Tag Archives: acrylic paint

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

Bookbinding on Christmas Day

xmas_book_coverI had house guests for Christmas. Last time they stayed, they expressed a wish to make a Reverse Piano Hinge book. We had a full program during the few days they were here, so it was Christmas Day we made the book.

The reason they wanted to make this book is that you can remove pages and replace them (or not) without damaging the book. Each signature (section of pages) is held in place by paper pins that can be removed and replaced, as shown in the second photo. The ‘pins’ go through the green concertina which enters the book block through slots cut in the pages. The paper for our sketchbooks is Fabriano Hot Press, which was obtained with great difficulty, due to a shipping container being water damaged and none available. Well, almost none.


Unfortunately I forgot to photograph my guests’ books, but here is mine. The paste paper I used for this one was made in 2010. Annie and I made a huge batch of paste papers for the artists who were demonstrators at the Matisse Open Day that year. On the day prior to the Open Day, Rosemarie Jeffers-Palmer taught them all the Reverse Piano Hinge book. Everything was supplied by Matisse Derivan. There wasn’t time for the artists to make their own papers, so Annie and I made them all, and did a quick demo on the day. You can see the finished books with the paste paper covers here.

Out of all those papers, we kept one set each, and this is mine, unused till now. But I still love the colours. The book took us most of Christmas Day to make, so we had a quick nibble for lunch, and were not allowed to open a bottle until the books were all complete about 5 – 5.30 p.m.

Not the best photography you ever saw, but a combination of low light and a helper….didn’t help.



Filed under acrylic paint, artist's book, decorated papers, paste papers, sketchbook

Sloshing more water around…

fabriano_bookI made a book for myself from Fabriano paper for when I come home from my travels, because I am using more water when I paint recently and want to use more still. It takes five sheets to make two books this size. I made the red one for a friend, so this one is for me. I chose the Canaletto paper for my travels because it is so robust and served me well last time. But I think the watercolour moves better on the Fabriano paper. I will have to wait and see. The books are just under eight inches square, but the Canaletto is slightly longer in the portrait format and the Fabriano in the landscape format. A good size when you open it up to a full spread.

I chose this blue and green because it appeals to me even though it is so simple. It has only one coat of paste, then it was scraped with a cheap plastic scraper from the two dollar shop. You can see the brush marks, and now you know that with this most recent batch of paste paper I used a house-paint brush. Sometimes I use a one inch imitation sable, but you can cover the ground faster with a two or three inch brush. I like the brush strokes showing.

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Filed under acrylic paint, book art, decorated papers, paste papers, sketchbook

How to make Paste Papers


Close-up. Pulled paste paper. One layer.

Today it is all about making Paste Paper, showing you some results, and giving you the info about how to make them. A while ago I wrote an article  for a zine about making paste papers – how to make them, tips and tricks.  Now it is here on my new Resources Page for my blog readers to load down and use. Please give me acknowledgement if you share it. This first photo is a close-up of one of the ones done late in the day to use up colours.  This pulled one, in fact, was one layer, just folded in half, pressed down and seperated again.  You can do large sheets like this, but you really need two sets of hands to hold the four corners of the sheet. It is nice to do a pair of sheets for each person, as it is good to have a co-ordinated thing happening.

For the ‘pulled’ paste papers, you really need home-made paste. For others, commercially available paste such as Matisse Print Paste works well. I use it when I teach workshops. But it doesn’t work  to make these lovely mossy marks when you pull the sheets apart.


Looks like red and blue tartan with a heavy overlay of gold. Difficult to photograph with all the gold laying on the surface. Not a success.


Selection of blues and greens, some good, some bad.

The first thing I say in my article is that even your worst paste papers look good when they are put to use.    Here’s a fairly bad one. The colours weren’t working so well, so I put gold over the top. With metallics, you have to put in plenty of paint because they can be quite transparent. In this case I overdid it. It is all trial and error.

This one with blues and greens has some good and some bad. I am taking a’ bad one’ to a friend so she can see for herself how good they can look.


This one is beautiful IRL. Vermilion, cadmium red and yellow deep.


Made from leftover paste at the end of the day. Folded in half and pulled apart.

We mixed up a lot of reds, because I wanted the reds, pinks, terra-cotta colours of Italy. The one with the red-to-yellow gradient was made from the left-overs and pressed onto itself and ‘pulled’.  I am having trouble with all my devices wanting to turn reds to magenta so I have had to tinker with the colour of the red ones and they are still not perfect.

