Tag Archives: acrylic mediums

Kylie gets a makeover

I made Kylie in a sculpture class in my first year at the Sydney Gallery School in 2002. Everyone in the class made one. We had to copy a Greek head using Hebel block. They no longer use this material for sculpture for safety reasons – dust, I think. Somebody said ” we ought to give her a name”. Someone else said, “what about Kylie?” And it was agreed. She is Kylie.

Sculpture was a mandatory class. I was hopeless at it. My hands and wrists are weaker than average due to having polio when I was two years old. Luckily I had a kind teacher, who would say ” show me where you want to cut, and I will do it for you”.  I not only passed, but got a credit, much to my surprise. Probably for attendance.

IMG_5120I have had a lot of experience with faux finishes in the past. Kylie previously had a different finish…pewter. She lives on the floor in the lounge and holds back the door when the breeze blows through and it would otherwise slam.  As I have been redecorating my lounge to a certain extent, I decided to do Kylie with a verdigris finish.  I have another “head”. It is a self-portrait in clay, which was easier on the hands. That one is also in verdigris and lives in the kitchen. Doesn’t look a lot like me, but there is a bit of resemblance.

So this week, when I had cleared away my daily bookcloth-making equipment, I would put another layer of paint on Kylie. It took me a couple of days as the weather is cold and I wanted to be certain each coat and the dribbles of paint were totally dry. She is back in place now and the colour looks great.


Filed under acrylic paint, acrylics, faux finishes, Sculpture

Notebook for Sicily

notebook_materials Currently I am working on sketchbooks and notebooks for my trip to Sicily and Italy. I always like to take a notebook with  me. It helps when I don’t remember what I did the day before yesterday, and I have still to write in my sketchbook. It holds the addresses and phone numbers of hotels, and the times of trains.

I found this piece of Gelli print for the cover. You can see a video of my demonstration of Gelli printing here, and maybe I even made this print while I was demonstrating that dasicily_notebooky. More also on the Gelli Arts blog. It is full of great ideas.

This notebook is A6 size. It has six signatures sewn into a concertina, then it has bands glued under the endpapers to hold it together. The Gelli cover is two layers, a lemon, and a mesh of onion bag. Colours are Matisse Emerald and Australian Red Violet. Both with Open Medium. The endpapers are Credit Card Papers. There’s another demo video of that (and paste papers).

Now I can start writing in it. I’m looking forward to filling it up on my travels.

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Filed under acrylic paint, book art, decorated papers, Gel printing, Gelli Plate, Gelli printing

Playing with Gel…testing, testing, testing.

self_levellingI have been playing around testing a new product for the manufacturer. Lots of fun, though time-consuming. It was weighing on my mind, and first I had to come up with a PLAN.   I got an idea about transparent plastic sheets from a video from Jane Davies, then I put my own take on it. I love the vivid colours of the Matisse Inks so I wanted to see how the  gel would dry with the ink mixed in. I wanted to find a use for the gel for fine art purposes, rather than craft, but not to just pour it straight onto canvas.

I knew this needed a safe place to dry over a number of days without a cat walking on it. So first I did all my washing, so that the top of the washing machine would be available. The gel was to dry on plastic sheet protectors – the ones you use in display books. So I started with a sheet of perspex under the sheet protectors, so that I could move it to the top of the washing machine when I was ready.

I mixed up four little potions of ink with the self-levelling gel, each colour in its own little plastic shot glass. Each shot glass was about 2/3 full of medium, and I added ten drops of ink. The colours I used  were yellow, red, turquoise and green. (I wouldn’t use the green another time, because the colours mixed sufficiently that the  yellow and turquoise made green). I dribbled each colour on and they merged and blended as I poured more on.

When I was finished I moved them to the top of the washing machine to dry. I didn’t take into account that this is an old terrace house and the floors are not totally level. Nor the fact that the perspex bent a little to follow the contours of the top of the washing machine. Soon I was having to wipe up small spills and to  wedge articles under parts of the perspex sheet to ensure it was level. It caused the colours to move about and blend and marble some more. This is the part that gave me some lovely feathery edges as the medium retracted when the perspex was level. It was touch dry by the end of the day, and after a day or two I could pull it off the plastic sheets. I have left it three weeks to cure. Acrylic often appears dry long before it is cured. Now it is not sticky on either side.

I have cut this piece off with a craft knife and stuck it in my sketch book with PVA glue.  This is a test also. I will leave some waxed paper in there for a while to stop it sticking to the facing page, but eventually I will remove it to see what happens.  Then we will know if it can be used inside a book. It is a couple of millimitres thick, and quite flexible.  Possible uses: 1) an art piece made by cut-out pieces glued to a perspex sheet with the light behind it. (2) an installation of pieces with the top rolled around a small dowel and hung with the light behind them. I’m sure there are many more uses.

I think it is quite possible to control this product and make many kinds of flexible transparent sheets. It is possible to peel it off a large perspex sheet as long as you coat it with Vaseline first. I would use scissors to cut it in future, as the craft knife drags it a little.  I also think it would be possible to peel off a sheet that had a lot of holes in it as long as you were careful.  But the gel also does have a mind of its own. Control is not absolute, and you might get some happy surprises.

I was hoping to add some more close-up photos to show you the lovely feathery edges, but the days are so dark that the flash keeps going off. Maybe later.


