A few weeks ago, I had ordered some cradled birch panels to use for mixed media painting. I needed a rigid surface that would stand up to plaster, molding paste, or whatever else I threw on it (or at it). They don't warp, and the 1 5/8" profile gives my paintings a formal, gallery-ready look. Have you ever purchased art materials that were so nice, you were afraid to use them for fear of wasting them, or worse, wrecking them? I finally decided it was worth the risk. Sure enough, my first attempt was less than successful. After getting over feeling depressed, I peeled, scraped and sanded the surface. In the process, I learned something. If you want to overcome fear of failure, allow yourself to make some mistakes. Suddenly, it's not so scary anymore.
Cup of Color
10" x 10" x 1 5/8"
Mixed Media on Cradled Birch Panel
After I removed the evidence of my earlier disaster, the surface was less than perfectly smooth. No matter. I like a textured surface, so I began by applying a layer of molding paste. When it was dry, I sanded it to even it out. I wanted to divide it, so I applied a strip of blue painter's tape. I washed in the bottom with Yellow Oxide. When it was dry, I glazed over it with Cadmium Orange Hue.
I removed the tape and glazed the top with Medium Magenta.
I then glazed over the edges on top with Brilliant Purple.
I tore a piece of a vintage French dictionary page and attached it to the surface with matte gel medium. I then layered more glazes over it.
I wanted my focal point to stand out from the background, so I used lower intensity versions of my paint colors on the background. I added small amounts of Neutral Mixing Gray to them to tone them down. When I painted the cup in Cobalt Teal, I used the pure color without any gray. The shadowed areas are Cobalt Teal + Gray. Another way to bring your subject forward is to have a busier background. Patterns such as the painted circles here can accomplish this. I was careful to limit contrast between them and the background color. I used Cadmium Orange Hue and Brilliant Yellow Green mixed with gray.
I wanted more variation in texture. The white areas are where I smeared some patches of crackle paste. I also based in the pattern of circles coming out of the cup. At the bottom, I transferred pieces of an inkjet print of an antique eye chart using gel medium.
Crackle paste is really fun to work with. Just smear it on, give it some time, and you have instant "age".
I added more glazes of color over the crackle paste.
I painted in the centers of the circles and added some dimension to them. I also added a cast shadow from the cup.
I defined the edges of the cup with a General's Carbon Sketch pencil. Next, I turned my attention to balancing the composition. The leaves in the upper right corner are based on a Dover image. I drew on the back of a piece of patterned paper and then cut out the image. Using matte gel medium, I attached it to the surface. I added some glazes from the colors on my palette.
I transferred the butterfly diagram to the surface with gloss gel medium. Using a liner brush, I added some accent lines to the leaves.
For the finishing touches: I cut out the shape of a spoon from paper and adhered it to the surface with gel medium. Using Carbon Black, Neutral Mixing Gray, and Nimbus Gray, I painted the spoon. I added white highlights and reflected colors from my palette. Using the carbon pencil, I outlined the spoon. I added a few more gel medium transfers on the cup and the background. Finally, using Chromium Green Oxide, I glazed around the bottom edges.
I will be linking to Paint Party Friday and Pink Saturday. Please click on the icons in my right sidebar and check out all of the wonderful contributions of my friends. On Friday, November 16, I will be the guest blogger for Cheryl Cope - Christian Women's Life, Weight Loss and Creativity Coach. Please join me as I share some thoughts on my life, my faith, and my art. I will provide the link for you again tomorrow. Have a wonderful evening and thank you so much for taking your valuable time to visit me. I treasure each and every one of your visits and comments. God bless you!
Until next time,