Friday, January 11, 2008

Paint Play

It's Friday and I thought it high time to get the paints out. I do my painting and stamping on a table in the kitchen, which has played the role of catch-all for months. Earlier this week, I cleared it of mail, old ads, all kinds of things I forgot was lurking there. My goal for the day was to add paint to the texturized piece that was my New Year's Challenge piece and to try coloring some cotton yarn. If all goes well, the yarn may end up getting couched to "Off the Grid."

I started with the yarn. This is a cotton yarn that I bought tons of many years ago. It was for matching sweaters for me and my husband. I'd never worked with cotton before, and of course, it was not the type of yarn the directions were written for. Thus, I totally overestimated what I'd need. Recently I used up more of it knitting a prayer shawl, but still had lots left. I've read how to wind yarn on special apparatus to dye it, but I wanted to leave this end of the ball intact to see how the paint might migrate and change.

I did soak it in water and squeeze it mostly dry before applying Dye-Na-Flow paint. I was considering what brush to use when I remembered the eye droppers I'd bought (again, years ago). These are perfect for dribbling paint and poking between the strands in a fairly controlled manner. I considered dribbling a second color, but decided not to push my luck this first time out.

Now on to the texturized piece. Let me say upfront that its color is the dickens to get accurate on a computer screen. The shots taken with the camera are the closest. The individual scans of the quadrants are less so, even after manipulating them in Corel Paint Shop Pro. The muted nature of the added paints is lost. That being said, the color itself is pretty awful, thus my need to cover it up with more paint! Here's the end result.

I started in the upper left corner. The original paint on the cloth is Dye-Na-Flow, so I added more in Midnight Blue. I left the fabric dry and simply loaded a flat brush sparingly with the paint, lightly brushing across the section. The raised puckered portions picked up the paint and accentuated the texturizing nicely.

Next I moved across to the upper right corner. Here the stitching is running horizontally and I thought "landscape." I wanted to see how well stamping would work over the texture so picked a commercial leaf stamp and a simple willow leaf stamp I made from a Styrofoam meat tray. I switched to Versatex paints because they are thicker out of the jar and can easily be applied to the stamp with a brush.

The Bronze and Orchid showed up well, the Copper was too close to the background color and the gold barely showed up. These colors weren't doing anything to improve the base color; what I needed, I decided was a green, and the only green I had in this line of paints was definitely not right. I searched my other offerings and stumbled upon some Lumiere paints. The olive looked to be close enough, and I like what it added. This arrangement of leaves reminds me a bit of Wisteria and how it hangs.

What to do with the last two quadrants? I started with the lower left, dipping the pen in the first picture into the Midnight Blue Dye-na-flow and drawing a curving line down the wider of the columns formed by the stitching. Although the pen worked well to draw this kind of detailed line, the line itself didn't add much to the overall design. So I decided to wet the fabric in that section and apply more Dye-Na-Flow, this time in Periwinkle. I wanted to see if the color would migrate and pool, altering the base color, but it pretty much just stayed where I put it.

While I waited for something to happen in that quadrant, I moved to the last one in the lower right. This configuration of stitching was perhaps the most successful in creating the type of texture I anticipated, and the open areas between the stitching begged for something dramatic. I turned to my set of Celtic inspired stamps, and a Versacraft fabric ink pad. I loved the clear crisp images, even with the uneven surface. I tried to stop myself before I stamped too many images - I have a bad habit of not knowing when enough is enough.

I was disappointed that next door, that extra paint on the wet fabric just wasn't doing anything. I was so excited about my Celtic stamps that I wondered if I could use them over the paint while still wet. I have several very small stamps in that set, just the right size for those columns. I eyeballed the spacing and alternated between two designs. The triangular one's details printed very sharply, in spite of the scan not picking that up. This worked well for me, I decided, because of the space being divided up by the stitching. If I were just stamping on a plain piece of fabric, I don't think this kind of arrangement would occur to me. I'd end up doing something more like I did with the other Celtic stamps or the leaves. I'll have to remember that. This sections was still a bit blah though, so I lightly brushed a little gold Versatex paint over it with a flat brush, just to add a few sparkly highlights. If you look closely, you can just make out those original curving lines made with the pen. The actual blue color is not nearly this bright.

Looking back at the other Celtic stamping, the black ink looked odd, so I considered how I could tone and blend it in a bit. I went back to the midnight blue Dye-na-flow and experimented with applying it with a fan brush. One has to be very careful about overloading the brush, as you can see in the upper right portion, and it takes a very light touch.

I liked the speckling effect and the hints of arches. This, I felt was very successful, although this scan does not do it justice.

This has worked out to be an excellent sample piece. The leaf section calls out to be incorporated into a larger piece, but I may just leave this intact for future reference.

Before I quit for the day, I dipped a couple of small pieces of white muslin into the Dye-Na-Flow waste water to tint them. I didn't squeeze out a lot of the water, so they may take some time to dry.

No comments: