, medium, heavy and extra heavy - I'm playing with heavy here), a support and a palette knife.

A large daub of the white medium is ready to hit the support.

Slathered (doesn't that word sound edible?) on with the knife, it starts to look pretty interesting.

I've created a variety of  lines and fissures with the palette knife, and it's ready to dry overnight.

The next day, you can see that the medium has dried clear, and it's ready for an application of paint.

A series of thin washes painted or sprayed on creates some wonderful depth where the paints have  mingled and pooled.

Each gel is different in the way it forms with the knife and many lovely looks result, from soft and subtle hills and valleys to hard-edged firm peaks.  Aren't you eager to try it?
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