It’s a year since I began this blog, and I’ve not been near it for 9 months….
I’ve decided to go through an art journal which I made and filled this spring whilst teaching two evening classes at Gredelin, the art shop where I work in Norrköping. I made the book out of two sheets of watercolour paper, 56cm x 76 cm. By folding and tearing the paper and then sewing it together down the middle, you can create a wonderful book. I can’t take the credit for it – in fact an artist called Teesha Moore has two youtube films on how to do it. She uses inches instead of cm. The 56 x 76 cm paper is actually easier to divide up if you use inches. The 76 cm length of the paper is 30 inches, and the height of the paper is 24 inches. I may do an instruction video in Swedish later if it’s too complicated…:)
My inspiration for the artwork in the journal has been plant life, seedpods, etc. I’ve worked with mixed media throughout the book, trying out stencils, stamps, gelliprints etc.
Here’s the front page:
I started by gluing down pages from old Swedish schoolbooks, geography books with botanical sketches, and music books with old songs and music notes. Then I painted over the pages with a thin layer of gesso, taking care not to cover the text too much. I had taken some photos of amaryllis flowers around Christmas time so I used an Inktense pencil and sketched onto the page. Then, using Golden fluid acrylics – which are very highly pigmented and great to water down, I worked loosely with blues and yellows over the page. I used an amazing red which Golden produce, called Pyrrole Red for the amaryllis flowers, adding Permanent Maroon to the shadows. Finally I filled in the stamens, and the lighter parts with a mixture of Nickel Azo Yellow and gesso.
This past weekend I taught a weekend course in Arkösund. 10 lovely ladies and a fine gentleman were my students, and we had the best time. We worked on two main projects which incorporated several different techniques. The most popular was the gelli-printing. I took lots of photos during the weekend so I decided to make a film of all the stills.
I’ve been working on some paintings to put in the window of Gredelin Art Shop where I work. The new window display is all about the courses we have at Gredelin. I’ve also made films about the other two artists who teach with me, Fredrick and Owe. You can see them here and here.
As I was painting the above paintings I took photos at different stages and then I put them in a film, showing the different steps I used and then some close ups of the finished paintings.
In one of the courses I held in the spring this year at Gredelin, we had ethnic peoples, and prints as a theme. The students made gelli-prints using a range of stencils I had made myself using a heat tool and document dividers. I found patterns in books and on line, using fabrics from all the different continents and then traced over them with a marker pen onto the plastic, Then working on top of a sheet of glass to protect the table, I used the heat tool to “cut” out the holes in the pattern. I bought the heat tool at Clas Ohlsson for 129 kr.
I also collected photos from old National Geographic magazines, not to copy completely but as inspiration and to see the different features of the various ethnic peoples.
In the film I’m showing today, I used a picture of some Mexican ladies with their beautiful shawls and I decided to use the gelli-prints as a base to paint over, using the patterns to colour in with acrylic paint…
To paint the turquoise flowers, I used a squeezy bottle with a rollerball tip. I poured some Teal Golden Fluid acrylic into the bottle and added a little water. The tip is fantastic and makes drawing with paint really easy:
To watch the film click on the following link:
“Using gelli-prints as a basis for pattern”
Today I’m showing how to use watercolour on top of Fiber Paste. Because of the amount of water used in watercolour painting, and Fiber Paste’s absorbent qualities, you can get fantastic results, which are even more exaggerated than if you work on rough textured paper.
You’ll see in the film that I use Intense pencils a lot. The fact that they dry permanently on any surface after initially being diluted with water means that the pencil strokes are still there however much I paint over them, and personally I like that characteristic…
I use Daniel Smith watercolours almost exclusively now that I’ve discovered them, mostly because of the huge assortment of unusual pigments they provide, and the granulation effects, like with Lunar Blue used here in the background…
So check out the film here: Fiber Paste 2 – Watercolour
There are so many acrylic mediums on the market, and all the jars look the same, so if you haven’t tried them out it’s difficult to know which to choose, and for what…
So I thought I’d take one medium at a time and show how I use them in my artwork. Today I’ve chosen Fiber Paste. Fiber Paste is like thick meringue in consistency with bits of coconut added. Yummy.
You can spread it on any surface and it’s like rough watercolour paper when dry. It absorbs paint so it’s great for either acrylics or watercolours. I’ve made my first film using acrylics and tomorrow I hope to show how to use it with watercolours…
Click on the title here to watch the film: Fiber Paste Part 1
I collect stuff. Stuff that might come in useful… It’s become a bit of a mania actually, though I’m doing my best to control it. Here’s some of the stuff I collect – papers. All kinds of papers. Structured wallpapers from the 80’s, old sheet music, old schoolbooks from the 1940’s, tissue, rice paper, corrugated cardboard in masses of different sizes and patterns – if you can glue it onto a canvas, I’ll save it.
