The aim of this technique is to re-purpose the kind of paper and plastic which come to me without me having to go looking for it at all. It’s really just a matter of collecting up this stuff. Preparation involves cutting up the plastic into a variety of shapes and sizes, and tearing up the paper material. Then, as i go, I cut up some useful shapes for facial features as I see fit. This technique is very easy on the hands, and incredibly cost effective, so I expect to be doing more of these in the colder months.
I glue it all down with mod podge glue, and once dry I paint over them with acrylic gel medium.
Collaged Face #1
Collage with newsprint, coupons and plastic bags on 600gsm paper.
Collaged Face #2
Collage with plastic bags on 600gsm paper.
There are many old picture frames, which in their day would have been expensive, but which, over time succumbed to scratch marks and dents. The trouble is that you can’t really restore most of them, and you can’t just paint over them, as they have a shiny varnish which the paint won’t stick to.
I purchased a rotary power tool with sanding bits especially to get into all the difficult areas where my rheumatoid hands don’t want to go. My idea was basically to give these frames a whole bunch of dents while sanding the varnish off, and to then make a DIY crackle effect to give the frames an “antique chic” look.
The undercoat of this frame was black, which, once dry, I painted PVA glue onto, and straight away applied white acrylic which I had previously mixed with some cornstarch to give it a slightly coarse texture. I took a few snapshots with my phone to give you all a glimpse at how it turned out:
Sketching with brush and ink has been relatively easier on my arthritic knuckles than sketching with pencil, so I thought it would be even better for me to minimalise the work required from the fingers. The solution I thought of was lyrical line drawing, the like of which Henri Matisse became well known for.
I did a search for “female dancer”, found some that I liked, and picked one out to firstly do a regular line drawing of in pencil, and then translate into the thicks and thins of brush and ink:
This small scale flatters me a bit, as there are really some hesitant lines, but my hope is that with continual practice, I will figure out the best schemata of brush strokes, and will then be able to play with the image a bit more.
I’ve been exploring ideas for scaling down the size of my work. This is in-keeping with my kind of bohemian minimalist philosophy. I live and work in my little flat, and thus, the need to maximise space. I believe in tailoring my art to my living circumstances, and allowing them to be the constraints which inform my processes.
It’s early July, which in New Zealand is the middle of winter, which for someone with rheumatoid arthritis, makes productivity difficult. I can’t get away with straining my hands to paint finnicky details, and my window for doing art is from about 11am until about 3pm, with 1pm until 2:30pm being the best time. My work space is north-facing, which means it can actually get quite warm on a sunny winter day.
Needing an approach which requires less hand strain, I have reverted to my graphic design training, where I learnt that less is more, and to “Keep It Simple Stupid”.
The technique I’ve been using involves building up layers of watercolour onto which salt crystals have been evenly applied.
I have been beginning with Sap Green, and adding a little Pthalo Blue for each successive layer. After about five layers, for this piece, I have chosen to draw a simple circle in the centre, and to paint it white:
I intend to continue this approach with the circle motif, and then begin to experiment with other shapes and colour combinations in the future.