Friday 7 July 2017

All Squared Up

It's a new challenge at AVJ today and the lovely Tracy has chosen - 'All Squared Up' as the theme to get our teeth into. I have to admit to sitting thinking about this one for quite a while, I love all sorts of shape and form yet did you realise that there is a psychology behind shapes? Certain shapes make us feel a certain way. Shapes with rounded edges are softer and more approachable, while shapes with sharp lines and edges, depict strength and presence and sometimes anger.  How do shapes make you feel?  

Anyway when composing my project for today I chose a 23 x 23 cm shadow box to work with where the frame comprises of the outside and inside edges which look like two squares and an inner mount in it with a 12 x 12 cm aperture which gave me three squares to work with. I also decided that whatever I made to go inside the mount would also be cut into squares (4 x 4 cms) which would hopefully take my eye right through to the centre - but I also decided that these squares would have some rounded patterns so that the finished piece didn't make me feel as though I was purely conforming and ending up with a very formal design losing depth and interest in the piece as a whole. Circles, curves and handwritten text on the other hand would imply movement and interest, so that's where I was aiming.

- paint the frame with phthalo turquoise, dry and paint a thin layer of weathered wood. When dry randomly scrape over some white crackle paste and leave to dry naturally. Paint over with titanium white and when dry then dribble through some watery yellow oxide paint.  

For the inner small squares I cut five 8 x 8 pieces of card so that I could play with different textures and designs but mostly complementary colours so I could cut them down and have plenty to choose from for the finished design.  

Square 1
I used a sponge stenciling technique so I could get some visual texture in there and then gave it a coat of my dirty glaze to age it a bit.  

Square 2
This was rusted enamel with some stamping again to create visual texture.  

Square 3
Similar to a mega crackle and used in my last Tag Friday post.

Square 4
This is a drip and spritz background and some stencilling that can be seen here. When I came to the end to put the larger square together you will see I omitted this one completely, it just didn't look right.

Square 5
I've called this Coarse Stucco. It uses texture sand paste to get the gorgeous coarse brick/rough cement texture.  

The three techniques that haven't got a link to them will be coming up as full tutorials soon. Keep your eyes peeled for Technique Tuesday posts. They'll be short and sweet but each one will hopefully spark you off for creating backgrounds and altering elements for yourself using the DecoArt products.

I really like the textures and colours and didn't want to take the next step but with the design in my head I knew I had to.

I also started playing with designs, but .......... uh oh ............. thats not working for me, too busy ........

So out came some more squares and I played with more neutral backgrounds. The first was using White, titan buff, yellow oxide and raw umber and brayered in layers and then dipped in white and beige at the end.  

For the second one I sealed the card with white tinting base and the just layered watery washes of titanium white, titan buff and raw umber adding a few splatters towards the end.

So I played with putting the squares together into more different designs ....

.... but you know what I did next ....... I cut them into 2 cm squares and took out the textured stencil ones and added more of the neutral ones ........ now I'm happier.

The day before I got to this point my gorgeous Alison Bomber stamps had arrived and I knew I needed to use them on this. I chose one that I knew I could add some embellishments with and hey presto the shadow box started to come together.

With some wildflower die-cuts and the quote with the natural additions all I had to do was rub some antiquing cream over the crackles on the frame and wipe it back and seal with ultra matte varnish and finish putting it all together.

I will have to admit that the composition didn't quite gel with me, I wanted to put something in the top right hand corner but after experimenting with a stamp, border and even cutting some little 1/2 cm squares of the bits that were left over, nothing worked for me - so embrace white space is all I'm saying .........

So what started as a series of painty, grungy squares turned out to be a very clean project for me and I really quite like it so who knows this may creep in from time to time.

 Products used are from the DecoArt Media range including the fluid acrylic paints and mediums.

 I hope you'll be able to pop over to the AVJ challenge blog to see the amazing samples from the Creative Guides again, oh they really are amazing and so varied.

 As for me as from today my calendar tells me it is 26 days and counting - that's till the boot comes off hopefully. Have a wonderful weekend whatever you have got planned.

 hugs Brenda xxx


Annie said...

WOW, this squared project is amazing. I love all those great squares. The quilter in me sees more than this mixed media project. Great inspiration!

Susanne said...

Beautiful Brenda. I love the small squares on your background, and the wildflower's soften it all up. Very nice.

Gina said...

I too struggle with blank spaces, but in this case it really works. The colour combi and natural items give me the feeling of sitting on a sand dune...looking out through the plants across to the sea and sky*big blank space lol* XXX

Creativehel said...

Have really enjoyed seeing this created. Lovely contrast between organic and formal.
PS Read on the challenge blog that you could see 40 squares. I've got to 90 in the centre panel alone!

Aquarius said...

This is so clever and thanks so much for sharing your thought process along the way - certainly lots of squares but softened nicely by the curvy elements.

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Oh my word, this is soooo beautiful Brenda and I have to say it's probably my favourite creation from you as it really speaks to me. I'm so looking forward to your tutorials too, thank you so much for taking the time to share them :)
Donna xx

Dortesjs said...

ohh waue this is fab. love the colours the crackle and all

Julia Aston said...

What a beautiful square project Brenda! I love all your quilt squares - what wonderful colors and textures on each one! and the flora perfectly illustrates the wonderful quote! Julia xx

sarascloset said...

Brenda, it's always a breath of fresh air when I visit your blog, and this visit is even so much more than that! How inspiring your piece is from the way you altered the frame to the tiny squares on your focal image. I cannot wait for the tutorials on each one of these panels! I am completely inspired by your colors and those amazing textures! Have a wonderful weekend! Hugs!

