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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Leaves and Bird Collage - Finished!

A few little touches finished the piece.

First, I added color washes to the background, using thinned fluid acrylics.

I added a minimal background to the bird drawing by adding a bit of the collaged tissue paper behind the bird.  I chose a piece of tissue with a very light green.  To add it only behind the bird, I put the adhesive all around the bird, bringing it right up to the edge, but not over, the bird.  I then pressed the tissue paper in place.  When the adhesive dried, I could cut away the part over the bird.  I deepened the green around the edge, and added some line work suggesting leaves and twining branches sort of arranged like a crown.  I then added another layer of adhesive - Liquitex Mat Gel - around the bird and sprinkled small snippets of silver foil over it.

As for the real background I stenciled the leaves with copper acrylic paint, then added the tiny light turquoise dots.

Finally, I glued the bird onto a piece of corrugated cardboard then glued the cardboard in place.  This raises the bird a bit from the surface.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Every Branch Needs a Bird

I drew and painted a little chipping sparrow for the center of the piece. I did the bird on Strathmore drawing paper - first with pencil, then added colored pencil, and finally a bit of fluid acrylic for the darkest parts.  I tore the bird out and glued it onto a backing. For the backing, I used some unusual paper I had sitting around, and don't really know what it is, but it's quite thick and textured.  To tear the piece, I dampened the paper where I wanted to tear it, then tore along the edge of a metal ruler.

Another Stencil Project

I have so enjoyed working with stencils that I make on my Cricut machine, that I've decided to do another set - this time of leaves.  I made five stencils: four different leaves and then a fifth one that was a smaller version of one of the others.  Which brings up another thing I like about the Cricut process:  once you do your drawing, you can make different sizes of it for different applications.

Anyway, I began with a simple paper collage then added washes of greens and blues.  I stenciled my leaves on several sheets of tissue paper, using white gesso.  When the gesso was dry, I applied washes of watercolor which tinted the paper but left the leaf design essentially white.  I then added pieces of the tissue paper until I had a design that I liked. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Custom Frame

Whenever I can, I like to avoid actual frames and make the painting frame itself.  Here I'm creating a "custon frame" on a piece of 1/4" thick hardboard.  I began by spraying the entire board with white primer from the hardware store.

Next I applied my first layer of collage.  I want this frame to be neutral in color, so I chose several papers from my stash that are neutral - including the very light green from an old Sunset Western Garden book because I  know the central subject will be a landscape, and green will go with that.

Before, I have always avoided the straight edges of my papers, but this time I used them along the edges and in the corners of the board.  I'm tearing my papers, and laying them down in fairly large chunks.  I just pick somewhere to begin and go from there, using Liquitex Mat gel medium as my adhesive.  I also put the medium over the paper.  My only guideline in this layer is that I generally want the bottom part to be darker than the top.

Then I used a ruler to make a light pencil mark 5" in from all the edges and applied a layer of white gesso within the center area, but being a bit fuzzy on the edges.

Then I put a wash of white gesso over the collage, thinner in some places, and thicker in others.  I also added another layer of gesso in the center part.

Now on to the next layer of collage.  I'm using smaller pieces here.  I want lots of richness in the texture.

Next, another wash of gesso, and a third layer of gesso in the center.

Now to tone the whole frame area with a wash of Raw Sienna.  I'm using Golden fluid acrylics.  I darkened a few places with a bit of Light Burnt Umber wash.

For the final step, I added a third layer of collage using tissue paper that I had stenciled with a leaf design using the white gesso.  I made the stencils from my own drawings using my Cricut machine.

Here's a detail.  You can see that in a very few places in the bottom part of the frame, I left a few small areas uncovered with the tissue - the darker pieces, like the dart shape coming in from the left at the bottom of the photo.

Now on to the main painting - hope I don't ruin this frame!

Finished with Twigs!

This is the finished piece.  The final step was to add the twigs at the top.  I've had these branches inside for several months, so I know they're really dry and won't shrink.  When I first held them in place, I didn't like them.  They were too dark.  So I got our my craft knife and whittled the bark off.  When I was done, the twigs were nicely mottled and matched the colors in the rabbits.

I didn't glue them in place.  Instead, I drilled pairs of little holes into the board and attached the twigs with small pieces of copper wire around the branch, threaded through the holes, and then twisted in back.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Almost Finished

The only part of the piece that I continued to work with was the lower left corner where I added more washes.  I also added the text around the outside edge of the curve as the top.

Then I added the gold rim by first applying an edge of Golden Coarse Molding paste, using my finger to apply it.  It took overnight to dry.  Then I painted Jaquard Lumiere Bright Gold over the molding paste, covering it carefully with a brush.

Just one more step...