I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Friday 4 September 2020

Who you were made to be

Hello all!  I hope September is treating you well so far.  If you missed my Shades of White over at PaperArtsy a few hours ago, I hope you'll be able to check them out.  

But now it's time to start a new challenge theme over at A Vintage Journey and it's a good one!

Our lovely host, Ann, is looking for Cogs, Gears and Textures from us all - all the details are over at A Vintage Journey along with the usual amazing inspiration from my fellow Creative Guides.

Before you hurry off to check it all out, here's what I created for the challenge.  I think you'll agree there are plenty of cogs, gears and lots of scrumptious texture, both on the gears and behind them.

I took the chance to play with several techniques I've learned from Andy Skinner over the years, both in online courses and in-person workshops.

Since I'm working with a travelling stash (admittedly a large one - we travelled by car not by plane!) I had to adapt a couple of them a bit, but I'm pretty pleased with my rusty gears and eroded metal.

I wasn't sure how long I'd be away, but thankfully my packing-brain was intelligent enough to include some Tando chipboard cogs and gears - one of Andy's Industrial Elements kits along with an extra Bolts/Washers sheet.

These are so sturdy - ready for all the media you can throw at them - and you can layer them up in all sorts of different ways to create an interesting dimensional layout.

The background is an 18 x 24 canvas board (that's about 7 x not-quite-10 inches) which was already here in the Czech Republic.  (I've added to the CZ stash whenever I see canvases/boards/3D alterable objects in the shops here over the years.)

I lined it with some paper before using a palette knife to add Prima Plaster Paste, Andy's Strata Paste by Cosmic Shimmer, and Ranger Opaque Crackle Paste fairly randomly across the whole surface.

I left that all to dry while I started playing with Grit Paste, Resist Paste and Weathered Wood Crackle Glaze as well as lots of paint on the cogs.

The grit paste gives you a fabulous rusty texture to work with.  On some cogs I started with an undercoat of Paynes Grey and put the gritty paste over the top.

With some I started with grit paste and spattered with Paynes Grey, leaving some bare chipboard in between.

The main paints involved are Quinacridone Gold (both the DecoArt and the Cosmic Shimmer formulations), Raw Umber and Paynes Grey (Cosmic Shimmer) and Finnabair's Burnt Sienna.

I did some highlighting of the texture by scraping on some Speckled Egg Distress Paint with a palette knife, and there's a bit of Antiqued Bronze Distress Crayon in places catching the light too.

The reason for the Speckled Egg was that it was the main colour I wanted to have going on over the textured background, so let's head back to take a look at that now.

I used the Distress Paint along with some Weathered Wood DP too to create my first layer of soft colour over the crackles and layers of texture paste.

The Strata Paste has these amazing flat shale pieces, like a geological rock formation, and they look so cool when you give them a bit of shading and highlighting.

Obviously, I was never going to stop at just Speckled Egg in the background.  The rusty tones made their way into the cracks and crevices too.

I embraced imperfection, so where some crackle flakes came loose I took advantage and made that a worn away area with rust breaking through.

I added rusty drips and trickles around the bolts in the corners of the panel, trying to create a realistic look of decay and weathering across the whole piece.

And I also used a Tim Holtz  background stamp to add more creeping decay in places along the top and bottom edges.  It's from the Pine & Birch background set, but it has a great look of cracked paint, I think.

I couldn't resist adding some additional shading around the main elements, bedding them in.  I used mostly the Paynes Grey and Raw Umber...

... but there are also places where the shadows take on the beautiful purple tones of Daniel Smith's Moonglow watercolour stick.

And of course, centre stage, are the two fabulous Paper Dolls - I love their grit and determination.

Their direct, uncompromising expressions tell such a strong story about their character and strength.

The Quote Chip pretty much chose itself.  The Birch stamp in Sepia Archival creates some more creeping rust, along with a swipe of Quin Gold to warm the cold white.

I used pieces of the chipboard off-cuts to support the other end of the Quote Chip. and they also came in handy for giving the Paper Dolls support in their dimensional positions.  I love that they cast real shadows!

I haven't given any focus yet to one of my favourite elements - this decayed metal structure with its rusted paint surface and rusty bolts.

I'm really happy with the finished look of this - there's Resist Paste, Weathered Wood Crackle, Distress Paint and Dina Wakley acrylics all in the mix, as well as the grit paste and rusted paints already mentioned to create the rusted screws holding it all together.

And I used a similar decaying paint technique on the two circular panels supporting the large gears at the top.

Okay, I think that's more than enough from me!

