Monday, 2 December 2013

Alison Bomber Project #2 Joy To The World ....

"Hello everyone Alison here with another Christmas-ish project (you'll have to wait until tomorrow for the real thing). Today it's a joyous, musical, textured triptych.  It was sort of inspired by those extraordinary gilded Russian icons (just Google "gilded Russian icons" - you'll get the idea), and by my love of texture".

I started with one of the triple wooden icons, sanding it down and gessoing it before starting. Fresco paints give great coverage, so you could go straight to painting, but I find that untreated wood can soak up quite a lot of paint (and I'd rather keep my Frescos for the fun stuff). Besides, I had an idea in my head that meant I needed a background in place in order to play.

I drew round my stamp positions so that I'd know where NOT to put texture. See, there's a turn-up for the books - actually knowing in advance which stamps I want to use!

Not only that, but I even had a rough colour palette in mind... though you'll see it gets augmented as things progress!

Then it was out with the Grunge Paste, and a new ClearSnap stencil.

I also did some rough texturing around the edges, just by patting the palette knife up and down to create the peaks.

It was at this point that I decided the outlines weren't enough - I wanted more precision in knowing where I could go with texture, so I stamped the images in the lightest possible colour - one of my palest chalk inks.

Yes, so the cat's out of the bag - we're using one of the Lynne Perella Christmas stamp sets... #20 to be precise.

To avoid getting distracted by the fact that I rather liked this frosty pale version, I hurried on with some more texture.  

Once the first Grunge Paste was dry (Harlequins at the top now too, but not gesso'd yet, although the lower half has had a coat), I lined up the stencil over the pattern again, and then laid the Tim Holtz Dot Fade over the top of that to add the next layer.

Cute, huh? And when I was doing the Harlequins, I noticed that I could make use of the Grunge Paste which got left on the stencil by flipping it over and applying that directly to the surface too.

Next, some more gesso - and this time nice and thick and textural...

Here's where I needed to know exactly where the image would go, so that I could get up close and personal with the gesso texture.

Time to whitewash out the images, and this time I went with the Snowflake Fresco for a uniform finish ready for my experimental plan. I wanted to try some drippage...

Heart in mouth time again. Is it just me that finds this moment slightly terrifying... when you add colour for the first time to a carefully textured surface? But you just have to take the plunge. And I started pretty full-on, with this combination of Squid Ink and Baltic Blue!

I applied it pretty thickly around the bottom of the texture...

... then went pretty much straight in with a good spritz of water.

Adding some more, and then tilting for some good drippage!

By keeping a good amount of water on the surface, I also had great fun pushing the paint around with more precision.

And now I was really getting into the swing of it, I thought it was time to add some more colour.

Of course, as I applied the colours they started to mix and blend on the surface - ooh yum!

All this lovely blending made me fully understand one of Liz Borer's fabulous paint-mixing tips from a couple of weeks ago. She suggested that to get colours to complement one another, you mix a bit of one chosen colour into each of them. So as I carried on adding colours, I made sure each of them had a touch of Squid Ink in the mix.

When I started working from the top downwards, I added in Sky and Ice Blue - with some Squid Ink. I knew I wanted Squid Ink at the very top to balance things... the plan was Squid Ink + Brown at the bottom for earth and Squid Ink + Blues at the top for the sky. I didn't have these in my original palette, but I decided I wanted something lighter and brighter in the mix.

Really enjoying the effect of all the blending and drippage - I could do this for hours.  

And, truth be told, I think I'll be doing another of these and leaving off at this point. As you'll see, what's to come means some of this painty detail inevitably gets a bit lost - I definitely want to create a project where it takes centre stage next time!

Okay, stamping time. Part of me now wishes I'd gone for stamping directly onto the surface, having carefully left those spaces - ah, well, that's for next time too perhaps. This time, I decided to play it safe and go for a tissue stamping. As promised, I have tried again with the PaperArtsy-preferred Versafine Inks. I even used some of my precious (discontinued) PaperArtsy Crackly Tissue to try another comparison.

I don't know whether it's just the pad I've got, but for me there's no competition between the Versafine Sepia (left) and the Archival Ink Coffee (right). A pity, because the Versafine might have been a better colour, but I've got to go with that clarity from the Coffee.  

{Comment from Leandra: I have had this happen too Alison, I think that the Versafine ink has more oil that the Archival. If it has been sitting for a while I think it can kind of separate, which could explain the oily, less sharp nature of your print to the left, totally NOT what Versafine is known for. To fix, take the back of a teaspoon and thoroughly massage your inkpad to ensure the oil and the pigment ink is thorough mixed on/ in the felt pad. Try stamping again and see if the Versafine is back to its usual sharp self - worked for me with a brand new black that was stamping oddly, onto crackly too as it happens}

I used Multi-Medium to glue them down, using a hard bristle brush to really work the edges down into any texture that had made its way into the reserved spaces.

