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“Angel Wings”- Mixed Media Art with Negative Space

Art with Negative Space

Mixed Media Art with Negative Space

It always amazes me how the simplest, quickest of projects are often the most beautiful and meaningful of all.  I created this in just a few hours for a friend of mine. She is going through a terrible loss.  The colors are a perfect reflection of her personality, talents, and the way she always makes the people around her feel special.  The chipboard wings are angel wings. I wanted to convey the idea that the ones we love never truly leave us for long.  We’ll see them again someday.

The negative space is also meaningful. Art with negative space not only catches the eye, but it can draw attention and give deep meaning to symbolic aspects of art that otherwise wouldn’t be as noticeable.  The pop of color against the white in this piece highlights the short amount of things we are really able to do and accomplish while were here on the earth. Yet, how brightly one life can shine!

 

mixed media art with negative space

My Process

I don’t usually use alcohol inks to color my pieces, but these colors were just what I needed to represent my friend.  The thread was leftover remnants from some muslin I’ve used in other pieces.  I couldn’t bring myself to throw the end threads away, and I was so glad I kept them!  The wings and the thread were the only things I added color to.  The rest I simply glued to the surface with gel medium.

I painted the chipboard pieces with white gesso, then I used a cotton ball soaked with ispropyl alcohol and ink to dab the color onto the surface.  I soaked the threads with alcohol as well to allow the ink to spread and really soak in.

Once I glued everything to the surface, I tipped the flower petals with some messy strokes of gesso and added microbeads for a bit more color and texture.

Such a simple piece, but hopefully a very meaningful one.

 

 

canvas art with negative space

 

 

Encaustic with Alcohol Inks and a Dry Shellac Burn

It’s been a long time since I’ve created an encaustic with alcohol inks, but I was inspired recently to take them out and play with them again.  It is fascinating to watch the way the inks interact with each other.  The alcohol gives so much movement, creating a look within your painting that you don’t have much control over.  You simply have to watch the way everything settles, and try to add or take away little bits at a time.  At least, in my experience.  But watching the way the alcohol moves across the surface is totally worth the extra effort that’s needed.

I created a free printable for anyone who is interested in using alcohol inks in their encaustic paintings.  I include the steps I used to add color to these paintings, as well as some tips for additional ways you can work with the ink to create cool effects.

Alcohol ink free tutorial

 

encaustic and alcohol inks

 

The Dry Shellac burn is much easier, in a way.  I simply let the shellac I’ve sprayed on the surface dry for about 10 minutes, then I use a small blow torch to “burn” the shellac to create those awesome open cells.  It works so great with alcohol ink, especially the metallic ones because those produce these amazing glittery trails when you do the shellac burn.

 

 

I love using bright colors, but sometimes you just need to go a bit more vintage, you know?  So I used a mix of browns, golds and yellows for this set of little wax paintings.  What do you think of the ink?  The colors?  The burn?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions! Oh, and don’t forget to download your free printable!

 

free printable

 

Here’s a breakdown of my process:

  • Start with a bare wood board.
  • Brush your encaustic medium on the surface- I’ve done two layers of white so the colors of ink really stand out.
  • Add your ink.  You can use isopropyl alcohol to move the colors around, blend them, and even lift them from the surface in certain places.
  • Use spray shellac to keep from moving the colors around with a brush.  Let it dry for around 10 minutes or so.
  • Use your torch to do a dry burn to create cells on the surface.
  • You can add more ink, or leave your painting as it is.  I like to do a final fuse to solidify the colors a bit more.

 

encaustic painting with alcohol ink

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the shellac burn, check out my new online course- Painting with Wax- The Shellac Burn TechniqueIt’s great for beginners to encaustic and shellac burns, and includes a lot of great bonus content that I keep adding to…  We’d love to have you join us!

Either way, go try painting an encaustic with alcohol inks and see what kind of beautiful mess you can create!!

