Thursday, July 27, 2017

Experimenting with Marabu Paints

I love experimenting with new products. 

Recently Elena, my studio buddy, and I spent an afternoon playing with Marabu Porcelain and Glass Paints™ and resin. 

Our mission was to determine if these paints would work with resin using a similar process that I use when working with alcohol inks and resin, and to determine if these paints would work with the fluid or accidental painting process.

With EnviroTex Lite and EX-74, we got some interesting patterns. Here are two photos of some samples. The resins were freshly poured and the paints dropped in within 15 minutes.   A few that had two colors were manipulated with a needle tool by drawing lines across the center sections. If waiting too long, the effect was not as pronounced. If dropped too soon, the paints dispersed more as in the bottom three images. The samples are on 2" square Ampersand Stampbord™ or Claybord.™

If you know my work, you know that I love trying to get interesting patterns using the chemical and physical properties of the inks and paints that I use. Although these patterns are very different (more pointy lines and not so many circles) than my regular patterns, I can see there are possibilities in jewelry and other small works.  I doubt if I will be able to get large design elements since they dry fast when dropped into resin and that does not allow them to spread far.

We also used the Marabu Porcelain and Glass paints for pouring as fluid painters do.  The paints mixed more than most acrylics that we have used resulting in a more muted palette, but we still got some designs that were suitable for coasters. Note:  Photos were taken under a bright light so the colors would show well in a photo.  They are a little more muted in natural light, but I don't know how to do that with photo editing.

I had a play day and demo day for the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild members this past week-end in my studio.  We had a blast pouring acrylic paints.  With fluid or accidental painting, there is often a lot of waste left from a pour. I captured some from one painting and used the acrylic skins to make a few coasters that are shown in the first photo below.  No waste in my studio! All of these are on Ampersand Claybord™.  I wish I had photos to share with you of all the member's work, but I am the worst at taking photos when friends are in my studio!

And finally, we made a lot of small magnets demo left-overs from the pours.  Some of these were made by turning the tile upside down onto dripped paint.  Fun to see what can be obtained with drips of paint!

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ink Paintings and Accidental Painting

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I am still working on commissions. This is my latest one for a client in Anchorage, AK.  I had been working with black, silver, white and grays for over three months.  I had a request to add red to the color palette and paint one similar to The Mystery of Locus.   

Alcohol and acrylic inks, resin
Ampersand Cradled Claybord™

The Mystery of Locus

Here are some close-up photos of some of the elements in the above paintings.

Stay tuned for photos of the largest ink and resin painting that I have painted.  

The newsletter link above has more info about my process.  Read it for details if interested in process.  

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Challenge of Art Commissions

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Over a year ago, I was asked if I would paint two larger paintings similar to one that I had previously painted with similar colors and design.  At first I declined. 

I was not sure I could reproduce the elements in the painting.  My painting process is more 'whatever happens, happens,' and I must work with whatever that is at any given time.  I loved the go with the flow process, and did not want my creativity stifled. It seemed that most people wanted specific sizes and colors for an area in their home or business so at the end of 2015, I vowed to not turn down a commission. I would at least try. 

With the first commission, I realized I had been missing an important part of being an artist.  It pushed me to try to create a painting with a similar aesthetic as another I had already painted. The only thing I really needed was a photo of one I had previously painted to get something similar.

So last year was filled mainly with commissioned work.  

This is the  painting titled Hidden Messages that I was to use for reference.

The two commissions below were painted for the MGM Hotel in Cotai, China.  These will be framed.

 Lucky Whispers I

Lucky Whispers II

Paintings are on Ampersand Claybord™ with an ArtResin™ finish.

Resin Studio Demo

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This past month has been busier than usual, but not busy as in hurry, hurry, hurry---just more commitments.  I am as always trying to stay focused on the task at hand while still taking a little time to dream, wander, and take it easy when possible.

I gave a demo last Sunday afternoon for some of our Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild members and a couple of our Sanford Brush and Palette Club members on how to use a two part resin and a few other short demos on using Jacquard silk fabric dyes and salts to create backgrounds.  A few participants painted with alcohol inks and applied resin to their paintings.

I used ArtResin for the demo. With about twelve people in my studio sampling resin, I wanted to be sure the odor was not overwhelming to those who are sensitive to resin. I heard no complaint about the odor of this resin unlike other resins I have used.  ArtResin is a superb resin in many ways.  If you wish to know more about it in comparison to others, you can read about it here.  

Each person applied resin on at least two paintings.  I had planned to take photos of participants and their art, but forgot.  These were some of the ones that were left in my studio to cure.  (Permission was granted to post these images.)

