Friday 26 July 2019

Blending media acrylic paints - DecoArt Creative Team

This is a DecoArt Media Tea Encore post
I was working on a tag earlier in the year and wanted to create a soft vintage look with my media acrylic paints. I had covered the greyboard tag with a coat of gesso using a palette knife when an idea came to me - let's try using a distress ink blending tool!
I made up the tag and was so pleased with the results but creating in the moment I hadn't written down any explanation of what I had done nor what I had used but here's what the background looked like.

So I started out experimenting with some card tags for this post. The tags on the left were not primed at all and the tags on the right were given a thin coat of gesso using a palette knife.
These were a mixture of both opaque and semi translucent paints - Titan Buff O, Cerulean Blue ST, Green Gold ST and Yellow Oxide ST although I mixed some Titan Buff with the 3 semi translucent colours which made them more cloudier. I used the rectangular blending tool and foam, taking a small amount of each colour and blending from my craft mat onto the tag, just like you do with distress inks.

These were all translucent colours - Hansa Yellow Light, Cobalt Teal Hue, Phthalo Green/Blue and Cobalt Blue.

In this neutral palette were all opaques - Burnt Umber, Dark Grey V3, Medium Grey V6 and Titan Buff.

What I realised was that I used far too much paint on the blender foam, they moved around a lot and they were easy to use. What I also noticed was that  blending onto a gesso surface was much smoother and created more translucent colours. Mmmmm how could I improve on that?

So what else do we know about acrylic paints? They dry quickly, they are traditionally used by painters using brushes and these artists use sweeping strokes of colours to blend them together. They can be mixed with glazing medium to create more transparent layers which doesn't affect their drying time. Also by experimenting with the blending tool and blending foam I found the pads hold the paint well, give good coverage and are washable so they can be used again.

I cut some card to fit one of my journals and scraped a gesso layer over with a palette knife and left to dry. Gesso has a tooth to it to allow the paint to stick to it so I buffed the first piece with a soft cloth, it certainly gave it a bit more of a satin feel. I also swapped from the larger rectangular tool to the small circular tool and foam. I love the neutral palette so I chose Titan Buff, Medium Grey Value 6, Burnt Umber and Raw Umber.

The card on the left has two coats of titan buff and was rubbed with a soft cloth after each layer had dried. The card on the right has two coats of titan buff mixed 50:50 with glazing medium. When added to paint it gives more transparent layering effects and this just glided on with the foam pad and gives a much softer finish.

For the next layer I chose medium grey value 6. Immediately you can see how thicker the paint stays on the surface even with only one coat as the left hand side is. You need more paint on the foam for it to stick. Whereas the mix of paint and glazing medium on the right hand side has two coats and is still so soft and translucent and you need very little on the foam pad. I can see benefits for using both of these techniques.

For the third colour I chose burnt umber and repeated step two above but I forgot to rub the right hand card with a soft cloth between the layers and the paint beneath gave more tooth for the second coat to hold onto giving a deeper tone.

I finished with Raw Umber applying it mostly round the edges to frame each background. Again I chose not to rub the right hand card between the two layers of paint but I did rub both of them before I took each photo. On the right hand card I also rubbed my finger round the edges when applying the wet paint to blend it to an even softer finish.

So you see the effects I got from raw card, gesso, media paint and glazing medium. You can see some of the card has more texture than others from the gesso. I actually love all the effects.

To summarise there are four different outcomes and effects.
1. Blended acrylics on raw card.
2. Blended acrylics on gesso covered card.
3. Blended acrylics on gessoed card with buffing between layers.
4. Blended acrylics mixed with glazing medium and buffed between layers.

Have fun experimenting with other colours and if you want to see the original tag that started this all off you can find it here.

Here is a project made with one of the above samples. I introduced colour through the stamping and collage elements. You can see I stamped on the tag and painted in some of the swirls on the border.

Top Tip - the foam pads hold onto the paint really well so rub them off on dry paper kitchen towel or another dry cloth before moving on to the next colour.

Monday 15 July 2019

MIxology Make and Take

 I taught a Make and Take project at the last Ministry of Mixology which was in Milton Keynes in April.

I had made some stencil covers for the new Andy Skinner set of stencils and thought that this gorgeous little rounded tag would create a great little journal/book. So I used several creating a new technique on each one.


I called these -

Dip, drip and dry. 

 Distressed gesso layer

Water distressed layers

There were two others that people could do themselves on the open table if they wanted to.
These are in the sample book I made for all five of the techniques.

I then added a little decorative collage to each one using papers and Di's chipboards ...

.. and some words I create on h PC.

I also use some of Andy'ssnew stencils.

I wanted to show that these backgrounds can be used for grungy or pretty projects, it's just the colours that you use that will make the difference.

I hope you like my samples.

Friday 12 July 2019

Wildflowers and cultivated flowers - mixed media journal page.

I went out with a friend for her birthday recently and I bought an old book of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. Unusually there is no printer's date in it but it was scribed by someone and dated the 7th January 1910, over a hundred years old, so now I don't want to tear it up or alter it lol.
However my friend had some books in her car ready for the charity shop and one was A Country Diary birthday book, certainly not old at all but the illustrations are all flowers and are hand painted prints so I decided to take it off her hands and have a play at using some of the gorgeous flower designs in some journal pages.
This is the first one stuck into my nature journal which already had some tissue collage paper glued on it.

To age the illustration I stamped with some text and gave it a light coat of watery gesso and distressed the torn edges.

I painted some wildflower stems .....