 

 

Encaustic Map Cube

I’ve been so obsessed with maps lately that I can’t stop painting them.  I think it’s mainly because they have so much meaning.  A map is essentially just a picture of straight and curved lines.  But if you recognize the place it represents, you can find your home, your old school, your best friends house, and so many other meaningful pin pricks on this otherwise innocuous picture.

I’ve lived in a lot of places throughout my life, and when I stumbled upon the idea of doing an encaustic map cube, I knew right away I had to put a different city on each side.  Though, I do think it would be pretty cool to try and do one city and have all the sides blend into the other.  Not sure how that would work, but it would be fun to try.

Would you like to commission a cube for you and your family?  Contact me at classicanj@gmail.com and we will discuss cities, colors, and timeline for delivery.  This painting would be a fabulous Christmas present for anyone on your list!

Encaustic Map Cube

I know it looks a little messy.  What doesn’t show in the video is that I actually messed up a bit on this project.  Usually when I fill in my lines with oil paint, I wipe the excess paint away immediately with a paper towel and some linseed oil.  This time, I was working on a few projects at a time, and once I added oil paint to 3 sides, I laid the cube down and didn’t come back to it for a couple days.  By that time, the thin layer of oil paint on those 3 sides had dried to the point where the linseed oil wouldn’t take it off.  I had to scrape it away with a clay tool, and that’s why some of the sides look a bit messier than they should.

So, important tip- don’t let your oil paint sit on the surface of your encaustic painting for more than a day if you want to be able to wipe it off.

Despite my mistakes, though, I love the way this map cube turned out.  What a fun way to commemorate the special places and memories in your life!

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

I hope everyone’s fall has been spectacular so far!  I’ve been so busy bouncing from one project to the next that I’m stoked if I even finish anything at all!  Is anyone else like that sometimes?  I really hope I’m not the only one, and since I finally finished one project- this abstract painting of Charlotte, NC. And it turned out so incredibly well, I’m stoked to tell you all about it!

The tough part about this painting is that photos do not do it justice.  No matter how many settings I switch, or how much light I add or take away, I just cannot seem to capture the colors in their true form.  The greens and turquoises I used in this painting of Charlotte, NC blended so well, I almost can’t even believe it.  This map is so bright, so colorful, and it’s almost a shame to write about it at all since these pictures are only about a tenth as brilliant as the painting is in real life.  But, I love it too much not to share it.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte

This map was a bit hard to free hand.  The freeways make a giant circle, but the scale made it almost impossible for me to add any grids to the center like I usually do with my abstract maps.  However, once I finished adding the ink and acrylic paint, I decided it didn’t need any other streets or outlines. Definitely not a dark spot to represent downtown.  The only thing I added was a bit of pearlex powders to give it a little shimmer.

Since this is a painting you need to see in context, here is picture of my table set up for an art market I participated in recently-

If you’re interested in seeing more photos or purchasing this piece, just comment below or email me at classicanj@gmail.com.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

  

abstract painting of Charlotte, close up

Thanks for reading!!

Creating a Mixed Media Book of Letters

This summer has been a busy one!  I’m so excited to share my latest project with you.  It’s taken me months to complete this mixed media book!  But it has turned out so beautifully that I can’t help but share some of my excitement and talk about my process a bit.

Completely DIY Mixed Media Book

This book is a gift for my husband, so I wanted to make it more masculine.  But, I also knew it was going to be a long process to finish it, and I had a tight deadline.  Originally I was going to alter a book and I began creating pages, but I fell into the trap of trying to make each page unique and very different from the next.  It was taking way too long and wasn’t coming together the way I hoped, so I scrapped the entire thing and started fresh.

This time I began with kraft colored cardstock.  I decided I was going to use fabric and stitch on each page to create the backgrounds.  I ripped white muslin into different sizes of squares and rectangles, and used Tim Holtz’ distress stain to color the fabric.  Once I glued the fabric down, I ran each page through my sewing machine several times.  I used several different types of stitches to add interest.

