Thursday 28 November 2019

Something Christmassy - DecoArt Media Team

Well I'm back after a very lean few months where life and lack of mojo took over. But I'm very happy that today I have a project over on the DecoArt Media Blog with a fabulous Christmas theme.

A Christmas Triptych that is made up of three cheap Ikea frames ......

..... and lots of die-cuts and embellishments that fit together well.

The frames have been crackled using the wonderful DecoArt clear crackle glaze ....

.... and there is a tutorial for making this starry background.

I'd love it if you were able to pop over to the DecoArt Media Blog to see all the details.

Thanks for stopping by here.

hugs Brenda xxx

Updated with DecoArt version

Christmas Triptych Decoration

by: Brenda Brown
November 28, 2019
Christmas Triptych Decoration
Christmas is just around the corner and I am in full festive mood making preparations for the holiday season. I love decorating my house both inside and out and the whole of the downstairs gets decorations added on shelves and tables, windowsills and walls and in every room! Over the years I have made several pieces of artwork as seasonal home décor, this project is going to add to my collection.

Items needed :

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Prussian Blue Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Payne's Grey
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Red
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Green-Blue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Sap Green
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Burnt Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titan Buff
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Hansa Yellow Medium
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Cadmium Red Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Metallic Silver
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Metallic Gold
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Glaze - Clear
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Modeling Paste - White
  • Snow-Tex 4oz - Snow-Tex
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 2oz - Whisper
  • Die-cuts
  • Resin Santa
  • Deer and doll
  • Bottlebrush trees
  • Paper dolls
  • Natural elements
  • Frames
  • Embellishments

Instructions :

I bought 3 frames from a well know Swedish store and changed the backboards around to make the best use of the depth for a shadowbox effect.
To start me off I gathered the mainstay of embellishments I wanted in the shadowbox, die-cuts, resin Santa and doll, paper dolls and bottle brush trees. The deer, snowflakes and natural elements came at the end when I was assembling the frames … my mantra is “The beauty is in the detail."
Step 1: Take some card for the background, give it a coat of white Gesso, heat dry and then apply a coat of Matte Decou-Page sealer. This acts as a resist and lets the next steps watery paint layers move about more freely on the substrate.

Dip the card in some watery DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Prussian Blue wash, spritz with a little water and heat dry. Repeat this step several times to cover the card and to get overlays of the colour. Also, repeat with a watery wash of Burnt Umber and heat dry.
Step 2: Mix a little Prussian Blue and some Titan Buff with a little water to get a more opaque and thicker wash and dip and dry again. This time one dip might just do it.
Step 3: Now mix the Prussian Blue with Titanium White and water to get another thicker wash and dip and dry again. This should be lighter in colour than the previous step.
Step 4: Apply Chalky Finish in Whisper through a stencil. I tried using a household sponge…..
…. and a blending tool and blending foam.
Both give different results and I like them both. You might have your own preference with it.
Step 5: Mix some Soft Touch Varnish with a tiny amount of Paynes Grey and Burnt Umber paints and add some water to make it more a wash of varnish than a thick coat. This will take the starkness of colour off of the Chalky Finish paint and seal the background at the same time.
Step 6: Now take the tree die-cuts. Stipple a coat of Sap Green, Phthalo Green-Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium and Titan Buff blending them on the card to get variations of colours. Heat dry and then give them some washes of Raw Umber and burnt umber before stippling a little Titanium White randomly over the top to look like snow. Then give them a dusting of glitter.
Step 7: Take the bottlebrush trees. With a paintbrush drip watery washes of the green paints, we have already used into the branches, heat dry and then gently brush over some white Gesso with a stiff paintbrush.
Step 8: Give the sleigh some washes of Cadmium Red and Quinacridone Magenta. Heat dry. Splatter with White and dry again before giving a wash of Magenta mixed with Burnt Umber. Again dust with glitter and add some Snow-Tex to the top of the sleigh and runners.
Step 9: Paint Santa and the little girl with the media acrylic paints and let dry. Give a very light wash of Raw Umber so that it settles in some of the cracks and heat dry carefully. Be gentle with the heat gun as these are resin models and will become moldable if made too hot. Give them a dusting of glitter to make them look frosty.
Step 10: Finger rub lightly with white gesso - rather like dry brushing and then finger paint light washes of Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Hansa Yellow Medium and Silver before adding Titanium White for the snow and add a dusting of glitter.
Step 11: Take the frames and with a palette knife and white Modeling Paste create a little texture, I paid particular attention to the corners as they had been stapled and I didn’t want them to show. When it’s dry paint over a coat of gesso and again when dry paint a coat of clear Crackle Glaze. Use Antiquing Cream to enhance the crackles when it’s dry and finish with a coat of varnish.
Step 12: Now assemble the box frames and add embellishments to complete the look to your satisfaction.
I hope you have fun with all your preparations for Christmas especially if you enjoy making your own seasonal pieces of home décor.
I know that all of you in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving today, it’s not a national day for us here in the UK but schools and churches have services and give thanks for the Harvest in the autumn. It’s still an important time of year for us.

Enjoy your celebrations as you gather family and friends together to give thanks for all the blessings of the harvest and the preceding year.

Friday 30 August 2019

Tag Friday at A Vintage Journey with new Andy Skinner stamp

It's Tag Friday over at A Vintage Journey and at last I have been inspired to make something. I have been copying over all the tags made by the amazing Creative Guides and just looking at what they have been producing inspired me to take a couple of hours at my work desk and see if I could get motivated. This is the result - a really grungy tag using one of Andy Skinner's new stamps and a small part of one of his new transfer sheets!

Process steps
1. Cover a tag with text papers and glue both the underside and topside of them using decoupage sealer/glue. Take a stencil and mix some white modeling paste with white gesso and  spread it through using a palette knife. 

2. Take some dark colours and paint and rub them over the background and dry.
3. Take white crackle paint and drag some through the stencilled textures with a palette knife. 
4. Paint, rub and spritz the same paints adding quinacridone gold to the mix and layer several washes until you are happy with the results.

5. Stamp the Plague Doctor onto an oddment of left over paper/card, tear and paint then adhere to a small rectangle of grungy background.

6. Gather some elements together to create your design and finish with a rubbing from a transfer sheet to add the word.

There we have a finished tag, the first project I have made in 6 weeks! I don't think I have ever been away from my desk for so long in all the time I have been blogging and that's 9 1/2 years!!!

I hope I can keep some momentum going now but I don't think I am going to be a prolific as I was with creating art but who knows?

I hope you can pop over to the AVJ blog to see he amazing line up we have for you to take a look at. 
A huge thank you to the wonderful Team who have kept me going and inspired me to get myself into gear today.

Thank you to you too for being here.

Have a great weekend.


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.