"I begin with an idea ... and then it becomes something else"
~ Picasso

Friday, 28 April 2017

Surface Treatment Workshop - weeks 9 and 11

for week 9 of the Surface Treatment Workshop
my sister Evelyn and I explored the properties of Golden Medium Fiber Paste

Fiber Paste  is a runny white paste with a grainy texture
which can be applied to paper to make it flexible like a fabric
and, once dried, has many uses and applications


I used a palette knife to apply some of the paste to a few sheets of A4 paper and left to dry

for my first few samples I tried printing some vintage images on the fibrous paper
by loading the fiber paste paper into the paper tray of my inkjet printer


you can see that the fiber paste paper has an intense grain
and a lot of the detail was lost compared to regular printing (below)
so, personally, I'm not really keen on the effect so the "grain" is a negative thing for me

Evelyn printed a couple of her photos in colour and hers were lovely


below ... just playing with the depth of field
and giving the woman big feet and long legs 😊


the next few samples are about embedding ...

"snippets" can be embedded in wet fiber paste and, when dry, it can be painted too
I decided to check out these qualities by making a collage
using up snippets of fabric and cutting up pieces of art work


I spread fiber paste over an A4 sheet of paper (100gsm) with a palette knife
then quickly added snippets of fabric and bits of artwork into the wet paste ... then left to dry

the paste was like glue and the snippets were very well embedded in the paste


then I painted around the snippets using watered down acrylics
and blending the colours with more water


next I ironed on gold foil which picked up and highlighted the texture


some details ...


then I cut up into six pieces and re-arranged

now a lovely positive thing about fiber paste on paper is that it's very flexible
it gives a sheet of paper the quality of a fabric
which means that I'm able to sew into my little samples if I wish
and now I'm beginning to like fiber paste ...


I also used the fiber paste through a stencil
when the fiber paste was dry I painted with acrylics and h2o paints
and later I ironed on some gold to enhance


and ... finally it's possible to rust fiber paste paper ...





samples below are ...

left - rusting in wet fiber paste
right - rusting after the fiber paste has dried


and now we are on week 11 - drawing grounds
and I'm finally glad to be up to date again!

creating a drawing grounds means preparing a surface
on which you can draw, paint, make marks or add colour
over, perhaps, collaged, textured or uneven bases

examples of drawing grounds are clear gesso, gels and matt mediums
and they work by sealing layers and providing a bit of "tooth"
to a surface in preparation for creative design
I created a simple collaged base using pieces of old artwork torn up and randomly placed
then I chose to use matt medium gel as my drawing ground
which I applied in several thick layers over the top of the collage

then I cut up into six pieces ...

some details from three of the pieces

next I applied a little shimmering copper acrylic and then more gel
so that my drawing ground was ready to take paint, pencil and oil pastel, etc.

I worked a few mussel shells using different media

collage with cut up prints, bubble wrap, acrylics, shimmering copper acrylics
Golden matt medium gel, drawing and painting mussel shells with acrylics and watercolour

printed papers, gel medium, copper shimmer acrylics, more gel medium
mussel shell painted with acrylics and watercolour pencils

collage with vintage baby in a bunny outfit, papers, artwork, gel medium, acrylics and salt

mixed media collage with printed papers, cut up artwork, silk, chiffon, metal foil
vintage sewing paper, acrylics and matt medium gel
then using a watercolour wash to fill in

detail - collage using prints from week 1 of the Surface Treatment Workshop
as well as metal foil, silk, sellotape transfer and vintage sewing paper

detail - collaged prints, mark making with sellotape transfer
acrylics and watercolour wash with salt

collage, prints, gold chiffon, silver foil, hand dyed silk,
painted bubble wrap, copper shimmer acrylic, matt medium gel
and mussel shells in watercolour pencil

mussel shell texture with salt

collage with bits of tag from last week's STW, monoprints and sewing paper
mussel shells in watercolour pencil and scratched into
waxy textured tag, copper shimmer, sewing paper and sequin

that's the six little square pieces done ... albeit a little curly around the edges
but they will flatten out when I glue them in my dedicated STW sketchbook

and, finally, I had a tag left over from last week
so I applied some gelli printed tissue paper over the tag
then covered Golden matt medium gel as a drawing ground

next I added some white paint then when dry
I practised a little freeing up exercise

"four bottles"


with my left hand looking at objects instead of the artwork
loose drawing using crayon, oil pastel and artist pen

mark making with oil pastel and artist pen


Evelyn and I are both looking forward to week 12 of the Surface Treatment Workshop
we are playing with gold leaf and I always enjoy a bit of bling!