There's still lots of lovely inspiration to enjoy over at A Vintage Journey and we hope you'll come and join us somewhere down the road on A Vintage Journey this month with your own Cogs, Gears and Textures.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately - liaising with Czech builders, trying to start creating some sort of order in the slightly neglected and overgrown garden here, as well as making the most of a resurgent mojo at the craft table has meant I haven't been online as much as usual.

I will try to make the rounds this weekend to see what you've all been up to.  I hope you're keeping well, staying safe and enjoying some creativity too.  Have a great weekend and happy crafting all!

I felt a strange delight in causing my decay.
Robert Browning

... and the rest is rust and stardust.
Vladimir Nabokov


Chrissy said...

Totally awesome Alison, all that rust and cracked background, the colours and even the images I like here..FABulous creative work of art..I love those cogs..


Christine Alexander said...

wonderful mix of blues and rusts in your crackle background. Love it :)

Helen said...

love the piece- great rusty elements, and crackles! Hope you've got your builders sorted!

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful piece, love the glorious rusty bits. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You know I was hooked at the word RUST. Your rust looks completely realistic, especially around the bolts on the corners. The cogs and gears almost steal the scene, but the focal images show they may be from days gone by, but the message is as relevant today as it would have been when these men were photographed. This is jaw dropping gorgeous and very timely.

Karen said...

Wow ~ I would never have thought that you could get that effect on chipboard ~ Love all the rusty drips too. Fantastic piece

Margaret Mifsud said...

Wow! This piece is simply amazing Alison! Loving the colour and the crackle and rusty patches on the background is awesome. A brilliant composition and absolutely fabulous textures. Those rusty cogs look totally real. This is spectacular! xx

My name is Erika. said...

It's hard to believe that background is made on paper. This is so cool Alison! Hugs-Erika

Lagene said...

Absolutely amazing creation, I love all the rust! I would love to watch a video of you creating this!

experiments in paper said...

Oooh, such lucious rust! And put to wonderfully creative arrangement - love all your gears and such. Off to see your PA bit, and the rest of the VJ makes! Have a great weekend - xxx Lynn

Amanda said...

Now that’s a fabulous bit of rusting going on there, love it loads
Amanda x

Craftyfield said...

So many pastes, so many details, so much texture! You obviously enjoyed the process and the result is superb. I like the rust drips, so real looking. Off to Vintage Jouney… x

craftytrog said...

Lovely rusty texture, a beautiful project Alison xx

Redanne said...

Oh my! This is a treat if there ever was one! At first I actually thought you had used a piece of scrap metal for the background, it is incredible Alison and I just love those fabulous rusty cogs. This is definitely a piece that needs to be hung on a wall in full view. I think I have died and gone to rusty heaven! Love this. Keep safe and well. Anne xx

Cocofolies said...

Another stunning and gorgeous creation!!!!
With awesome rust and delicate blue and white shades, and a fabulous texture here once again.
Have a lovely Sunday Alison.
Coco xxx

Patty O'Malley said...

Awesome project, Alison. Those gears look like the real thing!

Mac Mable said...

Those texture cogs make a fabulous backdrop for those fabulous gentlemen x. Glorious piece of art and tons of inspiration, thank you x.

Sue said...

This is fabulous, I love how the rust from the cogs has spilled over into the background. I'm sure I've got one of these Tando kits too, I shall have to dig it out. Take care and have a great week, Sue xx

Annie said...

Well you may have a limited stash but this is an awesome canvas Alison. I love the wonderful textures you have created on the background and cogs/gears. The rust looks so real, especially with the grit effect.
The gents are the perfect addition together with the sentiment. TFS and sending best wishes

Annie xx

Julia Aston said...

I can't imagine how much creative stuff you had in your card in order to put this wonderful project together Alison! Those gears look just like heavy rusted metal! A wonderful textured background for them and the two men you layered over the gears. and what a great sentiment especially for these times - xx

Cynthia said...

What a beautiful piece of art! I love the textures, shading and colors. The two men fit the rustic and worn background. The older guy, sitting, reminds me of my grandpa. I know this piece will be a topic of conversation, wherever it finds a wall to call home.

Valerie-Jael said...

Gorgeous tags, very impressive. Hugs, Valerie

Neet said...

I love all the various textures you have made using oh so many products, each of them working side by side to create this wonderful overall picture.
However, I must compliment you on how you have worked out the placing of the various elements you have used. I love the fact that the two men are standing apart from one another and yet the one in the background is still proud of the substrate. It made me think of the figures being part of the mechanism in a clock and all the men and the gears turning simultaneously.
Absolutely wonderful.
Hugs Neet xx

Annette Reed said...

Wow! I love your use of all these products. I've never used most of them but I sure love the texture and depth you achieved. This is fantastic!!

nwilliams6 said...

Your cogs are wonderfully done. I love this, but I love everything you do - so cool and so well done. Hugz