Sunday, 20 January 2019

You Are Strong - Romanian Woman Canvas

It has been quite a while since I've uploaded anything to this blog. I'm still creating, but most of my stuff is only being displayed on my Instagram account. I feel that not too many people are actually reading full blogs anymore. If I'm wrong, leave me a comment at the bottom and I'll start sharing more here too. 

So this canvas was created for a friend at work, who had asked for a similar piece to one I've done before with a Romanian woman to reflect her heritage. I love doing these canvas pieces and am running out of room to keep them in my craft room so was happy to make one to give away. I thought I'd whip up a quick tutorial as well while I was at it.

My top tips for mixed media work:
1. Don't fall in love with the first couple of layers - realistically you're just going to cover most of these up.
2. Ensure you have contrast. Whether that's highlights of black/white or a pop of a different colour, you need something that stands out.
3. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, you can always cover them up if you really hate the effect 

First step for me when creating any mixed media piece is to lay down the background texture. Here I've used a book page, builders tape and crackle paste through a stencil. Because I'm working on a canvas, this was already primed with gesso. If you were creating on paper it's normally a good idea to give it a coat of clear or white gesso first to minimise warping.

I covered the whole thing with three shades of red/orange acrylic paint, blending them together as I spread the paint by spraying them with water to thin them out a little. This has actually blended them a bit more than I would have liked but I wasn't going to stress about it.

I applied some of the lightest orange acrylic paint to create circles on the background. I used a gelli plate to do this, with some ghost printing to create the lighter impressions. You could just as easily apply it directly through a stencil though.

This photo combines two steps. I drizzled some blue misting ink along the top edge of the canvas, letting it pool and drink wherever it felt like. I decided the blue didn't suit what I was going for, so went over it again with a brown ink which has a blue shimmer to it, just to tone it down and create a few more drips. 

Once that was dry, I applied the grey paint through a stencil. I wanted a really crisp design though and unfortunately my paint bled under the stencil. I just grabbed a baby wipe and whipped off all the grey paint. :)

Using the baby wipe to remove the paint gave me two lovely effects. Firstly, the grey paint stayed on the builders tape and highlighted that texture. I decided I liked the effect, so spread it around to the other areas with tape too. Whilst I was wiping the paint, it also took off the red paint from the top of the crackle paste, which made the stencil designs stand out more too so I repeated that over the whole canvas. 

I added a lot more interest to the background in this stage! I repeated the mist/ink drizzle at the bottom with a dark brown ink which I also flicked over the whole canvas, as well as some white ink. I've used white and brown pencils to highlight some of the orange circles. Lastly, I've applied some silver wax highlights to the crackle paste.

Once you're happy with the background, it's time to start building up the mid-ground. I used a paper doily, some cheesecloth and a ribbon off-cut. They were all glued down with matt gel medium.

The last step is to add your focal pieces. For me this was the Romanian woman after cutting her out and inking the edges in brown, along with the motivational stickers. I used a aquarelle pencil around the stickers to make them stand out a bit more too. Lastly, I added a couple more ribbons to the mid-ground as it was a little bit too plain otherwise. 

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. If it inspires you to create something I'd love for you to share your project with me!