Elena Gage brought several of her Pēbēo paintings to test the effect that resin had on them.  They had been painted over a week earlier. This is important if applying resin over Pēbēo.  These are some of her first paintings and they are wonderful, but even better in person!

These are a couple of photos of Cathy Hooper's alcohol ink paintings that she did at the studio and applied an ArtResin™ finish. These are on Ampersand Claybord™.

I enjoyed doing this demo so much that I have plans to do this type of activity once a month in my studio.  It will be a potluck demo--anything that I have a 'taste' for at the time and the supplies that I have on hand so participants can experiment using their own style and art.

If you are interested in attending, the demos will most likely be on a Sunday afternoon in my studio in Sanford.  Please email me and I will put you on a notification list. Demos will be limited to 15 participants.  There will be a jar for donations---no more than $5 per person. This money will be donated to the Sanford Brush & Palette or the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild.  

Sorry, I cannot tell you what I will demo until I stumble across it! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Greetings for the New Year and a Giveaway

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Yellowstone Caldera 
Pēbēo paints, Resin on Ampersand Claybord™

This year I am going to try something a little different.  I create many samples in order to test different inks and paints.  I often turn these into coasters, magnets or pendants. 

I asked Facebook friends to title the above painting. Diane C. Keever suggested something Yellowstone____.  So I have titled it Yellowstone Caldera. I will be sending Diane a coaster that was made while testing the paints to make this painting. She will recognize the experiment in this painting. 

I am an abstract painter, but over the years I have found that people want a hint in the title of what I see in a painting, and I have come to the conclusion that a title is very important even for abstract paintings---and maybe even more so!  Usually, I like a title that still leaves it up to the viewer's interpretation. Some paintings title themselves just like I often think some paintings paint themselves.  

Watch for the next painting that I paint to see if I ask for a title.  I will keep all the suggestions that I received from this Facebook post and if I should use one of those in the future, a coaster will be coming to the person who titled it.

The remainder of this post is for the artist or crafter who works with resin.

I work a lot on Ampersand Claybord.  I do my tests on the 1/8" flats of Claybord.  It takes some skill to apply resin to small flat pieces and to avoid runoff of the resin.  It is much easier for me to apply resin on a painting that is 36"x36"x2" than it is to apply resin to six 4'x4"x1/8" flat pieces.  

Due to the porosity of the Claybord, the first layer of resin usually does not have a runoff problem.  But additional layers allow the resin to run more freely and over the sides and under the flat panel. Until recently, I was just always extremely careful trying to be sure as little resin as possible would run under the flat piece.  If it did, I would use a belt sander and sand all the resin off the bottom.  This is a lot of work!

In order to prevent the resin from running over the sides and ending up on the bottom, I sometimes use blue painter's tape and cover the entire bottom of a flat panel.  Sometimes if doing a large flat piece 8"x8" or 12"x12" for example, I cut a square of typing paper and only tape around the panel just up to the edge.  The paper for a 8"x8" piece may be 7"x7" and the tape covers the extra inch with just a little over the paper.  This can easily be removed once resin has cured and there will be no resin on the bottom of the panel. 

I ran out of blue tape and had to improvise.  I discovered that Reynold's Plastic Coated Freezer Paper ironed onto the back of the Claybord pieces would prevent resin from building up and having to be sanded off once cured.  It can be a little tricky to determine how much heat and for how long to iron, but with a few practice sessions, it is easy to get it just right.  After pouring the resin and it has cured, then pull the paper off to have a clean back surface.  Here are some photos.

Turn your flat panels upside down on your ironing board.  Cut a piece of freezer paper large enough to cover them while leaving space between them.

Do not use steam, but iron on high heat until paper is attached to the panel.

Allow to cool and then flip over and remove the paper.

Paper peeled right up almost completely clean on all except one of the coaster size panels.

This is one where some of the paper stuck.  It can be removed with water and a scrub pad.

Completed coasters! 

I still prefer blue painter's tape on the back, but using freezer paper is cheaper and if in a pinch, it can be a life saver!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Liquidambar in Pittsboro---Showing new work

I'm headed out the door to Art of the Carolinas.  

The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild works in the demo room providing demos using vendor products and provides hands on (cleaning tables, changing out water, etc.) support for the workshops.  It is a wonderful experience for our members to enjoy each other's company and to experiment with all kinds of art supplies.  Thank you vendors (too many of you to list here) and thank you Sharon DiGiulio for giving us this opportunity. I think this is our ninth year to work at AOC.

I am one of the featured artists at Liquidambar in Pittsboro from now until the end of the year. The 3D featured artist is Sylvia Coppola. I will be at the December reception on December 4, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:00.  Please stop by to say hi!