One thing I've learned... though you can't go back and get less, you can always add more - and I'd decided that the texture along the top wasn't funky enough - so at this point I patted on a bit more Grunge Paste - you can see it all bright and white like a dusting of snow along the top. It's not staying that way!

I also added definition to the textured shapes at this point by shading around them with a paintbrush. I added paint, spritzed with water and dabbed with paper towel until I had a shadow I liked. In the picture below, you can see that the lower pattern got similar treatment (worth clicking for a close-up probably, as I don't seem to have one for you!).

And you can also see, creeping up from the bottom right-hand corner, the reason we're about to lose some of this painty definition... yes, it's Treasure Gold time!

Of course, in some ways, the Treasure Gold - Pewter at the moment, and there's some White Fire coming up shortly - adds definition. It really picks out all those subtle textures on the surface. And there is a pay-off to losing some of that paintwork, as you'll see at the end.  
First, we've got to do something about the back of the icon - very boring at the moment!

I grabbed some PaperArtsy Metal Card and got to work to create a grungy metal look. I embossed it with a couple of folders, rivets and a border, and then covered the whole thing with paint.

Following through on adding some of the same colour to tie everything together, I added a touch of Squid Ink to my Little Black Dress (now there's a phrase you don't hear very often!).

You put the paint on, give it a few moments and then, with some paper towel, wipe it back off again. Simple but so effective for grunging it up.

Then all I had to do was trim it and stick it on.  

Some of the trimmings were the right size to go along the top, and I added a couple of borders from the Idea-ology Industrious Stickers, which were perfect for the side edges.

The final step on the front was to add some Aged Silver Frantage embossing enamel - irresistible I'm afraid, with the look as it was. There's a smidgen of goldenness within it, which is what prompted me to add some White Fire Treasure Gold to the rest of the piece.

This final layer of texture added delicious lava like craters, especially where it reacted with the Grunge Paste underneath to bubble up and then burst. Very cool.

I also love the little black particles within the silver - seems to be an abundance of them just here - adding fabulous extra interest.

Oh, good grief, Charlie Brown... I thought I was done, but I've just realised I haven't showed you the painting I ended up doing on the images. They were really looking a bit "stuck on" - well, they were stuck on, so I suppose that's natural enough - so I needed to do something to embed them a bit.

I added shading around the outsides, and also a bit of gentle tinting to the images themselves... mostly applied as a wash and then wiped off, so it's pretty subtle.

I also didn't want to end up obscuring too much of that lovely image.

I think that's all the making-of details done - forgive me if I left anything out - oops, yes, just noticed some extra Frantage on the clasp of the Joy banner, and on her hat... but I can't go without offering you a few finished pictures... 

... though it's quite hard to capture the colours accurately - it changes in every single light!

And there's that pay-off I mentioned, but I'm saving that for the very end.

Okay, so what could help me get over the loss of some of that painty detail under all that Treasure Gold? Well, it's an icon, isn't it? Which means that, really, it should be worshipped by candlelight... and then the shimmer really comes into its own. So here's a final trio:

Okay, it must be bedtime... if any of you are still awake after another mammoth post! My apologies... but you've only one more from me to put up with. Tomorrow will be my final project on this amazing PaperArtsy adventure. I hope you're ready for Christmas!

Leandra Says: Ohhh how it glows in the light!!! That is one molten metallic mission you undertook. It never ceases to amaze me how Treasure Gold affects painty texture to bring out the definition under the paint. As the frescos are matte, and flat, they do demurely hide 'dippy' bits, but TG, in true blingy fashion, shows off every lumpy bump - it has no shame!!

Gillian Says: Joy to the world indeed .... divine project Alison. I love the the quality Squid Ink brings to the whole project. The textures are gorgeous as always and the Treasure Gold addition shows it all perfectly.


Helen said...

Well it was a marathon post all right, but what a gorgeous project and stunning end result, viewing it with the candle ! It this is the almost Christmas, I can't wait for tomorrow...

craftimamma said...

Wow Alison, that's an amazing project and so beautiful especially by candlelight! Like Helen I can't wait for tomorrow's project!

Lesley Xx

Unknown said...

Absolutely stunning. I love it. Can't wait to see tomorrow's final instalment, tho I will miss your inspiration.

Craftyfield said...

Beautiful inside and out!

Astrid Maclean said...

Stunning Alison, the textures and colours are fabulous and our looks amazing with the light on front of it! A really fabulous make!

froebelsternchen said...

an amazing project - wow!

