Posts tagged ‘acrylic painting’

Painting the Dragon on the Vanity

Here is the first how-to on the vanity.

1.  I have painted the vanity with a Krylon acrylic paint in Banner Red.  The surface is clean.

preparing work area2.  I gathered inspiring images from Google.  Search for keywords that interest you and print out your favorites.  Print out for reference.  If you’re not comfortable free-handing, you can print out images  full scale so that they print on several pieces of paper and seam them together with tape.  Rub chalk on the back and trace from the front onto your surface to transpose chalk guidelines to your tabletop.  I took my favorite elements from several images to get a Dragon and Phoenix I liked.  Have your image respond to the edges of the table top.  My beasts curl around the curves of the desk.

image showing colored pencil outline

3.  I’m using a basic black acrylic paint found at any craft/art supply store.  You can use the 99¢ bottles of crafting acrylic or the thicker tubes.  The crafting acrylic should get a less-dimensional image.  The tube paint will leave raised ridges and brush strokes.  I liked this effect since it really told you the desk was hand-painted.  Pour a little paint into a small bowl.  Keep adding water and mix paint into water until you get an inky look.  Leave some paint unmixed in the bowl so you can vary the viscosity of your paint.

image applying paint4.  Use a long narrow brush.  I like the stiffer bristles of an acrylic brush so that I can vary the width of the stroke by adjusting the pressure on the brush.  I wanted to imitate the brush-stroke kanji of the collage paper.

image of progressive painting5.  Continue filling out the details.  Begin to layer in the thicker paint on the meatier areas if you want to give the paint some dimension.  Be aware that you will be working over a large area, so you may want to start on the area furthest from your hand (I obviously didn’t do this).  I don’t rest my hand on the surface, so it’s not as big an issue for me.  But, you don’t want to accidently run your hand through the wet paint.

image showing longer brush strokes6.  Wait until you’ve developed your comfort with the brush strokes before you tackle the longer major outlines.  I definitely developed a technique and style as I went along.  Don’t be too afraid to make mistakes.  Leave a moist rag around to quickly wipe up any strokes you don’t like.  Dry the area thoroughly before repainting to avoid bleeding or feathering.  The acrylic tends to sit on the surface until it’s sealed, so you can even wash off dried paint for the most part.

more progress painting7.  Invest in textures and details.  I really liked the feathered texture on the scales.  It took a while, but really took it from a craft project to a work of art.  That being said, I also left some areas very loose and interpretive.

image of finished painted tabletop

8.  Shot of the completed top.  The acrylic dries extremely fast.  Once the thickest parts have dried, take it outside and put  several clear coats of acrylic spray paint.  Do not use lacquer as it can cause wrinkling.  If you plan to collage, you’ll apply more coats of sealer on top of the collage work and will probably have to recoat the top as well to prevent the dusty look of overspray.

This process can be applied to any theme you choose!

 

 

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November 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm 1 comment

simple paintbox of spicy colors

image of colorful jars of clayI’ve been collecting local clays and minerals to continue my natural pigment retablo training.  I wanted to keep them in something I could take with me to craft shows to display the pigments.  I had some canning jars around from preserving various garden items and thought they would make perfect storage containers for the bulk of the clays.  But, I wanted something a bit more apothecary feeling for my everyday display jars.  I found a dated set of 1970 spice jars (still containing original herbs) at an estate sale for $1 that I thought were ideal.  I cleaned and filled them and used my label maker to give them delicious sounding names like chocolate, ginger and chile rojo and cumin.

image of the spice rack and tool boxI was just going to trash the ugly wooden holder until I realized it was the exact size of of my tool carrier.  I painted it white and mounted it together using some mending plates.  There was a perfect slot between the two to allow for my brushes to slip in.  I just love how it came out and it makes me want to leave the set out in plain view, encouraging me to paint.  I’ll be looking for another set of these spice racks for the other side of the tool box, mainly to adjust the weight!  I’m looking forward to displaying my setup at my first show!

