A few months back I embarked on painting classes to dabble with watercolors and acrylic paints. The watercolors were by far my favorite and a medium I’m certain to return to. I’ve also painted pottery several times at our local studio – Crackpots – and love each time I get to create a new piece. This hubby knows this, which is why he gifted me for Christmas this past year a gift certificate to go to this very studio to unleash my creativity.
It was perfect timing that my mom was here for a visit last weekend that while walking downtown the Crackpots studio pulled her inside. It was like seeing a kid in a candy store as she perused the shelves full of tiny treasures just waiting for creativity to bring life to them. And then we both found the glass fusing projects. It was a medium I’ve never done before and it immediately pulled us in. The ideas were endless.
With a 8-inch clear glass plate in front of us we grabbed a bucket of tools, some pieces of glass and were given a short introduction as we embarked on our project. For me it was the inspiration of aspen trees that lead me, and for my mom it was a mountain scene with a prairie full of flowers.
Now let me remind you I’ve never cut glass before. I didn’t really know what I was getting into so I heeded the warning and put on the fashionable clear glasses to protect my eyes. I began with the scoring tool to cut the long strips for my aspen trees.
It’s not as easy as you think. The scoring tool cuts them pretty straight and trees in nature are not that straight. I used breaking pliers to make them a bit imperfect, and another set of pliers that carve away chunks. (Sorry I don’t recall their actual name!)
Little by little I moved about the pieces of raw glass cutting and securing each piece with glue to hold it in place. I also used frit glass for the base of my grass and tree background. Frit is small tiny bits of glass that you apply with a small spoon an then poor frit glue over the top to secure. Layer upon layer I added more color and depth.
After almost three hours I finished my masterpiece and hoped the end project would turn out as well.
My fear was that it would all melt together into one giant blob of color that I wouldn’t even recognize.
Thankfully the finished design turned out beautifully and is now on display in our family room. It’s certainly an art I’ll try again!
After my first painting class earlier this month, I had an itch to do another. While my first painting adventure was using acrylic paints, this next class was going to explore watercolors! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this medium. I remember using watercolors as a child where one touch of the brush to the paper sent color in every direction. In the end it usually ended up looking like a hodgepodge of colors and shapes.
But there are tricks to get watercolors to do what you want. I know that now.
The project for the class was a picture of Christmas ornaments hanging from glittering strings. I started by penciling in the ornament shapes onto the paper. There is a trick to this – use a roll of masking tape to draw the perfect round circle. Then I just adapted the one ornament to be more of a teardrop shape to add interest to the piece.
Next up – the background. Now here is the trick to watercolor. If you want paint pigment to go in a certain area on the paper, coat it with clear water. Then when you put color to the paper the pigment will flow on the wet areas of the paper and not into the ornaments. My first layer on the background was a combination of green and yellow which set the foundation. Once that was dry I added in blue and indigo colors, paying close attention to shading around the ornaments to create depth.
With the background complete I moved onto the ornaments and carefully added in the vibrant colors to make them pop off the background. Adding the highlights and depth to the ornaments was much easier with watercolor than the acrylic paints a few weeks back. I also think the watercolor is much more forgiving so if you don’t quite like an area you can keep working with the pigment and water to change it up.
With the addition of glittery strings and bulb tops, this painting masterpiece is my favorite! It’s now framed and hanging in our home for the season!