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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Tutorial-Acrylic Washed Backgrounds-Step 1

I created some truely awesome acrylic-washed backgrounds yesterday, which will lend themselves to some really fun collage (Step 2). Creating these washed backgrounds is the first step in this two-step tutorial that can be used in a variety of mixed media and digital art projects.

You will need just a few supplies: 90 lb.+ watercolor paper, a spray type water bottle (not a mister), at least(3)syringes,(3)acrylic paints-your choice of colors,
(3) mixing containers-I like to use old clear-glass tumblers (which are big enough to insert large paint brushes as well-in other projects), painters tape (I use blue tape-less tacky and won't tear your paper), either 2 glass panels or 2 acrylic panels (relatively inexpensive at your local hardware store), hair dryer (to speed up the drying time-since you will want to re-use the acrylic or glass sheets over and over again!), throw-away baking pan large enough to hold a turkey! (This is a good size for other projects as well-but this will be big enough to hold your glass or acrylic sheet while you squeeze the paint on and let it flow-the pan will catch all the drips and only $1 at your local $Store!), 3 stir sticks-(I use shish-ka-bob sticks or popcycle sticks, whichever is within easy reach of my work table!) Cover your work surface with a throw-away plastic $1 store table cover-(these are so durable they will last for months and months!)

Step 1. Cut your paper so that it is a size that can be taped to the acrylic or glass sheet. Using the painters tape-tape down 2 or all 4 sides of the paper-(taping the 2 long sides worked just fine for me!)
Step 2: Mix your acrylics-I used a ratio of 1 part paint to 5 parts water-but even this may not be thin enough for you. Add drops of water until you get the solution you prefer. (Thicker paint will not work with the syringes. Also-a little mixed paint, goes a long ways-I ended up dumping paint down the drain because I simply made too much!)
Step 3. Spray the paper with water to get it wet. It doesn't have to be soaking wet-(I got my best results when the paper was on the dry side.)
Step 4. Draw the paint into a syringe. Start with the lightest color you are using and randomly squeeze the paint onto the paper-while leaning the glass or acrylic sheet at an angle so the paint can flow over the surface of the paper and drip into the baking pan. You don't have to use all the paint that is loaded into the syringe-(you have my permission to stop squeezing any time!-You still have 2 more colors to go-so you want to leave some room on the paper for these colors to bleed into eachother.)
Step 5: Follow the first application of paint with the 2nd and 3rd colors, leaning the acrylic or glass sheet at different directions so the paint flows and blends with eachother-(over-lapping, but not totally covering each other).
Step 6: Set this aside to dry-or you can clean off the paint drips, remove the tape and heat set with a blow dryer. (You can also dab up some of the excess paint with a rag or if you want added texture-use a paper towel. If you want no texture-simply heat until dry). Clean your glass or acrylic sheet and start over again! Each sheet of painted paper will be unique! (you can also create-2nd generation papers by taking a wet painted surface and apply it to a 2nd sheet of water color paper! It doesn't completely cover the surface of the 2nd paper, but it gives you a great start for another paper and it allows you to dab up excess paint!)

2nd Generation:

Enjoy-Have fun and if you share your acrylic washed backgrounds on your blog-let us know by posting a link to your blog in the comments, here!

I will post the 2nd tutorial step early next week-so hope you will become a follower of this blog-so you will know what the next step in this project will be! The secret word is collage!


pupton said...

Very cool Cindy. It is an easy enough technique for even me! I will definitely give this a try!

Nina and/or Ruthie said...

Love it so far! Gotta try it! Looking forward to part 2. Thanks!
Nina in San Diego

http://ceciliaswatton.blogspot.com said...


I can feel the fun you had in creating these papers, by seeing them and reading your directions! Can't wait to see what comes next! Cecilia

Linda B. said...

Wow, I love the stuff that seems like I could accomplish it! Thanks for this and the other projects you share - I'm learning!
Linda B.

Rena Sawatski said...

Love the look of these backgrounds. Have not tried it yet, but being a "background Junkie" I plan on trying it. Thanks for sharing this technique.

Shelley Whiting said...

I love the second watercolor. It's very lovely and ethereal. I love how the white shows through.