Friday, January 25, 2008


This week I have been conducting classes in Creative Paint Techniques using Golden Products. We arranged these classes for School Art Teachers to enable them to become familiar with these products. As Golden has only been available in Australia for around two years, the name is not well recognised in the art community in Western Australia and we want to make them aware of this wonderful product. For this first class five different products were used, crackle paste, light moulding paste, high solid gel, clear tar gel and absorbent ground. We used book board covers and 300gsm smooth arches watercolor paper.
Above is the cover on book board. The right side is crackle paste and on the right light moulding paste. The pattern on the light moulding paste is created with foam alphabet stamps and the fern like leaf pattern in the middle I used a small branch of leaves from the carpark out the back of the shop. When using the light moulding paste the stamps and the leaves must be wet as are any other tools you use to create the pattern. I have brushed on a variety of fluid colours jenkins green, paynes gray, raw sienna, burnt umber, micaceous iron oxide, green gold, transparent red iron oxide (love the warm iron red colour this created), a wash of iridescent bronze which softens it all with a lovely verdigris colour that develops when water is added to this colour and finally I dry brushed the heavy body iridescent copper to highlight the patterns.
Because the light moulding paste and crackle paste are absorbent you get a lovely soft blend of matte colours and if you spray a light spray of water every now and then while you are painting the colours blend into each other taking away any sharp edges.
This piece I have used the crackle medium to create a faux fresco. This is created by spreading the paste in a 3mm depth and while it is still wet (you need to do this within an hour of spread) using fluids paint a fresco scene. I used titanium white mixed with diarylide yellow for background, a touch of quin red mixed in for the flowers, jenkins green for the leaves and diarylide yellow straight for the stamens. I did this on the water colour paper which did tend to curl, I should have gesso'd both sides which stops the curling or used a more rigid substrate. Not all the cracks have shown up in the photo copy but they are there believe me, I love this effect
as it drys the cracks pull the paint apart.
In this sample I used the tar gel, what a fun product, this sample I created a resist. You must not stir the tar gel as it forms bubbles and then you need to leave the tar gel a couple of hours before you use it. I created this pattern free form using a thin bamboo stick that you use for making kebabs, but a palette knife creates fatter lines. For this method you dip your tool into the tar gel and then dribble it around into a pattern on your paper. You could try drawing a pattern and one of the students drew some lines with a felt pen and painted some fluids onto a small area of her paper and let dry before scribbling the tar gel on, this created a nice layered dimension when she added more fluid paints watered down over the top of the dry tar gel medium. I watered down the diarylide yellow quite a lot and then added touches of titanium white and quin red. Jenkins green was also mixed in to give an outline of the pattern the blue cerulean blue deep. To soften all the colours a watered mixture of Iridescent bronze was washed over the top. I think I would like to play around with product a bit more to see what effects I could get.

This last sample is using the high solid gel gloss. For those of you who haven't used this product we use it because it dry clear and quicker than the other gel mediums. It is non absorbent creating a lovely base to apply floats of colour on top. Layer a thick coat of high solid gel onto your substrate in this case water colour paper, I laid about a thickness of 5mm then used the end of my paint brush to create most of my pattern and sequin waste rolled and pressed in (looks a bit like snake skin) and a used plastic bubble that tablets come in now. Leave to dry this can take 8 hours but you can speed it up a bit by putting in the sun for several hours or use the heat gun making sure you do not go too close as it will cause it to blister. This tip applys to all acrylic products. I allowed my sample to dry overnight. I applied washes of dioxazine purple, paynes gray and turquoise Phthalo, allowed to dry and then a wash of irredescent bronze, I think these colours give the lovely colours of paua shell. We will be holding more of these workshops around the middle of the year as well as at the Melbourne Art Journey Retreat. I really enjoyed teaching these workshops, some of the products I hadn't used before and found they added a new dimension to my work and of course it helps to have used the products when talking to customers.If you look on Jo's blog you will see she has been very creative while at home looking after her five children (my grandchildren) over the school holidays. If you have any queries on any of these samples please don't hesitate to comment and I will answer.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A new year and exciting things to come

At dusk the other night after a sweltering 40 degrees celcius I glanced out my studio window to the most amazing red sunset. A storm had been forcast and the closeness of the air made it seem possible. We are in the middle of suburbia so there was no room to get a more open sky photo but the light reflecting of the rooftops seems rather magical to me. The storm didn't amount to much but the temperatures did drop down again the next day. Reading Nina's blog I am so full of envy of her cocooned in her snowbound hideaway, I just love the snow, but as an asthmatic I dont cope to well in very cold weather, so I am grateful that for 9 months of the year we have very mild warm weather, even if at times it is a little too warm, it is a lot better for me health wise. I look forward to 2008 with renewed enthusiasm, Joannne and I have lots of exciting things we want to incorporate into our business. Before Christmas I made some special cards for my three special sisters, Sharon, Phillipa and Paddy. These are only the sort of cards you make for special people who you know will appreciate the time and love put into each little card.

Sharon's card in shades of blue, pinks and apricots, colours that I think she would like. They remind me of the beautiful native flowers that she grows with so much love and care in her business Protea Magic in Queensland.

Phillipa's card is in soft apricot and creams, as Phil is a real Francophile I have put little fleur de lis charms and cut outs, touch of vintage lace her first love is vintage, have a look at her website shabby chateau you will see what I mean, and an image of a lovely shabby old door which is so her.

Paddy's card is all in creams, very dainty and feminine just like her. Paddy lives in Auckland, New Zealand, the last of our family still living in our homeland. These cards have been made with techniques I learnt when doing a class with Beryl Taylor, her work is truly beautiful. We will be making more of these cards to sell for only very special people. Joanne will be putting a vintage section in the online shop and we will be adding special peices that we make to sell. They will all be handmade originals so keep an eye out. We also will be putting a vintage items for sale as well. Well as I have spent the last 3 hours trying to reconcile the bank account on the computor, I am afraid we had paid someone to do the books for us, but he has had to find full time work, so I have decided to do it myself after 30 odd years of bookkeeping for other business's. I actually have enjoyed doing, especially as all the backlog had been caught up. But this blessed Bank rec had me baffled, I have never used this accounting program so that was a learning curve as well. But being of stubborn nature and not one to let something get the better of me I finally figured it out whewww! feels good