Filed under acrylics, inks, Matisse Derivan

Sydney to Bangkok

observation_deckWednesday morning, up very early and off to the airport. A quick check-in and soon we were established in the Qantas Lounge. Breakfast. From our table I had a view of the Observation Deck. Is there enough time? Sketch anyway. So here we have a quick and dirty sketch of it. I even had time to put the colour on except for the sky. Now here is a surprise. During the flight I asked the Qantas steward for a plastic or paper cup of water (so that I could wet the paper and slosh on the sky with a big brush.) He said in forty years of being a steward, nobody had ever asked him for painting water before. So I had two stewards standing in the aisle, looking over my left shoulder.

A long trip; ten and a half hours. We had lay-flat beds, but it was daytime. For heavens sake we wanted to sit up, so that we would sleep in our Bangkok Hotel that night. Without exception, all the other passengers pulled down their blinds, lay flat and went to sleep. Darkness, all day. Unfortunately we were seated in the middle section and didn’t have a window to let some light in. We passed over Borneo and also Vietnam. Didn’t see a thing.

Late afternoon, arrival in Bangkok. Huge airport, lots of walking. However the shuttle bus to the hotel was easy to find. More about the hotel later.


Filed under Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Collaging the pages in my sketchbook

kozo_paper These are the papers I use to collage my sketchbook pages. I buy them from Artwise the Amazing Paper Shop. You can click on any of these images to get a better look!

kozo_on_bookI lay them on the sketchbook (in this case, a Stillman & Birn Delta series……nice and robust for this sort of work….pages don’t curl) and work out which pieces I will use. I always tear the papers rather than cut them.

I use Matisse Gel Medium, though other mediums would also be fine. Then kozo_with_gelI glue them against the pages of one of our local papers, the Inner West Courier, which has glossy paper so the newsprint doesn’t come off. One by one, I paint the medium onto the kozo paper, out past the edges, so any loose fibres will stick down. Then I place them kozo_gluedon the sketchbook page and press them down.

I could go right ahead and put watercolour paint on now, but unless I am pressed for time I put waxed paper between the pages and let it dry overnight. In the morning I slosh on some watercolour paint. kozo_paintedSometimes I just use what is on my palette but if I think I am going to be painting sandstone I use some yellow ochre or raw sienna.

This page was used for the Sydney University archway sketch, and the one on the left in the picture of the sketchbook was for the tower and roof.

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Filed under acrylics, collage, watercolour

Gelli Brights

Though I haven’t been sketching much lately, I have been making cards with my Gelli prints. Many of the ones I’ve made previously have been on top of recycled etchings or other types of fine art prints. I made quite a number framed by white and cream (the eco dyed ones for example) so I decided I needed more brights. As it happens, the ones I chose to photograph this time are Gelli printed only.

The first one has been printed with a capsicum (green pepper) and some sewing cotton. It has some glorious colours in there, and of course I don’t have a clue what colours I used. Perhaps some Matisse Primary Red which is quite a blue-red.

The second one is with a commercially available stencil and  another layer with some sewing cotton. There is a layer of yellow, some red, then some blue. I’ve noticed that I often use the three primary colours for Gelli printing.  This one has some yellow, a warmer red, and some  blue. I often use Matisse Southern Ocean Blue. I love that colour.

The third card uses the same colours, but could it be more different? It’s a combination of fruit and vegetable bags from the greengrocer.

Number four with the purple border is just gorgeous ‘in the flesh’.  There’s some orange there, some magenta, and a colour that could be Australian Yellow Green. (All these colours are Matisse Flow, used about 50/50 with Matisse Open Medium.)  This one is capsicum again, with I think lemons in a pale colour underneath. There are some filmy capsicums in iridescent on top.

The final one is a yellow first layer with sewing cotton, then lemons with green, followed by a stamp with a capsicum in Southern Ocean Blue.

They all have colour coordinated envelopes in brights that contrast with the main colour of the card.


Filed under acrylics, decorated papers, Gel printing, Gelli Plate, Print-making

EDiM 11 Something with wings.

This is a little peg doll Christmas tree ornament that I made a long time ago. A friend and I made a lot of them to put in with Christmas presents. I had a stash of small pieces of the most luxurious fabrics given to me by a friend who made theatrical costumes for a living. I still have four or five of them and I wish I hadn’t chosen this one to draw. It was the gold netting over-skirt that gave me the trouble – and the gold wings. The rest is watercolour but I used gold acrylic, and some white highlight, because gold is quite transparent and it wasn’t showing up.

EdiM is going through a stressful patch because there is just so much on. We’ve had the opening of our exhibition, and tomorrow I have to mind the exhibition. Today I hoped to stay home, catch up on EDiM and prepare for my workshop at Balmain Library next week. Then my mobile phone died so I’ll have to go into the city to take it for repairs.

This weekend is the Writers Festival, so that will take up all of Saturday. Art Along the Boardwalk and the Pyrmont Art Prize  are both on the same day this weekend. I normally take part in both of these, or at very least attend. The Sydney Sketch Club is going to the Powerhouse Museum. I’d planned to go to that till I found out the date. On top of that one of my cats got very sick, – many trips to the vet and about $1k so far. A friend turned up from out of town…and then the phone.  Still hoping to catch up a little today.

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Filed under acrylics, drawing, EDiM, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour