Saturday, November 14, 2020

Getting Comfortable With Layering

Here's a little something I tried this week. My worktable is littered with leftovers from completed projects not worthy of being tossed and the end product of experiments I don't know what to do with. They stay on the table so they are only slightly out of sight out of mind. When searching through piles, I come across them and consider what I might do with them, come up with nothing and put them back in the pile or sometimes have a lightbulb moment. But this piece of Kraft Tex left over from a strip cut for a book cover and used to expend paint from a circular dabber I've always known needed more added to it.

Tired of looking at it and having recently gone through my collection of stencils, I had planned to use more paint to stencil something over the circles and was considering colors. I'm drawn to paint for stamping and the like but often shy away because I consider it a messy process that can be wasteful. About the time I decided green was the thing to add, I remembered this art crayon that I'd used so successfully in stenciling a pattern on Kraft Tex for yet another book cover. A slightly stiff brush is all I need to transfer the soft crayon through the stencil, and feeling totally in control (which I often don't with acrylic paint), I spent a relaxing hour working a layer of pattern over the circles.

Layering has never come easy for me. I look at what I have and fear I will ruin, not enhance it with another layer. This often is true when I get ready to add the quilting to a piece, quilt stitches actually a layer of their own adding not only delineating lines but texture that could overwhelm the designs in the top. Occasionally my fears come true, but usually I realize that last layer makes the quilt. As I forayed into surface design, I discovered I had this same reluctance to add layer after layer. Usually pleased with whatever I do on the first layer, it's hard to convince myself that adding something else will improve things, give the piece more depth and interest, even when I see successful examples in other artists' work. So this was a good exercise for me, starting with something I wasn't that enamored with in the first place so not much to lose, and seeing how much this second layer I knew it needed improved it.

You can see the stenciling and pouncing process referenced here at this blog post.


The Inside Stori said...

So encouraging…..layering does not come easily to me….really not sure why but your example gave me the incentive to keep at it…thank you!

The Idaho Beauty said...

This surprises me Mary, as I've watched post after post of your surface design layering experiments with your fiber group and in fact find myself spurred on by your seeming willingness to give anything a go! I will admit, it's easier to give things like this a try when working in a group, some of which have lots of experience, something I don't do. Glad my admitted reticence and subsequence success at least on this experiment is encouraging to you. Indeed, let's both keep at it because there's no doubt comfort only comes with familiarity which comes with lots of doing!