Here are a few images of new paintings in the show.  Unfortunately, the photos don't show the depth of the paintings, but you can get an idea here.

Elemental Energy II

In Elemental Energy II, I developed my own gold metallic ink that creates the almost snowflake pattern. Click to see a close-up. 


In Yugen, I used a word for a title that I found this definition--an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and powerful for words.  I suppose this could be extremely good or extremely bad.  I hope this one shows the good.

Between waking and dreams
24"x6"x2" Each

This triptych required much restraint on my part to stop when I felt I had painted enough. It was hard to stop as there are always more possibilities of patterns that may show up that I have never seen.

This weekend at the former Carolina Artists' Colony in Sanford, we are having an arts and crafts show on Saturday and Sunday.  This will also go on for the month of December.  I delivered some new work there as well.  Stop by and check it out!

Helix of Life

To Infinity and Beyond

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

My New Obsession---Pēbēo Paints

About two years ago, I decided to try to paint with oil paints. The alcohol inks that create the patterns that I love to make are becoming more difficult to find. I needed to branch out. 

I have always liked a challenge, but I also like to work with art materials that by their very nature create interesting effects. This is not usually a desired characteristic if working in realism as one may be fighting what the paints want to do and what they were made to do. However, I work mainly in abstraction so these types of paints enhance or provide more possibilities.

After painting with several brands of oil paints, I ran across Pēbēo paints and was hooked. The paints, Vitrail, Prisme, and Moon, out of the bottles create three unique patterns without mixing with other paints, thinners, or solvents. 

The Prisme™ paints create a honeycomb effect. The Moon paints create a marbled or hammered effect. The Vitrail mimics glass. When these are combined, there are many variations of effects or patterns possible.

I have not taken any classes working with Pēbēo paints, but I love experimenting to discover my own style and techniques and possible patterns.

Right away, the primary disadvantage that I discovered was that the paints tend to dry out when 1/3 to 1/4 of the bottle is left and it turns to a thick gunk. The Prisme line appears to be the one that has this problem most often although the Moon line occasionally gets too thick as well. When so thick, the paints lose their ability to make the effects that they were created to make, and worst of all if too hardened, one must throw them out. 

Two weeks ago, I decided that I must find a solvent that would save this last 1/3 to 1/4 bottle of paints. After testing seven different solvents and some thinners, I found one that works!  I have tested this over and over with the Prisme paints, and it has worked every time for me.

This magical thinner is Winsor Newton Sansodor™. Although this is technically mineral spirits (according to my research), I tested three other mineral spirits and could not get them to mix into the paint well and so the effects would not develop once they were added. One of the mineral spirits would not mix in at all and one could pour it off with none of the color of the paint mixing in.

I use a dedicated eye dropper and drop in only the amount that I think makes the paint about the same consistency as a new bottle and mix it well. I suggest dropping a few drops in when bottle is down to 1/4 remaining if not painting soon so it will not harden in the bottle before you get to paint again. 

The viscosity and the applied thickness of the paint determines the size of the honeycomb pattern of the Prisme. I found that I could make a pattern much larger than what is ordinarily created by varying the amount of the Sansodor™.  The Prisme remained workable even after several days.

In the photo below the pattern made on the left had Sansador™ added to very thick Prisme that would not flow at all. It was not solid or dried out, but so gunky, it would not come off of a wooden stick. The one on the right was from a new jar of Prisme.

This is also Prisme that had Sansodor™ added as it had thickened to the point of no longer making a pattern. The resulting pattern was not the mini honeycomb pattern, but a much more interesting design.

Now all is not lost if your ink has become so thick that it barely will come off a wooden stick. 
The pattern below with the texture is a result of thick Prisme and Moon that had not thoroughly dried when I applied resin.  I will never waste Pēbēo™ paint again!

The most important tip that I can give when working with the Pēbēo™line is to never use a tool---brush, stirring stick, eye dropper, pipette---when changing from Prisme to Moon or to Vitrail.  Keep them separate.  Otherwise, the patterns these paints were made to create will no longer be possible.  

I will be demo'ing the Pēbēo products for the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild at Art of the Carolinas on November 12 at 2:00.  Please stop by to see me and try out some of the products.  

Jerry's Artarama carries the full line of Pēbēo products in their Raleigh store.  They have the large and small bottles of the Prisme, Moon, and Vitrail and many accessories. 

Note added in response to comment below.

These paints are not inexpensive, but it is possible to use them with other mediums.  I did this with this jellyfish painting.  The body/head of the large jellyfish is Pēbēo Prisme and Moon paints.  The border is my own mixture that I developed years ago, but Pēbēo makes a tube of a product that will work to contain the paints.