Oh, I FINALLY finished and photographed the legless vanity!  Too late to post tonight, but it will be a series of how-to posts.  I can hardly wait for the big reveal…stay tuned.

tool chest in action

August 22, 2010 at 7:06 am 2 comments

St Anthony helps me find my art

Image of Jason painting a retabloI took a retablo workshop with my brother (the previously featured tinsmith) in Santa Fe today.  It was wonderful.  One of the traditional Spanish Colonial Crafts, a retablo is a piece of devotional art painted on a wood board that has been prepared with gesso.  It most commonly depicts patron saints or other icons of Christianity.

As a child, I had participated in the youth market of the annual Spanish Market.  But, as the distractions of life took over, I lost touch with the art.  Now that I am back in NM and enjoying watching my brother foster his tin talents, I long to develop my retablo interest once more.  I had studied with an incredible and well respected santera (=one who paints saints),  Arlene Cisneros Sena.   She taught me a respect for the art that I had not understood as a child.  She reminded me of the true meaning behind these primative saint paintings:  To honor God, a heavy responsibility for any artist to carry.  Over a series of intense one-on-one lesons, she also imparted the advanced materials and techniques that go back to the original Conquistadors.

After finishing my studies with her, I felt much more secure in my understanding of the art of retablos, but I still did not feel a personal ownership of the art.  I was also struggling with the realization that although Arlene’s personal retablo style is beautiful and impressive, it does not reflect my natural style of painting.  I did not want to simply imitate her work.  I needed to find my signature feel.  I applied for Spanish Market last year and was rejected.  I believe it was primarily due to the fact that I had not developed my work enough for it to have a consistent style (ie. my pieces did not look like they were painted by the same person).  But, the rejection (as rejections are prone to do) stunted my motivation.  My brother has been encouraging me to continue to develop and suggested this workshop.

image of clay pigmentsI jumped on it immediately.  As a one day workshop, the actual workshop was casual and not filled with too much technical information.  We were given prepared boards and Juanito jumped right into a retablo.  Each artist has a preferred media.  Some use acrylic, others watercolors, others natural pigments.  Juanito uses earthen clays which gives his pallete a very natural complimentary feel.  I found myself freed to paint, unburdened from the responsibility of choosing or representing colors.  The freedom led to a natural evolution of the painting and I was very happy with the result.  Juanito himself has a very fluid, interpretive style.  And, although my work is very different from his, his permission to loosen up with my hand gave me some confidence to trust my insticts.  I’m very hopeful about applying this year for market and look forward to developing a few more potential portfolio pieces with the new techniques I have adopted.  The piece shown is the retablo that I finished today, the image of Alma de Maria.

image of Alma de Maria retabloI was also quite happy to find out I had won the workshop raffle!  Juanito painted a demonstration retablo depicting Saint Anthony (patron saint of lost items).   He asked us to pick a number between 1 and 40.  I picked 27 and hit the nail on the head.  He personalized the retablo to me.  It was a good day.  If you ever get the opportunity, I recommend taking a workshop with either my brother at his shop (www.NewMexicoTinwork.com) or at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts (www.SpanishColonial.org).  You can view photos from the workshop at my online gallery.

I would love to collect some clays from around the world!  If you would like to send me some clays from your region, please send to:

SEAN WELLS
3167 SAN MATEO BLVD NE
ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87105

Saint Alma retablo with tin accents by Jason Younis y Delgado.

UPDATE 09/22/2010:  My brother just added tin accents to my retablo.  Here is the beautiful collaboration!

August 1, 2010 at 7:06 am 3 comments

first Q project!

Vintage stainless steel barber chair

BEFORE $10

Picked up this sweet little beauty (chair;) at a yard sale for $10.  It’s hydraulic and heavy, but was in good condition.  My family goes back 5 generations in the Spanish Colonial Arts.  My brother is a tinsmith and I’ve trained as a retablo artist (icons of the saints painted on wood boards).  I love the art and I also love juxtaposing the iconography with modern themes.  The image from this chair is the one that appears in our banner.

The chair is currently  at a furniture consignment house frequented by Hollywood studio types retailing for $400 🙂  So maybe you’ll see it again In Plain Site 😉

~ Sean

AFTER

hand painted acrylic "Our Lady of Guadalupe" icon.


Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady Of Guadalupe Detail

Our Lady of Guadalupe detail 2

Our Lady of Guadalupe detail 2

June 24, 2010 at 10:35 am Leave a comment


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