Thursday 17 January 2013

Helen Chilton #4 .... Tag Trio

Helen is back with yet another colourful trio of tags. She really has found in this post some unique tricks that I'm sure you will explore too. 
Portfolio Pastels are available as singles, or in a set of 24.

Leandra says: When Lynne Perrella came over to England to teach at an ArtsyCrafts event in October 2011, she demonstrated her take on using portfolio oil pastels. She adores them because they are cheap, the colour is so vivid, the soft nature of the wax means you can apply colour, and the warmth of your fingers is enough to spread it about. These are not how you expect crayons to be, they are incredibly blendable. At the time, Lynne said to us, everyone who uses these seem to find their own way with them, everyone has a different thing they like to do, so we encourage you to find your take on working with them, and share with us by linking here!

Helen says:

"With these tags, I've tried scraping back into the wax on them to create highlights. You can create thin or thick lines - I used a scrapey tool, but if you don't have one, a craft knife, or a pointy tool will do.

The water-soluble nature of these pastels comes into its own here - if your stamping goes wrong, you can just wipe it all off (StazOn image included) with a baby wipe and start again.

That in turn led to the middle tag - I thought I'd colour, stamp some background in coordinating StazOn inks and then take the colour off with a baby wipe to give a washed out look.......I love experimenting!"

I've painted the tag white first of all with Snowflake fresco, and then blended on a thick layer of pastels. All these colours blend together so don't worry about overlapping them.  
 I've stamped the face (LP013) in black but it didn't come out very well as you can see. Stamping on these oil pastels isn't difficult - I just didn't apply even pressure when stamping the image.
Not to worry, I decided to repeat to get better results, so all I did was quickly wipe the centre panel off and let it dry, then add some colour in again.
If something doesn't happen quite how you expect it, there's usually a way round it if it goes wrong.

A note from Leandra re inks: 

1. StazOn is ideal for slick, shiny surfaces (acetate, metal, acrylic), and wax is also an unusual, kind of slick surface. StazOn is a solvent ink (the smell gives it away) and so it is fast drying as the solvent helps it evaporate and therefore dry faster than an Archival ink on a slick surface. StazOn is therefore ideal for what Helen is doing here, but when working with wax think twice before picking up your heat gun if you've got itchy fingers to zap! Because IF you heat the thick wax and the stazOn, the wax will melt, and the image will get a bit warpy-melted with it - in other words it may get blurry, so for what Helen is doing here it's probably better to let it dry naturally.

2. I hear you asking 'what about archival ink?'. Archival or permanent inks CAN be used when stamping on wax, however, I have found there are 2 ways to do this:
(a) stamp your image first onto manilla tag or smoothy card, heat set, then apply the colour to the stamped image. Or 
(b) apply your wax to untreated white card (eg smoothy), heat with a heat gun to melt the wax into the card, and then stamp in archival ink on top, and heat again to set the ink. However, for the technique Helen is doing here, neither (a) nor (b) is appropriate because later she wants to scratch back through the thick wax to the white painted layer below. 

These are ideas you may want to explore at some point to discover which ink you prefer to use on top of wax. 

On this one (LP013) some tiny details on the face didn't come out, but it was easy enough to fill the missing detail in with a black permanent marker!

Next, I added some background stamping to fill up the tags.The 3 crowns are from LPC011.


And then start etching highlights back to the white layer. If it's a really detailed image like here, it's useful to have the index sheet to follow.

Prepare and colour another tag and stamp some tiny text from (LP014) in coordinating colours. When I'm filling in backgrounds or odd spaces like this, I don't bother putting the stamp on a block, I just dab it on the ink pad and use the bit of the stamp I want. You can also curl or bend the stamp to fit in an empty space.
Next gently wipe back with a baby wipe to give a washed out look - quite a bit of the StazOn text came off - I think if I'd left it to dry for longer more would have stayed on, but I was too impatient! Then rub over some more colour while it's wet.

After that stamp the lady in black (LP010) and then go back in with the text stamp (LP014) and use it to lightly stamp the light and dark areas of her face and the building.

Then add some colour back in to the middle tag and swipe some colour out on the outer tags.

Lastly I stamped the postmark from (LP010) in Limelight. I was going to use blue or white paint, but just thought the green would give it a real kick! If you're going for bright, you might as well go all out!

To finish off, the tags are hinged together with card - I've coloured the centralfold so that it blends in with rest of the project.

You can then add gems, pearls, twiddly bits and tie wool or ribbons at the top.
I hope you are enjoying the oil pastel ideas as much as I have been. I'd love you to join in this week and show what you have been doing. If you go back to the post where I was introduced on Sunday night, you can use Mr Linky to add a link to what you have been inspired to create this week. Don't be shy, jump in and have a go with what you have to hand, tags, crayons, watercolour's all relevant!

Leandra Says: I am a fine-script junkie, and I am totally in love with how that superb fine script looks on the face of the central tag, so delicate, but so very effective in the different colours. Having the BG on the centre tag paler than the others really makes that tag the central focus. You also have used white again to scratch in highlights, another brilliant way to generate contrasts and catch our attention. Fantastic!

Gillian Says: So many great tips in this project Helen. The centre tag with the script detail behind the image really does make it stand out. I love the vibrancy to these tags.

This is Helen's final post for this week, so please take a minute to leave a comment here for her, she'll be back week 2 in February and the winner of this week's challenge will be announced on Sunday evening, along with info about who is next weeks Guest Designer!


Helen said...

These three tags look stunning! I've really enjoyed getting my Portfoleos out again so big thanks to Helen for encouraging that!

Scrapmate said...

Amazing colours on these tags.

sam21ski said...

Thank you Helen for sharing your fab techniques

Sam xxx

Anonymous said...

Love the centre tag with the soft colour for the face and the bright outline. Also love the way you achieved that.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous tags Helen, I love the vibrant colours and the technique of highlighting by taking the wax away is fantastic ! Sue C x

Linda M. Cain said...

Gorgeous, GORGEOUS tags Helen. Loved everything you did, and thanks for sharing the wonderful tips.

Your Friend in ART,

Trish said...

I love your tags, and your great ideas. I'll be waxing and scratching tomorrow! Thank you so much for the inspiration, and I look forward to your next week on here.

BETTY said...

Thank you Helen for all these great techniques.
I love your ideas.
Thanks for the inspiration.

Inkypinkycraft said...

These tags are beautiful the layers of colours and the highlighted areas..clever..some fab makes trace x

Sue said...

Gorgeous tags Helen and you've shown us such fabulous new (to me at least)techniques. I'm going to have lots of fun trying these out xx

Deborah said...

Love my portfolio pastels, my Lynne Perrella stamps - and love what you do with them Helen. Thanks for sharing.

Alison said...

I'm completely smitten with my Portfolios now Helen...can't wait to try out these wonderful techniques!
Your tags are stunning btw!
Alison xxx

Beulah Bee said...

Wonderful demonstrations this week, thank you! I never imagined it possible to stamp over wax pastels and definitely plan to experiment. In fact, Helen's ease at turning directions as she worked was a recipe for new discoveries and I was quite inspired. I'm looking forward to future episodes!

Anonymous said...

Not sure I can think of anything to say, except WOW. All three tags are completely gorgeous. Definitely have to try this tomorrow.

Emma Woods said...

Helen these tags are fantastic being new to Portfolio's myself I have got the box out and am keen to give it a go.


Michelle Webb said...

Brilliant Helen, love those colours and the stamping. Sorry I'm late with my comments, I'm trying to catch up today. The technique is awesome too. Michelle x

sandra de said...

Stunning tags and lovely take on how to use these amazing crayons.