Saturday, December 01, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Are we all not influenced by evertything we see and do? I am constantly influenced by so many things. I am taking a writing class for school now. I am not getting better at filtering what influences me, but I am getting better at writing down ideas for later on. I was influenced by Angela's new book called, "Mixed Emulsions". It was not just about photos. It is about how photos can be used in your mixed media art.

I have started working on a huge-o handmade book that I bought a long time ago but never felt the urge to create in it. The urge has finally struck me. That muse is alive and kicking. While I was doing that page, I did this as a techniques page for something else. I have done a few of these backgrounds already.

The picture was colored in using gouache watercolor paints. I had bought some from but had not had reason to use it yet. I was waiting for a day when I would do some cabinet cards. Well, that day has not come yet. I am looking for some cool photos for me to doctor and then use in my art. If anyone has any, they can send a .jpg to me at I would gladly trade you some technique backgrounds for some. I am looking for some great background shots with architecture, bare trees, interesting windows, old houses, anything vintage, distressed, sad or somber faces. I like odd.

You can get a good set of gouache paints from Aileen at I hear they can be rather expensive. She even explains what they are. I love the bright colors and the fact that they are opaque.

BTW, I have not bothered to seal my gouache yet. I just add a little something clear over it or put a piece of transparency/mica over it. I will eventually get around to it.

Someone asked me in another post how I got the background looking like this. I don't do it the same as in the Somerset Workshop book. I do take emulsion paints and white gesso to do it, but I do it a little differently. If you are going to do this, then you will need to get all your emulsion paints and gesso open and ready to go at the same time.

What you need to do first of all is get a sturdy substrate. I have been using mat board or two pieces of handmade paper glued together. You will need leftover coffee and instant coffee. The page might stick to your table, so do it on something you don't care about or on wax paper.

Next, you will need to get some text. I use dictionary pages. I have bought a lot of old books off eBay but this is not the time to use it because the majority of it will be covered. What you can use is an old dictionary from the sale bin. I have a dictionary just to tear apart for art. Use a glue stick and glue it down onto the foundation. You do not have to do the entire surface. Leave some of it bare. I do overlap my pages. I then use the glue stick over the papers. That will help the pages kinda bunch up and warp later for a better background. I also like to put texture on the background. The Japanese lace papers are great for it. I used the square and circle lace paper. I also used a little bit of paper wallpaper that Sandy gave me.

You do not need to wait for the glue to dry. Use the leftover coffee and brush it over the entire surface. The instant coffee only needs a little hot water to dissolve it. What I do it put in about 1/3 of the instant coffee and then put some water into it. You don't want it too thick but a little bith thicker than fluid acrylic consistency. It is definitely much darker than your leftover coffee. You can spread the instant coffee over the entire surface or just on certain areas. Take the brush and plot down pools of the instant coffee in spots. You will have mini puddles all over your background. That needs to dry completely. It will still look glossy when it is dry. This is the time to pick up your background make sure it is not stuck to anything.

You decide whether you want to use one brush or several brushes for the next step. I don't really care if I contaminate the paint because I use the house paint just for this technique. In case you did not see my previous posts, you can get samples of house paint from specialty stores or from Menards. They have a Pittsburgh paint brand there for about $2.98 for 2 oz. 2 oz. goes a long way. These are the colors I have: heavenly blue, stonington, heavy cream, dark sage, queen anne's lace, chocolate turtle (like an ochre yellow), and seal skin. You really just need a white, off white, cream, old looking yellow, light or patina shade of blue, and a sage looking green. Think colors that look old and cast-off.

Have paper towels and a garbage can ready for this next step. Start with the white or off-white, give it an even coat. Not too thin or it dries too fast. Not too thick or it will be a waste when you use a paper towel on it. Next, randomly brush on spots of blue, green, and cream. Right away, put on a layer of gesso over the whole thing. If you use it straight out of the bottle, then your background will be more white. If you mix it with some water, then it will be more brownish. Take a piece of paper towel and wad it up. Start in one corner and dab some of the paint off. The paper towel and paint on it will pick up the excess paint and give it that old distressed background. I also give the paper towel a twist in certain spots to take off more paint. The spots with the blotches of instant coffee will come through. Keep doing it until you are happy with it. You might take a paper towel and dab areas that you missed in your dab attack. Let dry completely. Add focal image and other elements. You are done.

The trick really is the twist that I give it with the paper towel. You can always email me with your results. Let me know if it is okay to put on my blog - crediting you, of course.

If you have read through this whole thing, then you must really want to play! At the request of numerous people, I have started a Yahoo group so people could stay in touch and would have somewhere to park. You will find it in my Links.

Be well and happy holidays.

1 comment:

ScaryCheri said...

this looks like fun. I love how your page turned out. I haven't used my gourache paints from outsidethe margins yet either. I did get some instant coffee. Thanks for sharing Belinda.Hugz, Scary