Does this book look cool enough for an online workshop?  Click here for a one question survey that will help me as I develop my online courses.  I need your help to make great content!

After the first round of stitching, each page got several strips of neutral colored washi tape.   Of course, then I realized they also needed another round of stitching to secure the tape in place.

These steps sound pretty simple, but they took a looooong time to complete.  Mostly because the bobbin threader on my sewing machine is broken and I had to thread my bobbins by hand every time they ran out of thread.  Man, that got old fast, let me tell ya.  But, the end result was worth the headache.

Once each of my pages was sewn the way I wanted, I glued two pages at a time together back to back.  This created one page, with stitching on both sides.  That’s when I began creating paper collages as beds for my notes (written on vellum).  The notes were attached to the paper groups with more stitching.

Japanese Book Binding

Next up, the binding!  I knew from the beginning I was going to use Japanese binding because of the single pages I was creating.  I used this tutorial to create the covers, and then cut strips of chipboard to place between each page in the spine.  This was important because each page needed extra space because of all the paper and embellishments I had added to each side.  I used a glue stick to glue the pages and chipboard strips together, bound the covers to the pages with binder clips, then drilled holes for the thread.  If you look closely in the video, you’ll see how crooked the holes are on the back.  Drilling holes straight through 1 1/2 inches of paper is pretty tough.  Oh well… it’s still holding together, and as long as you don’t look at the back, it looks perfect!

So, that’s my book!  My first one completely finished and created by me, cover to cover.  Yay!

Don’t forget to respond to my question about making this project an online workshop.  I really need your feedback!

Using a Stippling Technique to Build Texture in Encaustic Art

This painting was a study in problem solving for me.  I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to get there.  However, through my brainstorming and experimenting, I found and used some new and effective techniques that I absolutely fell in love with, including a stippling technique that made the texture in this piece just pop!!

 

   Paintings are currently only available for purchase in the United States

My Process

I wanted to create a realistic map of the Outer Banks, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to transfer the image to the surface of black wax in a way that would be easy to see.  Carbon paper wasn’t going to work.  I didn’t want to trace the map, either, and hope that the faint indented lines were easy enough to see.  I finally decided to use a perforated hole technique.

  • I laid the map over the wax surface, making sure the lines were where I wanted them to be.
  • Using a needle, I punched tiny holes through the paper into the wax along the edges of the map and up the rivers, outlining the barriers of land and water.
  • Once I perforated all the edges I wanted, I peeled the paper map away from the surface of the wax.  This was a bit tough- the paper had a tendency of sticking to the wax, but with a little finagling I go everything loose.
  •  I retraced my perforated lines with the needle to make them plain lines I could add color to.
  • Wearing latex gloves, I rubbed white oil paint into all the crevices.  This is called an “incised line” technique, and you can also do it by painting over the lines with wax.
  • Once the lines were filled as much as could be, I used a linseed oil soaked paper towel to wipe away the excess paint.

With my map outlined in white, I fused the surface lightly to bring back the lustrous look of the wax (oil can smudge things up a bit).  Now, the texture!

 

stippling technique



Stippling Technique

The texture I added to the land portion of my painting is really the highlight of this piece.  It gives the map a topographical look that is just awesome.  I seriously love it soooo much.

  • I used a tiny stencil brush, with course bristles, to add wax to the surface with a stippling technique.  The definition of stipple is “to paint, engrave, or draw by means of dots or small touches.”  I used small touches (up and down over and over again) with my course brush to create a build up of wax.
  • Fusing is SUPER important when you’re doing this.  If you try to stipple layers over and over without fusing, the brush will pull them apart and you won’t be able to build very much.  In fact, I would say that the more often you fuse, the better.  Just remember to do it lightly.  Don’t melt all that texture you’ve just made!
  • I would also say, that the top layer is the most important.  You can paint and fuse to build up layers if you want some height, and then simply stipple the top layer.  For big sections, this may be the most efficient way of doing it.

Well, there you have it!  What do you guys think?  Do you love it as much as I do?!