Thursday, 21 January 2010

More Paper Painting!

I couldn't put it off any longer, that list of phonecalls to make and 'contact customer support' pages to find for various odds and ends that aren't functioning quite properly about the house! The list was beginning to glare at me reproachfully so I set about it and spent most this morning being 'redirected' or 'on hold' - you know the sort of thing? What should, in theory, be a two-minute job always seems to eat up nearer an hour by the time you've been asked for your postcode, date of birth and all sorts of other total irrelevances, not to mention the 'How are you today, Mrs Adamson?' for the tenth time when you really want to say, 'I'd feel a whole lot better if we could just get on with it....!'

Eventually, having succeeded in sorting out all but one of my niggling problems, I felt I'd earned a little time with my paintbrush and paper before lunch. I enjoyed making the collage birthday cards for two of my grandsons who will shortly be reaching the age where it's so difficult to find a suitable birthday card for them - ie double figures! But after all those bold colours, I wanted a change to something rather more flowery and feminine for a girls' birthday card. So I went back to using tissue paper - coloured this time - and had fun using up some of the dried up gouache in my palettes.

Again, my hope was that those palettes would be much easier to clean by the time I'd scrubbed the paint with a big bristle brush until I'd produced the colour I wanted to paint the tissue. (You may have noticed that I don't like cleaning palettes - it seems such a chore after using pastels for a long time!) I've found that it's very important to get the consistency of the paint just right when painting tissue paper - not so thick that it drags on the paper and weighs it down. But on the other hand, it can't be so watery that the paper disintegrates - you'll soon discover what works best through trial and error. And, by the way, watered down poster or powder paints are also suitable as long as you find the right consistency.

A little white gouache (or poster colour) works well where your thin wash of colour might well not show up at all on the darker colour of tissue. I find a 'dabbing' movement with the brush gives me an informal, natural look for flower petals, butterflies and so on - again, don't 'dab' at the paper too vigorously. Tissue paper becomes quite fragile when it's wet and could easily tear. (But if it does tear, don't worry too much; you can probably avoid the tears when you come to the cutting out as long as you are using smallish pieces.)

With the 'Happy Birthday' again added in (which is SO like Photoshop - but free!), because I'm rubbish at lettering, this is how it turned out -
In my first attempts at collage, one of the things I pondered over, long and hard, was how to know exactly where to position my pieces. Google threw up a webpage with a long and convoluted method, involving a great many stages and marking lines - more than that I can't tell you, because it was so complicated that it lost me about a third of the way through the process. So I've worked out a very simple method using tracing paper, loosely based on the way Eric Carle works. And next time, I'll be taking you through the stages of that method, step by step.

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