Tag Archives: Diamond Glaze

My Artistic Experiment: Surface Treatments


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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


#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!


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


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


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


#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,

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Collage Basics: Less is More!

Collage – meaning “to glue” in French– is an art form in which the artist gathers various items and glues them to the base of their choosing.  Though this particular artistic medium is many centuries old, it really moved into the mainstream art world in the early 1900’s when Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque started adding a little “something extra” to their canvases.

Collage can be a tricky medium to master.  What materials should you use? What goes where?  How do you know when to stop gluing things down?  I’ve come up with my answers to some of the questions collage asks of us, and will share these collage basics below.  Photos of some of my collages will serve as visual examples.

Getting Started

Plan ahead:
I like to make a very rough sketch of my collage idea before I start the hands-on part.  Making these notes on design, materials and color will also help you remember what you’re hoping to create if you’re inspired weeks, days, or hours before you can actually sit down and create.

Decide on a base for your collage: Know this – you’ve got options. You can collage on something as flimsy as a blank greeting card or as dense and as immovable as a wall.  However, sturdy and portable are usually better options.  Some of my favorite collage bases include a rectangle of matboard, an old book cover, or a canvas.

Select some collageables: Gather odds and ends that appeal to you, including one to three images or elements that could be your main focus.

Stock up on a few different types of adhesive: Different adhesives work best in different situations.  I like to have a glue stick, photo mounting squares, Terrifically Tacky Tape, and Diamond Glaze handy when creating.

Design Tips

The Rule of Thirds is your friend

Wikipedia provides an excellent explanation of the rule of thirds: The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as painting, photography and design. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.  Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

(To see the complete entry, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds)


This collage’s main image, the photo, is off-center.  It’s aligned along a vertical third.

Throwing away the rulebook

I use the rule of thirds in my work the majority of the time.  However, from time to time I do stick something smack-dab in the middle of the collage. It’s occasional, but it does happen. Once you’ve gotten used to using the rule of thirds, you’ll likely know when to deviate.


With the main image in the center, I matted it with the yellow, vintage photo envelope.


Size matters…

Ensure that your collage materials include items that range in size.  From small to large, you might have something as big as a postcard and as small as button.  Too many items that are the same size will result in an uninteresting collage that lacks finesse.


From the very small buttons and nail, to the larger shamrock image and the piece of fabric, this collage shows range of size. Variety in size also helps the viewer’s eye move around the collage.

Variety is the spice of life!

Your collage materials should also include a variety of textures.  Slick, bumpy, satiny – these are just a few adjectives you may want your collage to embody.  Paper, ribbon, buttons, glass, aluminum foil, dried flowers – almost anything that can be glued down is fair game!


Textures for this rose collage include tissue paper, fabric, paper, metallic tape, and glass.

Limit your color palette and be complimentary

Rainbows are beautiful but a chaotically-colored collage is not.  Best to limit the main colors you use to a handful, including neutrals like black, white, and metallics.  And remember to use complimentary colors when you want something to “pop”.


This collage’s palette, red, black, and silver, is striking but harmonious.

Give the eyes a break

Please, please, please – resist the urge to cover or fill every fractional inch of your collage with glued on materials.  Leaving some blank space for the eyes to rest (also known as negative space) is very important.  You may find it very hard to follow this suggestion, as open space sometimes makes us feel as though the work isn’t complete.  The line between “too much” and “not enough” is very fine, but with practice you’ll find it.  In the beginning, it’s best to err on the side of more negative space – you can always add more to your collage later if, after much careful consideration, you decide you’ve stopped just short of perfection.


Though the background is subtly textured and patterned there is plenty of negative space, which gives the eye a chance to rest.

I’ve been framed!

Whether you put your collage in an actual frame, or just use some of your materials to create a decorative border, consider adding a frame to your project.  It will add a little polish to your piece, and will tie everything together – whether your frame is made of decorative tape or varnished wood.

I like to use tape for a quick, easy, and inexpensive frame, as in the rose collage above.  Metallic tape from the hardware store and masking tape both work well. You can also find a slew of decorative tapes online and in stores.

Go Forth and Glue!

As I said before, creating a good collage is a tricky thing.  Finding the path to visual interest while avoiding visual overload isn’t easily done.  However, with a little practice you can do it!  Play.  Practice.  Have fun! Enjoy getting your hands dirty and covered with adhesive, and when you execute a successful collage give yourself a pat on the back.  Just make sure you wash your hands first!

Warm regards,

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