Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary....

I have fallen in love with Mixed Media pieces!  They allow me to use a bit of THIS and a bit of THAT accumulated over the years in my studio.  Last week, after a visit to our local Farmer's Market such a piece was born. 
 I fell in love with these flowers.  The fuchsia pink with bold orange centers screamed to come home with me.  Come home with me they did, BUT (as we all know) cut flowers only stay with us for so long :-(  Why not extend their life with a custom piece of art??  An idea began to formulate in my mind (do you hear the cogs turning??)

I went first to the Delight Airdry modeling compound to create some beautiful flowers, just opening pods, and green leafy components.  I rolled a piece of the clay through my pasta machine to flatten (for those of you without a pasta machine, 2 Popsicle sticks and a rolling pin will work just as well).  Then I used teardrop shaped Kemper cutters (2 different sizes) to start my petals. 

To shape each petal I pinched the edges between my fingers to thin and then used a needle tool to create veining down the center of each.  As each petal was complete, I placed them next to each other on my work surface and the flower began to take shape.  **Please note: pinching the petals gently together or overlapping a bit will help your flower to stay together as you build.**

After one layer of petals was completed I began with a second and then a third (note: 3rd layer used a smaller teardrop cutter), stacking layers as they were completed.  A final touch for my flower reproduction was a vintage glass button pressed into the center.  Once completed, the flower was set aside to dry (about 24hrs). 
I began work on the pod in the same way, but with a much smaller teardrop cutter.  I created the leaves first, pinching and veining just as with the flower petals.  I then rolled a ball of Delight clay about 3/4" round.  The top edges were shaped and veined with the same needle tool until I was happy with the look.  The pod was then pressed into place on the leaf ruffle and set aside to dry with the flower.
What to do while waiting for the flower components to dry?  Why work on the canvas, of course!  I sponge painted the canvas using 2 or 3 different green acrylic paint colors.  I used the edge of the sponge brush to add some gold veining.  Never known for letting something be so simple/plain, I knew it needed something more.  Time to pull out the Paperclay!!

I recently purchased a Delta stencil (Checkerboard Medley) and knew that would add the perfect background for the flowers.  I mixed a bit of the Creative PaperClay with some water to make a soft paste.  With the stencil placed on top of the painted canvas the paste was smeared into the open spaces.  Be patient...a light touch will lead to less frustration than a heavy hand.  Work the palette knife back and forth scraping paste into and out of the stencil.  Add more paste as areas need it.  Once all open areas are filled the stencil can be removed to reveal a raised texture.  WAY COOL!!  (**please note: the stencil cannot be replaced once removed without much smearing!**)
Set canvas aside to dry.

Flash forward 24 hrs...
...the flowers have dried and now it is time to paint!  Painting the flowers tends to be a messy process.  Normally I use Pinata inks and rubbing alcohol for this, but I wanted the flower color to be a bit more intense.  In my box of inks I found my Color Box Crafter's Pigment Ink Refill in a gorgeous color called Peony.  I mixed a little of the ink refill with rubbing alcohol and began to paint.  Areas where the color was too harsh were softened by going back over it with a bit of plain rubbing alcohol.  During this process my layers began coming apart :-(  Bummer!  No each portion was painted they were put back together before drying.  Be sure all areas are painted: top and sides especially.  The bottom will be glued down to the canvas eventually, so it really doesn't need to be painted...just a time saving thought. 

The process was repeated for the green leafy pods using Color Box Ink Refill in "green".  As I looked at the color, it was a bit brighter than I wanted, so I mixed a bit of Pinata Color in "Burro Brown" and added that on top of the green.  The brown seemed to soften the bold green.  A few dots of "peony" ink refill placed directly onto the pod center finished the look.

Placing the flowers on top of the canvas I waited for it to "speak" to me...Please, do not call the white coats yet :-)  The canvas asked for a few things: something along the edge, wording, some additional texture, and a few polymer clay components (you didn't think I would get through a whole project with out at least one, did you??)

Back to the studio to search....
...where I found some beautiful decorative leaf components, multiple alphabet rubber stamp sets, and a FABULOUS Mrs. Grossman's metal "Fall Vines".  The vine edging was the perfect touch both in size and color!! 
Woohoo...I placed a few leaves behind the flower and placed the green pod in the corner...Hmmmm, something not quite right.  I added a few decorative leaf accents behind the flower...getting better, but still something not quite right.  Hmmmm, I think some words are needed.  To the clay and stamps I go....

Perfect.  But still something is not quite right.  I searched through my polymer clay components and found a beautiful butterfly and a flower.  I finally realized that as much as I like the painted leaf pod, it just wasn't working the way I wanted.  Remove the pod, add the butterfly and polymer clay flower, plus some more wording...FINALLY!!! 
Use tacky glue (I use "The Ultimate" from Crafter's Pick) to affix everything to the canvas (note: Vintage glass button made need to be attached with super glue rather than tacky glue).  Let dry, the hang and ENJOY.

Materials list:
Delight Air Dry Modeling compound, Creative PaperClay modeling material, Kemper cutters, stretched canvas, acrylic paints, Color Box ink refills, rubbing alcohol, Ancient page ink pad, Mrs. Grossman's "fall vines", Delta decorative stencil,  Crafter's Pick "The Ultimate"glue, palette knife, q-tips, small mixing cups, miscellaneous components


Barbara Rankin said...

What a fun canvas, and I love how it turned out. I've been wanted to use my Paperclay® as a paste. You have inspired me to give it a try. TFS

Terri Sproul said...

great project

kathleen codyrachel said...

Love this - thank you for sharing this