Some of these I like very much and others……not. But there is a roll of them in my suitacse already. One has been made into a book cover for my own Fabriano sketchbook. Which one do you think I have used?


Southern Ocean Blue and Gold. Two layers. I love Southern Ocean Blue.

I haven’t photographed all that we made. There were so many. And two weeks later the paste is still in the fridge and perfectly useable.

Do look at some of the links in my article.


Pink and Green. I think the pink is a discontinued colour that I dragged out especially for somone who likes pink. Australian Sap Green. Two Layers.

Other people’s paste paper can be very different. Mine is very slapdash, rough and ready, but I am happy with the results. Any questions, I am happy to answer.


Filed under acrylic paint, acrylics, decorated papers, paste papers

Sketchbooks for Italy

three_booksI am going to Italy well armed with sketchbooks. The first three weeks (in Sicily) will be a workshop including drawing, printmaking and bookmaking. I have already made my books. I liked the format I used on my last trip, and the Canaletto paper is very robust, so I decided to go that way again.

robyns_red_bookThe red one with the medallion is not for me. It is for a gift for a friend, and it is Fabriano hot press paper, hence the slightly different format. I like the way the paint moves on this paper, so my next trip I will use Fabriano, though the paper is thinner…200gsm I think. Canaletto is 300gsm. The Fabriano makes a thinner book with the same amount of pages. Lighter too, I suppose.

The red paste paper (above) was made on one of the scarce sunny days we have had recently. I made a whole lot more paste papers, but I still need to photograph them.


vasari_bookYou will have seen the stencilled papers before. So now the yellow one inspired by Sicilian ceramics is bound, and the other red  is pierced, ready to bind. I will take my needle and thread with me, in case I decided to re-bind on my travels. I am taking print-making paper (BFK Rives), cut to size. I may decide to re-order my pages, so the binding of the yellow may be cut up and done again. Taking an unbound book also means I can take just some pages with me if that would be useful.

This red paper  is recycled stencils from my Bologna artist’s book. This time I have decided to call it my Vasari book, as although I am going to Bologna, I will also be in Arezzo for a week, where there is Vasari’s house and arches as well.

As for endpapers, my two books are plain. But the one that is for a gift has amazing endpapers. I can’t show you. Something has to be a surprise.


Filed under acrylic paint, artist's book, book art, decorated papers, Italy, paste papers, sketchbook, stencils, Travel

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

Floating Market Tour

floating_market_tourAnother day, another tour. But this tour was the best fun!  Broni chose the Floating Market tour and again we went with the same company and had a wonderful guide.  This market was  called Damnernsaduak. There seem to be several floating markets (on Tripadvisor). We went by bus to a point in the country and then we rode on a long-tail boat down the canals for half an hour. Very much recommended. Fast and furious. If we had had another day, I would have gone on a longer trip on the canals.

When we reached the market it was a shadow of its former self.  Most of the boats contained tourists rather than market stall-holders as they had moved on to the land.  Yes, actual shopping. We spent half an hour in this part of the market. It was around lunchtime, so we asked our guide where to buy the coconut pancakes.  From a boat, handed over in a basket on a long pole. Small, like the size of Dutch poffertjes, if you know those. We shared a serving, then we had one each. That good.

Then we were taken to another part of the market for another half hour. Suddenly, nice Thai gifts for our friends. Also important – elephant pants for me. We had been seeing some tourists wearing black and white pants with an elephant design. I wanted some, but hadn’t seen any to buy. Now I have black and white elephant pants, and navy and white fish pants.  But only half an hour to shop! Needed longer, but didn’t have , it so went our separate ways and shopped madly. Gifts for friends, Christmas shopping. Great. Even had time to buy some of the little rice cakes the guide recommended.

Back at the hotel, we were hot and if you look on the right hand side of the page you will see what we had. Yes, there was one in the hotel lobby. Very refreshing for a couple of hot Dottoresse.

That evening we ate in the hotel, yet again. It is one thing I really dislike about Bangkok. It is so slow to get anywhere by car, and you can’t safely just choose somewhere on the street near the hotel. But the food was good, so good that I had pad thai again. I also drew part of the huge decorative feature in the middle of the coffee shop. Then we finally went to the bar to use our ‘welcome drink’ vouchers.  The bar was empty. No wonder. Two television sets playing different programs. Time for bed.


Filed under acrylic paint, collage, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Thailand, Travel, watercolour