Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Learning A New Technique Step By Step

After creating my "Abstract Birdhouse" I realized that I made many missteps along the way. I sealed the wood after the first few marks with my Sharpie started to feather into the dry wood. I didn't like that. But when I added color after sealing I could't quite get the watercolor effect I was looking for. All in all though, I was able to pull it off but when it was done realized I could have cut my time and effort by about half. For $25 I paid myself about $3 an hour.

Step 1: Creating Your Design
This time, I put the lines in with a pencil as light as I dared. However, I knew that once the lines were in place they could easily be obscured by the next step, using acrylic paints like watercolor for a running, dripping watercolor effect.

It takes a lot of time to create a design whether it's abstract, Pennsylvania Dutch, Rosemaling. I always start on paper and then transfer my designs by hand onto the surface of the item to be painted. Well, as you might have guessed, what looks good 2D changes dramatically when its 3D! Each of the sides does not stand alone and you have to make sure you carry the design around your item, in this case a birdhouse. A design is just the starting point. I should also add, some improvisations turn out to be very successful!

Step 2: Adding Color
After you are happy with all sides comes the colors you want to use. This is rather a blind event too. You never really know how it will turn out and have to wait until its dry. In fact, I've had to put several coats of paint, sometimes in heavier coats to get what I want. Remember, NO sealer yet. You want the paints to run and feather just like they would on watercolor paper.

This appears to be a good start! You can add more color after the sealer is put on but I feel that you want to get as much running and blurring as you can before that step. Once the sealer is on it will not be as spontaneous. I was lucky here in that I can see the pencil outline. It isn't always the case and then it may not be what you want. In this case, being abstract you can add more lines and not worry. There is no real focus its more about forms and colors.

If you are happy with what you see, and remember this is still the underpainting to the item, then put on your coat or two of sealer. I don't want my pens to run. If you do, then skip this step. I wanted precise lines and even though hand done, the feathering I saw on my first attempt made it look cheap. Artistically its up to you.

Then comes the "inking." I have about 6 or 7 pen thicknesses but find that I only use three or four. Its often hard to tell one from the other and you have enough to do. The hardest part for me was deciding what areas got the thickest lines. Once that was done, it seemed the rest came easily. It reminds me of the hundreds of technical drawings I did for a several clients. Thick, middle and thin. What was thick and what was thin made a tremendous difference. It will here too. If you mess up you can always make a line thicker...no one will be the wiser.

There will be four birdhouses in this abstract series and while three are nearly the same shape, I decided to give them different leg treatments. We will see if this is enough to make them stand apart yet remain part of the series.

I've used hearts, circles, triangles and squares in inventive designs and colors for my abstract series. Again, no one else is doing anything like this. Each one can stand on its own and yet could make a wonderful collection together.

If you paint on wood and want to try achieving a watercolor effect or even put Zentangle's on wood, this guide should help you through the process.  Happy Painting!

Please visit my craft store at KrugsStudio.etsy.com and my fine art store at AlanKrugFineArt.etsy.com. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

1 comment:

  1. I've done a similar effect with fall leaves but find I like the heavier applications of paint and use the water for blending, These are lovely!