How exciting—I get to give something away! Several people liked the Market Bag that I posted last time (thanks so much for the love, lovers!), so I thought it would be really fun to make something to giveaway this time. The palette—Sirus IFRC—that provided the inspiration for this project comes from napkin guy and I loved working with this combination of colors. The pattern comes from Sew4Home and was designed by Alicia Thommas (edited by Liz Johnson). With the exception of omitting swivel hooks (instead I used center-release buckles), using a concealed magnetic clasp instead of a nickel one (and, of course, using my own painted canvas and a coordinating fleece), I made the project just as it was presented.
It’s really a lot of fun to make projects from canvas that you have painted and made your own mark on. The person who first got me excited about painting layers on canvas with this approach is Roxanne Padgett. I took her Luscious Layered Canvas class last spring and have been having a grand ole time ever since. I continue to experiment and try new things and new ways of making each piece uniquely my own. You’ll be seeing more projects from me where I take this path using a palette, so I thought you might like to see briefly, how I go about painting the canvas. And if you don’t want know all that, just skip to the bottom and leave a comment if you’d like to try and win this bag. I’ll never know the difference.
For what I do, I buy unprimed cotton duck in a medium weight and I typically buy it in one big folded piece (72” x 6 yards [1.83m x 5.49m]) because it’s most economical that way. If I just want to paint canvas, without a particular project in mind yet, I like to work on pieces that are about 18” x 24” (46cm x 61cm) and I usually just tear it. Sometimes—as with the project I’m showing you here—I will read the pattern to see what sizes I’m supposed to end up with and then I tear the duck to individual pieces that are about three inches bigger than I need to allow for shrinkage (when the canvas gets wet).
Before starting to paint, I like to get an entire piece of canvas wet first and I just do this in the sink. Getting it wet allows the paint to spread faster and easier. Start with one color and just make several random strokes. Then use a foam roller and work it over the entire surface to spread the color. Irregularity is good—don’t get hung up thinking you need to end up with a consistent, solid fill here. You’re just getting started!
Take a second color and just squirt some in several places. Pretend you are Jackson Pollock and just have fun flinging it on there. Work this in a bit with the roller too, but leave it more concentrated in some places and less so in others. Now you have a decent background and it’s all assorted layering techniques from here. I’ll share a few of my favorites here with you, but keep in mind, you are the artist and whatever way you do it is the right way.
Okay, so one thing I like to create are washes/gradients of color. Be sure the canvas is still wet when you do this. (Or don’t—see last sentence, previous paragraph.) Wet your brush, load it with some paint and start working it onto the canvas. Lightly dip your brush in water and keep stroking, working out in one direction from where you started. Dip it in water again and continue working in one direction as the pigment starts to fade until your brush is more or less clean. I think it looks nifty to then rotate the canvas 90 degrees and repeat with a new color.
Let’s see . . .what else? What’s really fun is to make a watery mix of paint and then just pour it onto your canvas. I then like to lift one edge of the canvas while the paint is still pooled and hasn’t fully soaked in yet, and let it run and drip. Another thing to do with a watery mix of paint is to draw with is using a palette knife.
And then the last thing I’ll share today is that one thing I love to use are stencils! Stencil application works best with a dry roller, working on dry canvas and with paint that isn’t too thin/watery. Fluid acrylics are fine—just don’t add any water to them. Squirt some paint onto your palette or a paper plate and load your roller by evenly getting paint around it. Then, just roll it over the stencil onto the canvas. Sometimes you have to work it in a couple directions to get good coverage. Hold the stencil in place firmly as you do this. (Side note: You know who has cool stencils? Mary Beth Shaw. I was inspired to use her stencils when I worked on her book, Flavor for Mixed Media, and I have used a couple of her stencils in this project.)
Repeat all of these techniques multiple times in multiple layers for the most depth and biggest impact. What happens when you make mark you don’t like? You guessed it—paint over it. No pressure. Nothing but fun here. In lieu of overpainting, another thing that I’ve found is fun to do when you don’t like something (and this only works when the paint is still wet) is to take the canvas to the sink and run it under the water to soak it, wring it out and presto! You have a whole new piece of canvas with a cool stained look over the whole thing. See? Life is full of surprises and that’s where the fun comes in.
If you want some more ideas for painting with layers, I highly recommend Flavor for Mixed Media. (Not to mention there’s some great recipes for food in this book, too!)
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So . . .enough of me talking already! Would like a shot at winning this iPad Sleeve (which can also be used as a small shoulder bag in case you don't have an iPad)?
I'd like to get to know you and your crafty interests.... so which books from the Create Mixed Media Shop are you most interested in seeing projects or techniques from?
One winner will be selected randomly and will be notified via Love Notes (make sure your notification settings are set to receive these via your email). Contest officially ends Friday, August 19th, 2011 by midnight USA PST.