Part 5 Exercise 3- preparing a textured ground

For this exercise we are to experiment creating surface textures and effects.  It’s suggested we have a theme or title in mind and some ideas were ‘Urban Jungle’, ‘Rough Sea’, ‘Autumn’ and ‘Ghost town’.   We are to look at using glues, varnish, gesso, rags, torn paper, cardboard, grasses, sticks, leaves etc. etc. and to prepare one or two paintings.

I decided to make use of three small canvasses that were due for recycling anyway.  

canvasses ready to use again

I chose as my themes, ‘Kelp waving in the sea’,  ‘Winter saplings’,  ‘Waves’

For all of the canvasses, I first applied gesso and allowed that to dry – which created some nice textural effects by itself due to the underwork, some of the canvasses had collage on them already and metallic paint elements. 

I chose to work on the waves painting first, cutting up some fine chiffon material into strips – the material is from an old beach kaftan that I use as an artist smock, it has glitter in it and white paisley designs, which I reckoned would simulate swirling water.   I applied the glue to the canvas very thickly in bands and then applied the material covering about three-quarters of the picture plane, I worked in the landscape format for this painting.  I manipulated the material with my fingers to make it stay raised up in certain areas.   I left that to dry overnight.

While the waves painting was drying, I started working on the Saplings painting, which had ink on it from a previous painting – ink tends to seep through canvas and doesn’t go away, no matter how much gesso you put on it.  I figured the pink of the ink would create a glow in the background, I decided to keep the sky and background very plain, although I did use some heavy structure gel on the canvas first to create some movement in the sky area.   I used EasiFiller (a kind of grout) to create the support area for the ‘saplings’. These twigs I had in my craft box and I arranged those onto the EasiFiller with some dried out seed pods (simulating stones or fallen tree trunks?).  I left that to dry out overnight.

Then I came to the Kelp picture.  I had previously made a very large study on stretched canvas using tissue paper collage (see below) …

Large canvas ‘Kelp’ study

… and decided to try that out again, only this time using sisal rope for the main support fronds.   I applied a lot of glue to the surface, as well as acrylic paints in blues and green/aquamarine and arranged the rope on top, it took a while to adhere to the canvas and I had to still press it down and re-glue it in the morning.  

I also used Pebeo metallic paint (a kind of aquamarine green) and blue, black and green inks to create the colours for the ‘sea’ in both the kelp painting and the waves painting.   I then tore off strips of tissue paper, very thinly and sprayed them lightly with orange and red inks.  I dipped each strip of tissue paper into the glue and twisted and twirled it to form a kelp ‘leaf’, arranging them towards the top of the picture. 

I applied dabs of white acrylic paint with my figures to create the sea foam and left it to dry. The saplings painting I also used inks and some acrylics to create the illusion of undergrowth.   For the waves painting ‘sky’ area I applied a very think wash of ink and then dripped tiny droplets of alcohol onto the surface to mimic ‘clouds’.   I lightly touched the peaks of the material with acrylic paint to simulate the foaming wave tops.

These are the final results: Kelp

‘Kelp’ mixed media on stretched canvas 25.5x 20cm

Texture detail:

‘Winter Saplings’

‘Winter Saplings’ mixed media on stretched canvas 25.5 x 20 cm

Texture detail:

And finally, ‘Waves’

‘Waves’ mixed media on stretched canvas 25.5 x 20 cm

Texture detail:

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