Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Project Rust - how to make rust paper

Rust Paper
I was wondering how to make rust paper.  It sounded like something that I needed to know how to do.  Its actually quite easy - here's how
Metal objects that rust placed on water color paper

  1. Items that will rust - various shapes or one consistent shape like a washer
  2. Watercolor paper - I used Arches 90lb hot press because I wanted smooth paper
  3. A spray bottle
  4. White vinegar
  5. Bleach

First off you want to do this in a well ventilated area or outside.  I chose to be inside the garage but I did have the doors open while I was working on this project.   Wear gloves - bleach is kinda harsh stuff.  I gathered up a bunch of miscellaneous items that rust.  Most of them were already rusty so they were easy to identify.  Try to pick items that have a lot of surface that touches the paper.  Some of the things in the photo above didn't have good surface to paper contact.

I laid a protective substrate on my garage floor.  I used plywood but cardboard would work to.  In the spray bottle mix 1 part bleach and 1 part vinegar and start spraying.  I wet things down really well and flipped them over so the wet side was touching the paper.  Once everything was sprayed, I covered the surface with an old sheet.  You can also use a second piece of paper.  Then leave it overnight.  The next day you should have rust paper.  On the second day I re wet everything with the spray bottle mixture and moved the items around a bit to get more even rusting across the paper.  I left it for another night.  I was happy with the results over the two days and stopped at that point.  Now I have a sheet of really beautiful rusted paper that I can use in my art projects.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pay It Forward Art Project, Creating Art and Sending Art Out into the World

Its been a full week of ripping, folding, sewing, painting, waxing and painting some more.  Its been fun and different and full of enjoyment.  Its been a week of preparing and finishing art to send out into the world.  For the Pay It Forward Art Project, I promised to send out artwork to 5 people in return for them doing the same - well my 5 turned into 8.  Three in Australia, two in Germany, one in Scotland and two in the US.

Pay It Forward Art Project
They are all different, they are all originals and they all went out on Wednesday.  I hope they bring artful joy to their recipients.  Thanks to those who participated.  Maybe I'll do it again later in the year. 

On the Way


Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Artful Journey, Mixed Media and Chickadee

Encaustic mixed media on birch 6x6
Last week I wrote about being fickle.  This week - I didn't even turn on the hot palettes.  I've been wooed away with working on my pay it forward art project things and cutting, pasting, water coloring and sewing (yes, sewing) for those.  Some of our friends from PPF are joining in - you should pay them a visit and see if you can get in on the fun IreneValerie, TraceyIlona, and Coreopsis and Tracy.  If you are on the fence about the project - jump in.  Its fun and an opportunity to get some art flowing around the world.   
I got out the old White sewing machine and fired it up.  Still working after years of closet time and a couple of house moves in between.  I even remembered how to thread the darned thing - although I need my glasses to do that now :)  My projects aren't quite done yet, so I won't show them this week.  They do incorporate wax too so I'm not totally leaving it behind.  And next week - back to work in the wax.  I'm still wondering how all these things will come together some day - there is beginnings of it here with this painting.  I love being an explorer on the artful journey - so many interesting twists and turns along the way. 
Happy Friday everyone! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Encaustic Hot Pen Fun

Encaustic hot pen - how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways
  1. blending colors on the surface of the painting
  2. fine line and detail work
  3. no need for extra fusing - it fuses as you go because its hot :)
  4. less wastage of wax
  5. meditative qualities 

hot pen face on 3x3 board
this face is blended entirely on the surface using the hot pen to work the wax and color
Now, let me tell you this love affair with the hot pen is new.  I have owned a hot pen since 2011 and totally discarded it as a worthless thing to take up space in my studio.  But, now - I understand how to use it thanks to Larry Calkins and the recent mixed media encaustic class I took at Pratt in Seattle. 
Unbeknownst to me there is a right hot pen and a wrong hot pen - I currently own the wrong one and I did order the right one which can be ordered here.  I believe this is the only place to get it in the US.  But, I may be wrong - so make a comment if you know otherwise.
The difference is heat.  The green one gets a bit hotter and makes it much easier to blend wax colors on the surface.  Although it can smoke and you don't want to breathe that, so take precautions.  But, for blending on the surface its really good.  The tip is designed to suck up the wax (easiest from a hardened block of wax) into a groove and then release it onto the surface on which you are working by touching the tip to the surface.
The trick to using the hot pen is a very light touch.  The way to get the feeling for the right touch to use is to imagine writing on the back of your hand and not burning yourself.  This was demoed to me, but I haven't been brave enough to try it and of course I do not recommend that you try for fear you may burn yourself.  But use your imagination and think along those lines when using the pen.  If you use too much pressure, you will find the pen will pick up the color of the wax surface you are working on and not lay lines in as you might wish - light touch... really light touch. 
I also find that really you don't need a thick wax surface to work on - in fact I think it works best with just a thin layer of wax on board.  One way to use it is that you can lay in your drawing on the board, cover with medium and then use the pen to fill in the drawing.  This is where the meditative qualities come in - just filling in little by little is like zen.   I tend to use it for small faces, good detail, drawing, and line work. 
Its a good tool for starting out in encaustic painting because it is an easy set up and easy to put away at the end of the day. 

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