At the moment I love texture in my paintings, and I like using papers to create a base to work on, so I’ve made a film on how I go about it. Once again I’m working on Montval 300g watercolour paper, but this time I’m gluing stuff on top so its almost completely covered. Then I’ve used something called Acrylic Ground for Pastels, by Golden, which is an almost transparent ground feeling like the finest sandpaper when dry and which becomes a perfect surface to receive any kind of drawing tool, pencil, crayons, charcoal, pastel, you name it. After sketching up the head with an Inktense pencil (colour: Bark) I then painted her in Golden Heavy Body acrylics, which have a heavier consistency and dry quickly. Here’s a detail when I’m half way through…
The colours I used were Titanium White, Naples Yellow, Permanent Maroon, Paynes Gray, Burnt Umber and Nickel Azo Yellow. I like to use a bit of Paynes Gray (which is in the background) in the skin, the hair, her blouse etc. to unite the picture somewhat. I also left the printed papers coming through, so I didn’t paint so that they were completely covered.
Here are a couple of close ups, and here’s the film – just click on the title below:
Working on a textured surface
One of the things I love about painting in watercolour is the effects you can get with the different pigments used in the paint. I have many favourite colours in several different brands, Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, etc. so I thought I would do a quick painting to show off the characteristics of the various paints. Daniel Smith paints are very exciting. They are made (many of them) from rocks that have been found in different parts of the world, taken back to the USA and ground down into pigments to make watercolour paints. The effects you get when you paint with these paints is that the various pigments float around in the water on the surface of the watercolour paper and granulate, that is, they separate and make marvellous textures…
If you click on the picture above to enlarge it you can see what I’m talking about. I also love using Derwent Inktense pencils in my work. I use Inktense pencils with both watercolour and acrylics since they are both water-soluble and permanent when they dry and can even therefore be used on a canvas with acrylic paints. I’ll talk more about them in another post.
The paper I used is 300g Montval watercolour paper, which I tend to use as a kind of mixed media paper, but actually the effects from the watercolours show up more on a slightly higher quality paper, such as Saunders Waterford NOT, 300g.
Here’s the film and you can see the process involved in painting these onions… click here: Onions in Watercolour
As much fun as it is printing gelli prints, what do you do with them???
Good question – it’s very easy to get carried away and just print them for the sake of it, and I do – believe me! But how can you use these amazing prints in real artwork. I thought I would show one of the ways I use them. If you have read the “About me” page on this blog, you’ll already know that my degree was in Fashion and textiles, so I’m very interested in figures and patterns. My first freelance job was as a fashion illustrator for H&M in Stockholm, and I come back to figures, faces, patterns, the whole time.
I’ve made a film – see the link below – where I’ve used a photo in an old National Geographic magazine to inspire me to do a picture using the printed papers for the woman’s clothing. I started by sketching up the woman on 300g Montval watercolour paper, using a Derwent Inktense pencil (colour: Bark). Then after gluing the prints onto the body, I painted the face using Golden Fluid acrylics, which are great on watercolour paper as they are so fluid, yet highly pigmented that they keep their colour strength even when watered down.
The colours I used were Violet Oxide, Prussian Blue, Raw Umber, and Titan Buff (an opaque creamy colour, instead of white). I wanted the colours to match the colours in the prints I was using, and together they mix to a great assortment of warm/cool greys. I actually added a glaze of Prussian blue after I’d finished filming, as you can see here, below….
Ok, so here’s the film…. Using printed papers in my artwork
Two years ago I was in Brussels on a marvellous 4 day course with Golden Acrylic Paints where I became a Golden Artist Educator. I learned all I could about these wonderful acrylic paints, mediums and varnishes and I’ve been using them ever since. There are three different acrylic paints in the Golden line. Heavy Body – which are traditional acrylics in a wide variety of colours, Fluid acrylics – which are highly pigmented, more flowing in the consistency, and OPEN acrylics – which have a much longer open time and don’t dry as quickly as the other two. I can sometimes have them on my palette for up to five days and they are still perfectly usable. Each one of these paints have qualities I love, but OPEN really do it for me. I love printing in all forms and therefore the slow drying time really lends itself to these techniques.
Yesterday I decided to make a little film on gelli printing, I’ve made gelatine plates before using glycerine and gelatine powder, but they smell like a wet dog, and break up after one session, so I was thrilled to be sent a Gelli Arts gelli plate from the US. It’s like a slab of silicone which gives a perfect result every time. Now we sell them in our art shop in Norrkoping. You can do figurative monoprints on them of course but I love making patterns with them using hand made stencils. I use document dividers and a heat tool from Clas Ohlsson to melt out the shapes (easy but do it in a ventilated room). I may do a blog post on how to later on, but till then here’s the link to the film….
Printing with a gelli plate