Tutorials for you

Constructing my Cabinet of Curiosities!

Desiree Here!! My family and I love oddities and some pretty weird things. My daughter Jennifer has collected bugs since she was a toddler, bringing home cans of pill bugs and caterpillars. Many of the  insects she made a pet eventually became adead pet and was pinned and put under glass for display. We love going to the Natural History Museum and Bug Fair in Los Angeles, they have so many wonderful  things on display. Since I always carry a sketchbook I will often make quick sketches of things I find odd or interesting for some reason. These sketches are often nothing more than line drawing with no time to shadow or paint since my family continues to move through and I hate to hold them up.

For years I painted murals, faux finishes (fake finishes) and tromple L'oeil (paintings that deceive the eye) for designers and private clients. It is always challenging to successfully create a textured finish like marble or leather on a white wall.  I wanted to share a fun technique that you can try at home, in your sketchbook or on just a piece of watercolor paper. This is also one way to take a sketch and make it a painting. This background would lend itself to many applications and give you a cool, weathered look. I will have a few posts so follow along and lets do this together if you dare!

When Judy revealed the theme for the month my mind immediately thought of the old scrolls, old leather, parchment type papers that look aged and weathered. I thought it would be fun to build my own faux cabinet of curiosities.

I first went around the house and gathered objects that I will sketch for my cabinet and I also remembered a sketch I have of a scary skull from a prehistoric fish that I quickly drew on a museum trip that I thought would be perfect. I will decide which of my oddities will make my cabinet as I work on this during the month.  I then gathered a large piece of watercolor paper, tissue paper, gel medium matte, alcohol inks in caramel, latte, and slate or acrylic inks would work too, an old paint brush and a charcoal pencil. Use at least three colors of inks for my old, weathered background.

 I had an old paint brush that I moved the ink around with even adding some water.
 Don't be afraid to add the slate, it will look dark but thats ok. Those will end up being your favorite spots.
 I continued to add mostly caramel and some latte until the color was rich 
I love the rich finish of this background!
Close up of text
 I then got my sketch from my sketchbook and transferred it to tracing paper and then to my background, use your preferred method.
My scary sketch!

After I added the off white and let it dry I started to go over that with my alcohol inks again. If you add alcohol inks over dried alcohol inks it reactivates them and they will lift so be careful going over finished areas. I added a stand with acrylic paint so that my skull wasn't floating. I then took a charcoal pencil and started adding dark lines, details and shadows. I used a damp brush to blend and move the charcoal. I then added some "wood" slats around the image to create the look of a cubby hole in my Cabinet.
 I still have more to go, I will continue to work on him if I need to but I think its time to move to another spot. The background is really so much richer in person. I know you are all shocked at this darker side of my artwork! He He He


Another Tissue Paper Technique
Hi Everyone, this is a tutorial on collage,color and circles!  I was so excited to see our theme for July sketchbook challenge was Circles! I love all organic shapes and circles are so much fun!! I have so many ideas and I even did class last year on using circles. I decided to share another class technique I am teaching and for today it's all about the three C's, collage, color and circles! If you can tell yourself that everything we draw and paint are just shapes then you can overcome the fear of complex subjects. Break everything down into shapes and its helps you simplify the subject. Everyone can draw circles, and circles can be lots of things so lets get started. First you will need a few things, a brush for painting, a brush for applying glue, tissue paper, permanent marker, pencil, watercolor paints, watercolor or intense pencils, copic markers and lets have fun. Don't worry if you don't have all the stuff, make due with what you have on hand. I like "Yes" paste but if you don't have it use any white glue watered down. I add water to the yes paste and stir a little watery solution in the middle of the paste that I paint with, don't use it thick, and remember, a little goes a long way.

 So to begin I will be doing a two page spread in my moleskine sketchbook. Plan on making yours a two page spread also, it doesn't matter which sketchbook you have as long as it has watercolor paper or thick paper. Then take your intense pencils and loosely and lightly (try not to tear the tissue) scribble a circle! I used red and a yellow, I have been canning peaches and thought I would make peaches but they turned into oranges instead, just go with the flow. Don't worry about being perfect just get it down and then outline in black permanent marker, I used a sharpie.

 You can see I even tore a bit of the paper but thats ok. Now tear around the image until you get it all ripped out and audition it by moving it around on your open sketchbook pages until you are satisfied. Pick it up and using your glue brush and your watered down paste,wet the area under where your image will be placed. Now set the image onto the glued area and take more glue solution and start by painting over the edges of the tissue, not the orange. Once you have them down start painting the glue solution over the orange, as you do this the color will come to life and be able to be moved around. Don't worry if you go out of the lines, it won't be perfect and we don't want it to be anyway. This look is a loose collage look.
Go ahead and continue doing this, over lapping circles until you have around five placed over your two page spread. 
Hmmm, more circles....ok cherries, circles with stems, make a bunch and begin by tearing them out and placing them as you did the oranges!
As I waited for the glue to dry a bit I then took my marker and started playing with text. I tried to incorporate the circle theme and did curly q's and wrote out the words "cherries" "&" "oranges" and tore them out. Now I want to look at my overall layout and decide wether I need more fruit, etc to help the overall design. 

 I decided I wanted some greenery, not really circles but a modified oval I felt they qualified. So I repeated my scribbling, tearing and glueing.

 So then once the leaves were added I laid out the words and glued them down, now just take some of your bits and pieces and glue them all over the rest of the paper, here and there, you don't have to cover everything and let it all dry. Once its dry I added more color with my watercolors, wetting an area and adding paint. I also added shadows because we need to ground everything so we don't have floating fruit. I used either cobalt blue or ultramarine blue to add the shadows, and notice that when stems are floating about the ground their stems also float. Do you see that? I gives it a great feeling of sunlight casting shadows. I also a did soft circles of color in the background by using water with limited paint, the tissue paper grabs the color differently all over and so you get some wonderful textures just from the paint traveling around. Make sure you leave a bit of lighter area on your fruit to indicate your light source.

 Next I took some of my copic markers, ones that matched the colors of my oranges and cherries and I outlined the pages. I like an outline and as I went around with the markers the ink grabbed the paper differently where there was tissue paper and where there was no tissue paper, making a textured outline. I also went around my lettering with the markers and added a date box. I then took my sharpie and journaled different summer fruits, summer thoughts and summery things.

 Here is my final page, it has lots of layers, textures and CIRCLES!!! Yeah, what will your circles become, I can't wait to see what all you creative people come up with. Have fun, share and make sure you post to the flicr group so you can have a chance to win some artwork from one of us. Happy painting!


mw said...

very pretty! and an interesting technique with which to work.thank you for sharing & explaining it.

Gina said...

What an effective technique and great tutorials; thank you for sharing these!

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