Lucy Edmondson said...

This is gorgeous, Alison; it makes me think of a volcano!

Lucy x

Astrid Maclean said...

Oops, did this from my phone, sorry for the silly typos

Alison said...

Embossing on embossing...fab idea!
Colours & textures are amazing Alison...Love it!!!
Alison xxx

Redanne said...

Another gorgeous project Alison, fabulous textures and colours and it looks so beautiful with the candle. Hugs, Anne x

Cocofolies said...

What a great and amazing project, congrats Alison !! I love all the sides... And it looks absolutely fabulous in the night when only the candlelight enlightens it wow !!! Coco xx

Evil Edna said...

wow, just wow.EE

Hazel Agnew said...

This project is awesome. The textures are so exciting and illuminating it adds to the magical finish. Fantastic. X

Elly said...

I think it's over the top (even with archival coffee stamping)and i love the backside. A mysterious tri - fold especially with the candle light.(:o)

Unknown said...

Totally stunning!!

Deborah Wainwright said...

Wow Alison all that work. I love the detail you have put into this project amazing. The colours work really well with each other and finishing the back with metal card ingenious. I am in awe and cannot wait to see what you come with for tomorrow xx

Carol Q said...

wow - a textural delight Alison!!

Julie Lee said...

This project reminds me of the decor in a little Russian restaurant we used to visit, it looked just like your triptych in the candle-light! I love this project: it does indeed have something of icon painting about it. I can't wait for tomorrow to see what you have in store for us! I can't get onto my laptop until late at the moment, but your posts are an absolute delight when I do! Julie Ann xx

Fliss said...

My goodness Alison, this is a post and a half! A totally amazing piece of artwork and it looks fabulous by candlelight.
Hugs, Fliss xx

Anonymous said...

Completely stunning & utterly beautiful project, I am in awe.

Nan G said...

Absolutely stunning, Alison! Amazing texture, color and sparkly highlighting. Love it in the candlelight! And this is 'almost' Christmas? Can't wait for tomorrow's full on Christmas! Hugs

Deborah said...

Love all the texture and metallic effects on this. Fabulous!

Jennie Atkinson said...

Another stunning project Alison!! All that texture! Just Fabulous! and the gorgeous colours and the wonderful metal and then the candle light .....

Just a fabulous project! x

Chris said...

Definitely 'iconic' Alison! What a fabulous piece of art and a wonderful tutorial as well! Chris x

Sobre el Arte y otras Aventuras said...

Absolutely love the texture of this project. Thanks for the pics too, they are very inspiring. Cheers, Vron

Mona Pendleton said...

Wow Alison! What an AMAZING project! Lovin' all the texture and detail! Pure eye candy! Thanks for the inspiration!

Dawn Louise said...

Absolutely fabulous, I adore all the textures and can appreciate all your work gone into making it so, thanks for all the steps too x

Etsuko said...

This is gorgeous Icon Alison! I love the gothic image.
I am always helped in your tutorial that is nice and easy to understand. And I learned many things.
Thank you so much.

Etsuko xx

May said...

Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous creation Alison... the texture is amazing... Love the images & your tutorial is so inspiring..Love it all...Hugs May x x x

chrissie said...

Stunning. So many wonderful ideas to inspire on this piece.

Cjrissie x

Sarah B said...

absolutely amazing ! love all your very detailed step by step pictures - thank you ! x

cathylynn said...

Alison this is phenomenal! Wow I'm in awe and speechless.
Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

Lisa Winnard - TheCraftarageStudio said...

This is stunning!!!!!! Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!
I love all the different techniques and the photos are amazing showing how the texture was built up and the colours are just beautiful.
Wonderful project.
Lis xx

massofhair said...

It's all been said already so it's a WOW from me!!! :-) x

Dorthe said...

Amazingly stunning---OH what texture you created, and such gorgeous colours,- this is a most wonderful wooden icon, dressed to look like metal, -GORGEOUS! dear Alison.
xoxo, Dorthe

crealinedance said...

Hoi hoi super leuk bedankt voor de

Jenny Marples said...

Clever, clever, clever! Double stencilling! LOVE that idea. What a fantastic outcome with the dripping paint and metallic elements. Fabulous Alison. Jenny x

Sandy said...

Second gasp of the day!!!

Jools Robertson said...

Wow! I love this,so much gorgeousness texture and the metal finish on the outside is inspired

Looks beautiful in all lights but the candle light just looks fab


Jools x

Kezzy said...

Wow wow wow Alison all that texture is lush and the whole creation is amazing and absolutely stunning :-) Kezzy xxx

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