Nikki Acton said...

I am in love with all your textured squares! Each one and gem making the overall piece an absolute stunner. Cant wait to see more of the tutorials. Nikki xx

SewPaperPaint said...

Ooooh my gosh! If these tiles were candy, I'd buy them by the pound and eat them until I exploded! Unbelievably cool, Bren! I am sitting smiling from ear to ear in awe of your creative mind. It's quite the nuisance that I am at work, else I would attempt to replicate immediately! ROTFL! I love love love the grid, the use of Alison's new stamp, and especially the ledge of found treasures from the outdoors. Brilliant! Hugs, Autumn

Redanne said...

Oh Brenda, the backgrounds you created are just exquisite, beautifully coloured and textured and you must have the patience of Job to cut all those wonderful squares! But your efforts were so worth it because the finished piece is a true work of art. I love the embellishments you added and Alison's quote is just perfect.... Love this!! Hugs, Anne xx

froebelsternchen said...

I am thrilled about this ---- such beautiful textures and colours and all together assembled so masterly--- AMAZING! Happy weekend Brenda!

Meggymay said...

An awesome project Brenda, love the textures and colour combinations.
The 26 days will soon pass.
Yvonne xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Genius Brenda, each of your little squares is a little work of art in itself and all together make just for the perfect project for this theme! (I am not a fan of square shapes, seeing you asked, one of the reasons I did not sign up for the challenge), but I have to say I am full of admiration for the creativity of the team has brought to the challenge, - this has turned out brilliantly!

Lisa said...

Oh wow, this is a textural masterpiece, Brenda!! I absolutely love how you've cut and mixed the different squares together!! It looks so amazing!! Each one is spectacular and then you add them together - wow!! This is spectacular!! So inspirational!! Love, love, love it!! Have a great weekend!! Big hugs :)

A Mermaid's Crafts

Patty O'Malley said...

Love your shadowbox and the various textures you created on the tiny squares. Fantastic!

Words and Pictures said...

I love this, Brenda - the cursive handwriting and the swirls and flourishes in your patchwork are so good in contrast to the angular squares throughout the frame. I love the colours and textures of the "busy" panels - the Coarse Stucco is fabulous! - but you were so right to include more of the neutrals. Each of the "busy" ones is all the more effective by comparison. I also love the composition which opens up to the fresh air of the white space - it gives the whole piece a soothing serenity, as well as allowing room for the imagination to expand. And of course I love the quote! What a glorious setting for it to find itself in!
Alison x

Karen Dunbrook said... the look...all you little squares are so unique and so lovely..
thanks so very much,

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Absolutely gorgeous, I adore all your squares . Look forward to Technique Tuesday. The layers , stencilling and texture you achieved is just fantastic . I adore the light airy feel to your piece and everything works beautifully together and Alison's stamps are the perfect finishing touch. Love your design. Have a lovely weekend. Tracy x

A Pink said...

This is absolutely beautiful! Brenda. Concept, composition and creativity are superb. Love how the white open space offers an element of calm and clean, both complimenting and contrasting with the textured, detailed patchwork of squares and the perfectly arranged natural additions.
Have a lovely weekend
hugs x

Sue said...

This is beautiful Brenda. You always put so much thought into your work and yet it looks effortles and crisp and clean. I bet day 16 can't come soon enough! xx

Karen said...

This is insanely amazing. Love the step outs & instructions too- bonus!!!

Jane said...

Those tiles you made from your textured pieces are just amazing Brenda...fabulous work. I know what you mean about white space...sometimes embracing it is the way to go. A fab project, I loved seeing your creative process. I can't wait to catch up later,it's been too long! xxx

Unknown said...

Splendidly Stunning. Xj.

maria's knutselplezier said...

wow super!! I really love this background and how you created it!! Your are a great artist with a lot of good ideas!! I am a fan of your beautiful work!!
Have fun!

Mrs.B said...

A wonderful project Brenda, lots of lovely textures and yet it has a clean crisp look, fabulous.
Avril xx

Deb said...

What a fabulous canvas Brenda, I loved watching your design process as you created and arranged all of those wonderfully coloured and textured squares, your final configuration is dynamic and restful at the same time, amazing! Love the addition of the natural elements and florals as well along with Alison's lovely quote stamp, a stunning creation. Thanks so much for sharing it, Deb xo

Annie said...

Wonderful project for Tracy's all squared challenge at AVJ. totally fabulous details and for sharing such an inspiring step by step. Sorry for being so late in catching a bit hectic

Huge hugs
Annie xx

Hazel Agnew said...

Wow Brenda! Just found this. I am so behind on challenges at the moment. Hoping to be back in the mix now! What an amazing array of textures and the contrasts with the flowers looks stunning! Love it! Xx 😊

Cocofolies said...

Fabulous work, so inspiring.
Thank you Brenda to continue to share your art and techniques with all of us so well and generously. Still loving all what you do and can see when I have a bit of time;
Hugs and happy day,
Corinne xxx

Cocofolies said...

Fabulous work, so inspiring.
Thank you Brenda to continue to share your art and techniques with all of us so well and generously. Still loving all what you do and can see when I have a bit of time;
Hugs and happy day,
Corinne xxx

Jackie PN said...

Oh my Gorgeousness!!! I absolutely LOVE those squares, all of them- even the first ones you considered too busy! Outstanding project!
Jackie xx