Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hey Birdie Birdie

This painting used multiple water media techniques. 
The lines you see were made by the embossing from the black Gesso on aluminum foil.  
I've outline the steps at the end of this post

I had the delightful experience of attending a 5-day workshop taught by Mary Todd Beam at Springmaid Mountain resort last week.  I don't work in water media very often and wanted to learn how to use all of the interesting mediums I see at the art store.  I've had some wonderful instructors, but none more excited about making art than Mary. She is a bundle of energy.  If you have the opportunity to take a class with Mary, I highly recommend it. 

More than just learning, I had a lot of fun.  As I get older, I realize I don't let myself enjoy the creative process of art like I should.  So I played, experimented and learned there are only happy accidents if something doesn't go as planned when you are dripping, swishing, scraping and adding pieces of things like plastic and tissue paper just to see what it does to the wet paint.  

I've long admired Mary's work since I saw first saw her in a Golden video on YouTube.  Mary shares all of her techniques in her books but is always looking for new ways to make art (which she shares in her classes) and is in the process of writing another book.  

My friend Stephanie asked me to accompany her to Mary's workshop.  I'd never been to a Springmaid resort before.  They also have a beach resort that hosts water media classes twice a year.  Springmaid Mountain is in Spruce Pine, NC.  What was really nice is that it is an all inclusive package so you paint, stay in cabins (separate bedrooms) on the property and they have a caterer bring in meals.  Its a great setting for getting to really know the other artists because everyone doesn't have to leave after class to go home or back to a hotel.  Springmaid Mountain is also a lovely setting in the mountains with streams and hiking trails.  As part of the package, you can fish in their stocked fishing ponds, go horse back riding after class, or head for the water and canoe or kayak. Now that's not something I get to do at most art workshops! 

I also want to give a shout out to Golden products.  Golden provided Mary (free of charge) lots of products for us to use.   It was fun to try them out and of course I will be buying some of them soon.  I'd never used GAC before (or heard of it).  Who knew it could be used for so many things.  Then there was all of the gels, molding pastes, tar gel, and new high flow colors.   I learned a few new uses for black gesso.  

The painting surface is 310 crescent illustration board but Mary also likes #100.  I was so busy having fun doing it that I didn't think to take pictures of the steps! Here are the steps:  
  1. Drip paint (we used Golden fluid acrylics) onto the wet surface, manipulate, then let it dry.  
  2. Look for shapes of objects to enhance (only one of the birds was planned the rest just popped out!)
  3. Using a brayer, put a thin layer of black gesso on one side of a piece of heavy aluminum foil. 
  4. Transfer drawing or just lines onto the painted dry board.  The tricky part is letting the black gesso get tacky, but still wet enough to come off when you turn the black side down and draw on the opposite side so the drawing (kind of) transfers onto your board.
  5. Mix opaque colors using white gesso to paint out negative space.

1 comment:

  1. sounds like a great class and a great experience all around! thanks for sharing!