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Friday, 20 February 2015

Decorating a Girly Album

I love pink and every so often I need to simply over-indulge myself and create something very, very pink. You can of course substitute colours to suit your needs and likes, but I shall stick to my girly pink for this project. I am still decorating the album covers I started with in the previous BLOG. I've taken another look at what I've done and decided I could be more creative. Therefore, I pulled the fabric off and set it aside to use on another project later. I still intend to use the fabric, but I would go about it differently. Here is what we are making:

The first thing I do is to get my materials together. I am going to need Acrylic Gel Medium for the decoupaging a little later on. I am going to need ordinary acrylic paint to add colour. This does not need to be artist quality. I will also need a big flat brush to apply everything. A palette knife is very handy to mix the bright red with the white, which will give me the slightly paler pink I'm looking for, as well as to 'plaster' my board with a nice thick layer of paint.

I mix my paint right on my album cover, not bothering with a palette. I squeeze the white and the red on top of each other and mix it together with my palette knife. I am not too concerned with getting an even colour, rather liking the marbled effect I get from not over-mixing it.

Now I use my palette knife to 'plaster' one side of my board with a thick layer of paint.

I squeeze red paint (only) onto the other side of my board and lather the paint on thickly on this side as well, using my palette knife.

Now I pick up a paint scraper with which to draw even lines in the thick paint. You can just as easily use a wide-toothed comb, or even a fork. I draw wavy lines across the board. I then draw wavy lines from top to bottom as well, crossing the first lines. Because my paint was applied so thickly, the paint tends to make huge clogs. At first I panic, but taking another look, I decide I like it and decide to risk leaving it that way, not knowing if my next step will work on the big bumps, but willing to risk it.

I now set the board aside so it can dry thoroughly before I continue. The drying time will be slightly longer that usual since I have applied the paint so thickly. It would probably be best to let it sit overnight, but drying time will differ widely from one region to the next. The hotter and drier the climate, the quicker it dries.
I grab hold of that fabulously girly fabric I bought and use my sharp point scissors to cut the prints from the fabric. Not too many, since I don't want to cover too much of my background. I use the prints that were cut in half as well. These I will use on the edges of my album cover to create the impression of an ongoing picture, restricted only by the limitations of the album, in other words, a life bigger than the album.

With all the pieces cut out, I arrange and re-arrange them on my board until I am satisfied with the layout. I now decoupage every piece into place. This is where I will see if the risk I took paid off. I relied on the softness of the poly-cotton to become even more pliable when whetted by the acrylic gel medium. I started by painting the gel medium where I wanted the fabric cut-out to go. I then positioned the cut-out in place, pushing it gently into the grooves of the background. I then painted the gel medium over the cut-out. This time I used the stiff hog hair bristles from my brush to push the fabric right into the grooves where my fingers could not reach. I applied the gel medium quite lavishly, not wanting my cut-outs to come loose with the lots of handling my album can be expected to endure through its lifetime.

This side of the album was done for the time being and I put it aside to dry. I decided to take a bathroom break before starting on the back of the album. There I discovered an empty toilet roll. This instantly gave me a new idea and the empty roll came with me to the studio.
I cut the toilet roll in smaller sections and bent them slightly to resemble the shape of flower petals or leaves.

I used the same red and white acrylic paint as for the other side of my album. This time I squeezed a dollop of red onto two sections of the board, and two dollops of white onto two different sections of the board. I did not want the colours to mix completely. I wanted to retain some pure white, some pure red, as well as to create different shades of pink. I used my palette knife to spread the paints, taking great care not to overwork the paint. Again I applied a thick layer of paint, although not as thick as on the front cover of the album.

I now used the round pieces of the toilet tube to press the insides of the flowers into the wet paint. Then I used the petal shapes to press flower petals into the wet paint.

I used the handle of a paint brush to open the holes of my album, which had become clogged with paint.

It was time to set the album aside to dry.

Once the paint was dry, I used a black marker to outline the shapes of the flowers.

I used a flat brush to paint the flowers yellow. The yellow paint is transparent and I used this to my advantage. It meant that the warm pink and red undertones would show through, turning the yellow into a rich, warm orange. If I wanted to retain the integrity of the yellow, I could have opted to mix it with a tiny amount of opaque white.

Once again I set my board aside to dry. In the meantime I was going to put the final touches on the cover of the album. The only thing left to do, was to add the journal writing (this was after all going to be an art journal album). I opted to use my Pigma pens for this purpose.

Writing on the bumps and grooves of the painted surface proved a challenge, but I managed to capture the essence of what I intended the album to be.

By this time the paint on the other board was dry and I could add the journal-ing to this cover as well. Again I used the Pigma Pens

I opted to use a short poem I wrote a couple of years ago, and which I still consider to be my life motto:
I shall embark once more on a journey of ecstasyI shall travel light for I shall indeed need naught but who I amI shall hold closely, I shall give freely, and I shall laugh every step of the wayFor I am a woman, wanting and willing, to give with my love as I may.

And then the final product!