Sunday, 17 October 2010

Still experimenting!

My first dark-background experiment: single layer napkin image applied using acrylic wax; the result is quite textural, but the sunflower merges into the background under certain lighting conditions and you can't recognise the pumpkin at all!

Apart from the usual early Autumn chores, and work deadlines, I've been playing some more with colour-spill pages and different ways of applying napkin-tissue images. (The napkins I use are those good-quality ones that comprise three flimsy layers.) It worked well when I had a fairly light background (last post) , but not so well when I used a dark, vibrant one. 

This was my starting point, immediately after buying the sunflower napkins (the sight of which prompted a poem-spill which will go on the page once I settle on my preferred method of applying the image).

I've now tried six different methods for applying a bright yellow sunflower over a dark blue background: heat-n-bond (fusible web); backed with masking tape with gel medium for the adhesive; using acrylic wax to apply a single and double layer - just the image layer for single and the top two layers for double. But the one I think produces the best results, so that some of the background page colour still shines through the tissue image, would just happen of course to be the most time-consuming and the most complicated!

Not the same page as above; this was a trial at the back of my visual journal. Method as described below. You can see one of the sunflower images top right, and a pumpkin lower left, which also stimulated a 'poem-spill'.

I cut out all three layers of the napkin images I want to use and apply the bottom white tissue layer to the journal page using acrylic wax. Once dry, I paint over the ghostly shape of the image with white tempera paint (a bit like gesso but far, far cheaper). 

A close up which demonstrates better than my words exactly what I am talking about.

I let the gesso (white paint) dry, and then apply the actual image over the top, again using acrylic wax. I've tried it two ways, using just the top image layer, and also the top and middle layer. Still not sure what I like best!

Final experiment (for tonight): motifs applied with wax over the painted images; single layer left, double layer right. The double layer has a lovely texture but needs extra waxing to help the layers to meld; the wax soaks into the tissue though acts as a very good adhesive. 

I think I prefer the right hand result. It's hard to tell for a) the background here is a different blue and the red (for the pumpkins is too dominant, and b) it's difficult to compare all the photos for they have been taken throughout the day in different light conditions - this last under electric light - but not flash which renders the colours somewhat blatant. I now have numerous examples of these deep-coloured pages in my visual journal - sunflowers, pumpkins, apples, pears and hedgerow fruit - and still cannot guarantee what result I will achieve. But then I suppose that's what art is all about; you never know whether you will achieve a state of serendipity or want to tear the whole thing up! Now I need to add the poem-spills that prompted these trials in the first place; white pen, as soon as the wax is fully dry and firm.

Oh, and do let me know if the 'you might also like' is irritating. I added the facility, thinking I would be able to select earlier related posts, and did not realise that the suggestions are beyond my control. Maybe I'll remove the gadget.


  1. Lovely, lovely, Ann. You are really enjoying the spilling process and it is wonderful to see the vibrant oranges and blues on your page. I'm captivated by the notion of poem spilling.
    Personally, I love the "you might also like" feature.

  2. I am fascinated by the dimensional effect of your experimental pages--I'm not familiar with this sort of crafting nor with the materials used, but it seems a bit like a layered "applique" would be in quilt-block making.

  3. Love the colors you used. Very interesting technique with wax.
    I like the new feature by the way.