Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fun Week!

A couple of weeks ago, I sold this piece.


It is acrylic paint and paint markers on watercolor paper (18"x24") and because it is paper, it needed to be sealed and mounted in order to be hung.


I learned early on in my experiments with my gel plate that it provides an excellent and easy method for getting clear mediums onto something that would otherwise smear if I tried to brush it on. Using a brayer, I simply cover the gel plate (here, I've used my largest plate) with clear varnish and press it onto the paper. I do this all over the sheet of paper until it's coated in varnish. It takes a fraction of the time it would take me if I was trying to brush varnish on, not smear the pigments underneath, and remove brush strokes all at the same time!

Once I had the piece sealed, I painted the edges of the cradled panel with a complimentary paint color.


Then I mounted the artwork onto the panel using soft gel glue, allowing it to dry under heavy weights overnight.

 (side view of the work once it's been mounted, showing the painted cradle)

Voila! Once the gel medium cures, I'll add a hanging wire to the back and it can be delivered to the customer.

Also in the studio this week, I've been playing with this fun little tool that just arrived in the mail.


It is supposed to be used for paper and wood burning, and maybe one day I'll get around to trying those things (I'm especially intrigued by the idea of burning paper), but this week, I was using it to create stamps out of 1/2" foam core.

First, I cut the foam core down to my desired size (I did three that were about 4"x4", two that were 8"x10" and one more that was 12"x15") and then removed the paper from one side (soak it with water and rub it off with your fingers if it gets stubborn.)

This heat tool comes with various tips in different shapes and sizes. Being the impatient person that I am, I chose the one that was already on it when it came out of the packaging: a simple, straight, blunt tip.

I just started carving into the foam once the tip had heated. I didn't bother sketching my designs onto the foam before I went at it with the heat tool, but you certainly could if you wanted. Instead, I free-formed my designs. Google images is an excellent source of inspiration, if you can't think of designs to carve! Just input whatever kind of image you want to see (it helps if you tell it to give you a silhouette), and enjoy the eye candy!

The new stamps I created (they can also be used as texture plates for gel printing!) are on the top right and bottom row. I "proofed" the smaller stamp by covering it in blue paint and stamping it onto copy paper (top left).


In the next array, you can see four stamps (top and middle right) and three "proofs" of them on copy paper (top left and bottom row).


The burning tool makes short work of the foam and creates beautiful stamps in just minutes, much faster than traditional carving methods. If you're sensitive to odors, or have breathing difficulties, PLEASE be sure to wear the proper breathing mask before undertaking this technique!

Until next week, create with heat!

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