thank you for reading ...
I hope you are inspired to get out your gels and play

be free ... have fun!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Surface Treatment Workshop - weeks 7 and 10

I got a little behind with the Surface Treatment Workshop last week

I did work on various samples but struggled with my fibro, headaches and asthma
and generally felt under the weather through exhaustion from preparing for Stitch St. Ives

it meant such a lot to me to be able to take part in the show and to meet people
and afterwards I felt I was ok at first but it caught up with me ... so I had to give in and rest

if you follow along ... you will be used to me disappearing without warning now and again
but it is my intention to push through it this year and get back to a working routine in my studio
and this project - The Surface Treatment Workshop - has really helped me
to get in the studio, to develop my art practice and work with new products



we also got a little out of sequence
because, sometimes, we have to order new products in specially
and have to wait for them to turn up in the mail
so you may have noticed that we skipped to week 8 to work with gesso
while we were waiting for gels and fiber paste to arrive

for these samples we decided to combine week 7 (gels)
with week 10 (making our own speciality gels)
as a lot of the prompts for gels were quite similar

and as there were quite a few ideas for using gels I decided to work smaller samples
and created a series of hand made tags to help me contain them


for the tag below I used Golden medium gel mixed with a little gold acrylic paint
to embed tissue paper and paper lace onto a collaged background

I covered the collaged tag with quite a thick layer of transparent matte gel
and added pressed flowers into the gel

the gel acts like a glue and a sealer in one
and after using it to secure placed paper or objects
the excess gel medium can be wiped away for a neat finish

it was a particularly good product to use with the delicate flower petals


you can see I have applied the gel really thickly on the tag / sample below
using the gel to adhere a green sweetie wrapper and some scrim to the tag

I also used the gel to collage a tapestry yarn wrapper to the tag
and sprinkled gold mica powder into the wet gel


the gel dried transparent and then I added a pressed flower
and you can just make out subtle hints of shimmery mica on top of the tag

I also discovered that gels over collage (when dried)
make excellent drawing grounds with pencil or artist pen
but we cover drawing grounds next week ... so more on that another time ...


gels can be mixed with paints for colour
and thick molding pastes for extra texture (below)

and here I'm using up excess paint from my palette
which I mixed into the gel and used on my tag backgrounds
and pressing more springtime flowers in the gel

I used a palette knife to apply the paint and gel on the tags


feathers embed in gel quite easily and lay nice and flat
I added an extra layer of gel to seal ... so I could paint over if I wanted ...
now moving on to speciality gels ...

these are really just shop bought textured gels or
hand made gels made by adding "bits" to the gel before painting and applying


I mixed up some gel medium to which I added turquoise acrylic paint
and then applied it to the little tag through a stencil
once dry ... I added ash (from the wood burner) pressed into the wet gel
then tapped the excess ash off before applying more gel to seal
and when dry I painted with h2o watercolour paints


this one below is broken egg shell pieces stuck down with lots of gel
and I also used fine sawdust for one sample


this is Golden glass bead gel below ... a rather fun product to try



Golden glass bead gel looks like quite a runny white / semi-transparent paste
which can be applied as thickly or thinly as you wish ...

it has tiny little glass beads already mixed in ...


as the gel dries it turns transparent but with a sort of wet look
which really enhances the shimmery little glass beads

before it dried out ... I sprinkled mica powder into the gel
and, because it is basically a glue, I embedded a shell and a little piece of lace


in summary I would say gels are a lot of fun to play with
and are useful for layering and acting as a glue and a sealer in one
that's not to say that there may be cheaper products out there that are just as efficient

also this week ... I got some transparent Powertex liquid to play with


it's basically a product that stiffens and hardens fabrics and threads
so that it can be moulded and sculpted into vessels or art forms

I've had my first play with it and created a small bowl
(which, I have to say, I'm not enamoured with)
and I'm not sure I'm all that keen on the smell of Powertex either
but that may be muted when the vessel is painted

however, I have also applied it to this piece of metallic lace
which did interest me greatly for the project I have in mind

I'm looking for a lacy fine art texture with distressed holes and threads
to which I can add some stitched barnacles and/or seaweed for vessels for exhibition


next up ... I will share week 9 - fiber paste samples (by way of catch up)
and Evelyn has already posted hers if you would like to see
then we are back on track again

hope you enjoyed seeing the samples
and following along with the Surface Treatment Workshop