.... and drew round one of Tim's transparent butterflies on watercolour paper, dipped it in some pinky paint washes, glued the two together and covered the surface with glue to make it matte. I also added a crochet die border and a quote.

You'd think this would be quite quick to do but as always I overthink everything.

I am also sharing this over on the Country View Crafts project blog.


Supplies from Country View Crafts
Tim Holtz wildflowers die and crochet die
Tim Holtz stamps Nature's Wonder
Tim Holtz Transparent acetate wings

Monday 8 July 2019

Gelli plate experiments

As part of the DecoArt Media Team and collaboration with Gelli Arts I have been playing with gelli plates and the Premium Acrylic Paints.

I am not a complete newbie to the gelli plate and have played on numerous occasions to get some background prints to use in my journals but I've never really thought through developing a process of steps I could follow again. So I scoured Pinterest and Youtube and found some fabulous videos by Alice-ART. After watching several of her videos I thought I'd try and work out some steps to work with - you'll see it didn't completely work!!!

Gather supplies and choose your paint palette. Gelli Art kindly sponsored the plate and brayer for the DecoArt Media Team members so this is some playtime before I got going with my July project.

Pick fresh grasses and leaves.

Choose some flower die cuts

Use the phthalo turquoise and sap green, brayer roughly and quite thickly over the gelli plate and pull a print. Repeat with another clean piece of paper and pull again just to clean off the gelli plate.

Brayer over a thick layer of lighter green , blue, cream and white.

Lay on the natural foliage and pull a print with one of the dark backgrounds. 

Leave the leaves in position and brayer over some cream, magenta and yellow. 
Remove the leaves and replace with the flower die-cuts.

Take the second piece of the dark green original print and pull another print from the layers and colours you just added. You'll see slightly different photos here as I repeated the process a second time to get more images to show you.

My die-cuts kinda stuck to the paper the first time I did it so I had to pull them off and some stayed behind. So you know what they say 'embrace your imperfections' but actually from a mixed media point of view I really like this.

Sadly the dark green flowers didn't work for me so I'll have to rethink my steps.

I have a collection of other prints I took with spare pieces of paper along the way. What I really love are the backgrounds that appeared. You'll probably see more of those coming soon.

Have you noticed I didn't use the leaves? I also had a little play with them too.


Friday 5 July 2019

Faux gold leaf? - Metals for A Vintage Journey

It's the first Friday in July and the start of a new challenge at A Vintage Journey.
This month we would like to see some kind of precious metal feature in your project. Think gold, silver, brass, copper, aluminium or steel. It could be in the form of embellishments, cardstock, paint, gilding wax, foil, gold leaf, rub ons, or paints. Just remember to ensure that you create in one of our preferred styles of vintage, shabby,mixed media, art journaling, industrial, timeworn or steampunk.

For this month's challenge I have created a 5 x 7 inch journal panel and kept the focus with metallics in any way I could.

 For the background I used heavyweight watercolour paper and cut my background piece and laid it an arrow die on the flat side to take the impression but not cut it. I then dribbled, spritzed and dried some areas of prussian blue, turquoise interference, and emperor's gold before blending quinacridone gold mainly around the edges. To finish I brayered emperors gold over the whole piece - it got picked up on the raised areas and looks somewhat like faux gold leaf.

 I kept the embellishing simple as I didn't want to hide much of that opulent background. The globe was die-cut from gold crd and I used Andy Skinner's satin sunset and crystal glaze embossing powders on it.

The metal pieces were all altered with dazzling metallic paints with some gesso and burnt umber media fluid acrylic.

I think the lovely lady looks as though she has embarked on a cruise adventure. I wonder who she is with and where she is going?

I hope you have a little time to pop over to see what the other Creative Guides have created for the line up and maybe you will get a chance to make something yourself for Amanda's great challenge.

Supplies from Country View Crafts
DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - prussian blue hue, quinacridone gold, interference turquoise, burnt umber
DecoArt Dazzling Metallics - emperor's gold, pewter, ice blue
Andy Skinner embossing powders - crystal glaze, satin sunset

Monday 1 July 2019

Deep Sea Fishing - Mixed Media Board with clay - Andy Skinner Creative Team

I am still having fun with some new Andy Skinner products and today I am sharing this media board on Andy's blog.

Process steps
Take a piece of greyboard and cut to size. Firstly layer gesso with a palette knife - dry and repeat round the edges with white crackle paste. Again leave to dry.

Blend layers of blues and browns media fluid acrylics until you are happy with the background. I kept it fairly light at this stage with ideas of stencil textures and dripped inks through it. 

I rollered out some clay and stamped it with the 'Dem Bones' fish stamp several times and dried with a heat gun.

After giving them two coats of gesso I painted and spritzed water over until I was happy with a mottled background and then gently rubbed titanium white over the raised areas with my finger.

The seabed is made up of coloured up cheesecloth and ....

.... die cuts roughly painted and just left as they are.

As I was laying out the design I still wanted to add some text or texture in the background but my brain was also saying no that would look too busy. So as they say know when to give up before you over do it! So I left it apart from some simple splatters of paint ....

.... until everything was glued on and I just couldn't resist adding some prussian blue drippage under the fish.

For a change this worked out similar to how I wanted it to. I was originally thinking about fossil displays but I'm really quite happy with this.


Supplies from Country View Crafts
DecoArt Media white gesso, white crackle paste, matte medium
DecoArt media fluid acrylics - cerulean blue, prussian blue hue, sap green, burnt umber, translucent white, titanium white, raw umber, dark rey V6, titan buff
Andy Skinner stencil - Inspire
Andy Skinner stamps - Dem Bones
Archival inks - coffee, watering can, olive