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

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

10 comments:

Evelyn said...

Very lovely samples!

Angie Willis said...

Fabulous exploration of techniques as always. I love that bit of metallic lace and can imagine it in some of the beautiful pieces you make. Hope you're getting through your ill health and the current good weather (here in the SE at least!) is helping.

chrissie said...

A wonderfulselectionof your amazing work..I really enjoyed the post

Love Chrissie xx

Missy K said...


I really enjoy seeing your progress through this project.

You've inspired me to get out my flower press too :)

Take care

Karen x

Irene Donovan said...

really enjoying your blogs!

Carol Rigby said...

A good idea to experiment on tags. The result? instant mini works of art.
I love the feathers and the egg shell and will have to add the glass bead gel to my long must have list of must haves!!

A bird in the hand said...

Beautiful. Tags are such a handy substrate and I really love how you use the gel. Thank you xxx

Corrine at corrinegilman.com said...

Wonderful demos on your tags. Really like the feel of the glass bead gel with the mica powders, have to try that one out. I use Golden soft gloss to seal alot of my painting work, it's got a nice sheen to it that isn't overpowering. Amazing what we have to use in our toolboxes today.

Rest and recoup, fibro is a tough one as it's a fickle thing. xox

Magpie's Mumblings said...

So sorry you've been suffering - it has to be hard to know just how much you can do without paying the price. I guess it has to be through trial and error. I enjoying seeing your samples once again. I have some gel in my stash and haven't used it for anything but glorified glue. Now I might be tempted to do something different with it. Take care of you.

Julie said...

I'm really sorry to hear you're not too well Carolyn. I hope you can get lots of rest and 'me time' and feel much better soon. Your gel samples are inspiring. I'm pretty sure I've got several in my studio that haven't sen the light of day in years.