My Artistic Experiment: Surface Treatments

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This blog post is a bit of a departure, since I usually share finished projects.  You know – cards, collages, paper butterflies, altered metal cans – things of that nature.  Today’s offering is an artistic experiment, and my sample grid is the “finished product”.  It will serve as a resource for me, and I’m hoping it will inform and inspire you as well, dear readers.

In the interest of keeping my muse on her toes I decided I needed some time to play, so I set up an artistic exploration zone in the kitchen.  I laid down some plastic to protect from spills, covered that with paper towels, and laid out a bunch of goodies – things like walnut ink, Schmincke dry metallic gouache, liquid acrylics, dried flower pollen, Twinkling H20’s, small plastic cups, brushes, and watercolor paper.

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I began by taping a 16-section grid onto a sheet of watercolor paper with 1/4″ masking tape.  I didn’t measure – just kind of eyeballed it. The taped lines helped keep my different concoctions from bleeding or slopping over into the next section, but they were only temporary.  (I pulled up the masking tape dividers after everything had dried.)  Next, I drew this same grid pattern onto a piece of scratch paper.  I made notes of what items I combined in each section so I’d be able to replicate that look in the future if desired.

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I moved through the grid, section by section.  Sometimes I just laid down one product – sometimes I combined two or more.  I took notes, enjoyed playing, and smiled when hubby came by and commented that I looked like a mad scientist working on an experiment in her laboratory.

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Once the grid lines had been pulled up, I used number stamps and black StazOn ink to stamp a number into the lower left corner of each section.  Finally, I wrote a numeric list of what I did in each section on the back of my experimental grid.  If I need a reminder of what products I used and/or how I applied them, I can simply flip over my grid and look at the number corresponding to that section on my grid!

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Here are some of my favorite sections/results/looks.  Please keep reading for a complete list of what I used on all sixteen sections, and how I applied it – below.

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#3 Walnut ink, brushed on in a circular motion, and gold & silver Schmincke powder.

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#4 Walnut ink, water, and pink liquid acrylic mixed and then brushed on.

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#7  Tiger lily pollen mixed in Diamond Glaze and brushed on.  I’d plucked the pollen off some tiger lilies years ago, thinking it might make an interesting look, but it didn’t knock my socks off.  It was worth trying, though!

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#8  Walnut ink, silver Schmincke, and water brushed on thickly – the lighter side was blotted with paper towel.

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#13  Acrylic ink with raw, undiluted walnut ink crystals – allowed to set a few minutes, then blotted with paper towel.

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#14  Acrylic ink brushed on, blotted, dotted with candle wax, and the right half brushed with walnut ink.

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#16  Acrylic ink with Schminke powder sprinkled on – not mixed or blended.

My notes for all 16 sections:
1.  Plain walnut ink, brushed on
2.  Walnut ink dabbed on with brush, blotted
3.  Walnut ink, brushed on circularly, and gold & silver Schmincke powder sprinkled on and blended
4.  Walnut ink, water, and pink liquid acrylic mixed and then brushed on
5.  Gold Schmincke in Golden Soft Gel Gloss, brushed on
6.  Tiger Lily pollen in Golden Soft Gel Gloss, brushed on
7.  Tiger lily pollen mixed in Diamond Glaze and brushed on
8.  Walnut ink, silver Schmincke, and water brushed on thickly – left side blotted with paper towel
9.  Green Twinkling H20’s brushed on
10.  Green Twinkling H20’s with walnut ink brushed on and blended
11.  Purple liquid acrylic
12.  Purple liquid acrylic with walnut in brushed on and blended
13.  Acrylic ink with raw, undiluted walnut ink crystals – allowed to set a few minutes, then blotted
14.  Acrylic ink brushed on, blotted, dotted with candle wax, and the right half brushed with walnut ink
15.  Acrylic ink brushed on and blotted – right half brushed with Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels. When the right half dried, drawn on with pencil, gel pen, black ink pen, and colored pencil
16.  Acrylic ink with Schminke powder sprinkled on – not mixed or blended

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a peek at my artistic experiment.  Please let me know if you have any questions, and please feel free to share some of your favorite products and/or surface treatments!  Also, please let me know if you’re interested in seeing additional experiments from time to time, or if you prefer “finished project” posts.

Warm regards,
Melody

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10 Comments

  1. Posted July 26, 2011 at 8:48 am by Barbara Cordill | Permalink

    Wouldn’t these make nice finishes or underlayments for journal covers?

  2. Posted July 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Barb,
    Yes, I think so! Thank you for commenting…
    Melody

  3. Posted July 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm by Amy Shawley | Permalink

    Hi Melody, I saw your post on ArtGangLA. These surfaces look great and the photos are fabulous! I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    Best,

    Amy Shawley

  4. Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm by Jos | Permalink

    Looks like you had great fun, Mel. Playtime for me is often taking a few paperback pages, plus four things I can apply to them, and see where that goes. I enjoy using a very limited range of materials to see what magic happens – and it usually does.

  5. Posted July 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Amy,
    Thank you for stopping by and for commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the photos. I hope to see you here again, soon!
    Melody

  6. Posted July 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Jos,
    Thank you for reading, and for commenting. I love your paperback pages and “four things” idea – sounds like great fun. I may have to try that, too!
    Melody

  7. Posted September 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm by Coll | Permalink

    Once again I am fascinated by this post! I keep coming back to read it. What a good idea! I am inspired–again!

  8. Posted September 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Coll,
    Hurray! I’m glad you found the post inspiring and helpful. Thank you for reading and commenting…
    Melody

  9. Posted June 20, 2012 at 10:46 am by christy | Permalink

    what i love the most about this is that i sometimes go into an art store and have NO idea how to use the cool things i see. now i can see that you can really just have fun and experiment. i love how #4 turned out.

  10. Posted June 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Hi Christy,
    Yes, experimentation is so important! Not only can it lead you down new paths creatively, sometimes it’s nice to play just for the sake of playing!
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting…
    Melody