Saturday, August 16, 2008

Background Technique

I'm hostessing an UGRA gathering in September. I'll be leading a project for some really amazing artist, so I've been working on the invitations to start things off right. Last night I pulled out some watercolor paper and started playing
I combined a number of techniques to achieve the final look. The first was a background technique I stumbled onto at Technique Tuesday:
Materials List:
  • Canvas, or Watercolor Paper
  • White Gesso
  • 3 Acrylic Paint Colors
  • Paint Tray or Wells
  • Spray Bottle w/Water
  • 2” Bristle Brush
  • Assorted Script and/or Design Rubber Stamps
  • Heat Gun (Optional)
  • Water down the acrylic paints: approx. 1 part paint, to 3 parts water.
  • Set your darkest paint color aside, do not use it until step 4.
(Note: I use inexpensive acrylic craft paints that have been watered down to about 1 part paint to 3 parts water. Once I have nearly empty bottles, I just add water to the bottle and shake it up. If you're starting with a fresh bottle and there is obviously no room for water, use a watercolor pan and put a pea sized blob of paint in a paint well and then add water. For those of you who are thrifty...this makes a bottle of paint last a LONG time!!)

Let’s Play!:
  1. Give your canvas a generous coat of white gesso. Allow to dry. (Note: I speed dry this with my heat gun or a hairdryer)
  2. Give the canvas (or paper) a wash with a single color of paint. (Note: I start with a wash of yellow because it is a light- you should start with the lightest color in your palette and work towards the darkest). Allow to dry.
  3. Brush a second color of paint around the edges of the canvas. Do not cover the entire canvas, leave some of the base color peeking through. Allow to dry. (Note: Cheap brushes are great for this because they give texture to the thinned paint)
  4. Apply a thin layer of your darkest color over the entire canvas. DO NOT DRY THIS!!! Using the water bottle, spritz over portions of your canvas. Let the water sit for a few minutes, then blot off the excess paint.
  5. Brush your favorite rubber stamps with a layer of gesso and randomly stamp it on the canvas. Allow to dry.
  6. Choose one of your 3 paint colors, and brush a light wash of it over your stamping. (Note: If you’d like the stamping to stand out more, then skip this step and leave it white.)

Paulette Install also taught this method in her Organic Backgrounds class with some variation. The effect is really unique. After I did steps 1 thru 4, I played with some more paint. I added additional layers of color and repeated step 4 over and over again. Once I worked my background to the pattern and colors I wanted, I stamped with gesso but I did it differently with each piece.

On one , I stamped an angel image all over the page and after a few moments, wiped the images to give them a ghostly look. Then I did step six. This was my husbands favorite piece.

On another, I stamped a paisley image all over the page and let it dry. Then I cut up bits of fibers and sprinkled them around the page. I melted white candle wax and dripped it on top of the fibers to adhere them. I dripped additional puddles of wax and sprinkled lime glitter over them. I love the texture!
With the 3rd page, I used the paisley stamp again but I poured a glitter embossing powder on top and then hit it with the heat gun. I LOVE this page - the glitter plays off the assorted colors and gives the page a lot of movement. (photo at the top of the page)

These are the paper towels I used to blot the excess paint after spritzing. Aren't they pretty? I use Viva which are super strong. I will try to think of some way to use these in some other project.

I will be cutting these pages into squares and mounting them onto recycled junk mail for the UGRA invites. I'll post the finished card when it is done!

I've finished a few UGRA projects lately. Here are some pics of the overall project, some of the other artist's and my contributions.

This project is entitled "It's my story and I'm sticking with it" - each person creates a mini album with their story and a visual depiction to follow.

The pieces above and below were the work of a very talented artist in UGRA. She is amazing!

The pics below are of my entry...

The project below is a garden themed explosion book. It was such a FUN project to work on because I've seen the recipients garden and it is truly an oasis.

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