Posts tagged ‘acrylic’

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

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

$10 wicker bench ready for Broadway!

bench before

BEFORE

bench after

AFTER

It was supposed to be a quick repaint job.  But thanks to my impatience, it took me weeks to get it right.  Concept: remove cushions, scuff-sand, paint a contrasting color, paint clear coat, replace cushions.

SPRAY PAINT SAGA:  ACRYLIC VS ENAMEL
I’m thrifty, so I was using collected spray paint from my shed.  I wasn’t too concerned with whether it was flat, satin or gloss since I’d be finishing with a good clear coat of gloss.  I put two coats of  black acrylic spray on successfully.  But, the third can happened to be ENAMEL.  I had never stopped to consider the difference between enamel and acrylic sprays.  Well, it turns out, they are vastly different.  As I sprayed what was supposed to be the touch up coat over the thus far pristine surfaces of my black bench, it began to bubble and foam like a witches brew and wrinkle like a witches face.  Son of a witch.  So, I waited another hour and went back to sand the malformed areas.  I began to sand and as the heat from the friction of the sanding increased, the wrinkled, bubbled areas became gobby, lumpy messes.

At this point, I was desperate enough to do something I hardly ever do–I read the directions on the can of paint.  It turns out, with Enamel spray paint, it is best to put a second coat on either within the first hour OR wait 48 hours for the paint to fully cure.  Enamels are oil based and have MUCH longer drying and curing times than acrylics.  But, the benefit is that the finish is shinier and more durable, a trade-off my patience is rarely willing to make.  Because of the vastly different drying rates, it is unadvisable to layer either paint on the other without allowing for complete cure time of the base layer.  But, I also suspect that because of the oil based nature of enamel, it may act as a solvent to even fully dried acrylic base coats as I finally did let all undercoats cure completely and still had problems with wrinkling and bubbling. Well, after several more rounds of sanding and painting (acrylics only), it’s satisfactory.

I was most happy with the sophisticated color palette.  I opted to leave the back cushion off.  It emphasizes the horizontality of the bench and invites the new owner to play with some throw pillows (and I know you love to play with throw pillows, Beth).  I plan to bring the bench to the furniture consignment later this week.  My dh does not approve of wicker anything, so we will not be adopting this particular piece.

bench before

BEFORE

bench after

AFTER

June 30, 2010 at 6:14 am 6 comments


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