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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Create a Steampunk Triptych Part 1

I have been wanting to create something in the steampunk theme for a very long time and today I finally get to do just that when I create this set of three mixed media paintings. As always in this blog, I show you step by step how to go about making your own, using photos to illustrate the explanations. This first installment of the process has us doing all the prep work, which is quite substantial and requires a lot of time.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

As I will be mounting a number of heavy objects to the painting, I need to start with a very strong and sturdy surface. I use chipboard. Chipboard is not very easy to saw, unless you have the right equipment. The good news is that you can buy a sheet at a good supplier and for a small amount, they will cut the whole board to your specified sizes. At the same time, you can specify that they should edge the pieces all around. They should show you a selection of edges available and let you choose the one(s) you like. You can also ask about 3 mm edge, which has a bit of a bevel in it. All of this costs a little more, but you will have a beautifully finished product to work with.

The most important thing to get done, is to put your primer on your products. Buy yourself a good Universal Undercoat as you will need to prime both wood and steel for this project.

Paint the whole board with the universal undercoat and allow it 24 hours to dry completely. Wipe the edged sides clean directly after painting. Use a little thinners on a cloth to clean up stubborn dry areas.

You will need to wash your brushes in Lacquer Thinners as the undercoat is not a water based paint.

Get yourself a selection of small washers and nuts that appeal to you. Eureka has a brilliant range. If your stockist does not have the range in store, ask about ordering it.

This is my selection of washers all laid out on a surface that it can be painted on. This will be a messy process, and although I do not mind my surface getting paint on it (again!), I want to be able to set this multitude of small items aside when I'm done painting them. Transporting them on a surface like this, which is a masonite board, makes it easy to move the whole lot at once.

Here you can see my collection of nuts.

Both the nuts and the washers will all be painted with the universal undercoat. This time I use a much smaller flat brush.

Paint each individual piece, making sure it is covered inside, outside and at the top.

Once they are done, put them aside to dry for 24 hours.

To paint the background, I will start with Burnt Sienna in acrylic paint.

I use a palette knife to cover the surface with as I want to add texture to the background, as well as to apply the paint unevenly. There are many ways in which you can achieve the same results, but I love how the palette knife manages to pick the paint up and spread it as thinly or thickly as the pressure of your hand allows. The way you hold the palette knife also affects the outcome. Feel free to experiment a little.

When the whole board is covered, use a clean cloth/kitchen towel to wipe the edged sides clean. Dampen it a little where the paint has become dry. Set the backgrounds aside to dry.

It is time to add color to our hardware. I divide the whole stash into 6 UNEVEN piles as I will be using 6 different colors on these. I start by painting the first group Payne's Grey, once again using acrylic paint.

The second lot is painted Brown.

The third lot is painted Light Brown.

Then comes Gold.

Then follows Yellow Ochre.

The last ones are painted Cream.

This is already starting to look very interesting, isn't it? Set it aside to dry again, although acrylic paint should be almost instantly dry on a dry warm day.

The palette knife layer on the backgrounds should now be properly dry, which means we can continue working on it. I choose Raw Sienna for my next coat of paint.

This time I will not use a brush or palette knife. Instead, I will use my fingers and rub the paint onto the surface in small circular motions. If you have an expensive manicure, you may want to don some gloves and use a cloth instead. Or perhaps a plastic bag? That could give a very interesting finish!

When I am finished it is obvious that I once again went to great lengths to achieve an uneven finish, retaining much of the color of the first coat applied after the undercoat. Allow this coating to dry again.

I was unable to find any small gears at any of my suppliers and felt that it was still lacking. So I decided to make my own from cardboard. I like to use packaging cardboard as this is often times very strong. I used a compass to describe a number of oddly sized circles.

I then used a pencil and ruler to divide the circle into 8 segments. I drew a smaller curve into every other segment. I then cut the segments out with my scissors.

Having done one master in each size, I used it as a template for the other circles of a similar size.

I then used a paper punch to punch odd holes into my 'gears'.

Each gear then received a gesso coating, applied with a smallish flat brush.

When the gesso was dry, which is almost immediately, I coated each gear in Light Brown acrylic paint.

By this time my backgrounds were dry enough to start developing the drawings for the paintings on them. I chose the collection of designs in Digital Downloads from, called Steampunk Divas. First, I redrew the design freehand in pencil onto the background.

Then I went back over the lines with a Black Posca Marker to make them clearer.

The second design was treated the same way in pencil.

It was then repeated in marker.

The third design was also done in pencil first.

And then redrawn in marker. This one was allowed to fill the space more than the others to break the monotony of the layout a little.

We will continue the adventure in the next blog when we begin painting.

This set of paintings (triptych) is available from the Gallery in, under the artist Miekie.
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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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