Monday, February 20, 2012

Painting “I See the Moon”

Yesterday, I finished painting all of the branches and the full moon on “I See the Moon.” Here’s how it looked by the time I was headed for bed:

The moon is painted, too, but you can’t see it very well in this photo. I use a metallic pearl white paint for it. 

Today, I started work on the background. The challenge here was going to be carefully painting around all the branches with blue paint. I realized that this would be very time consuming. Hmmm … could there be another solution?

First, I considered using paint mixed with extender – a lot of extender for the light blue area at the bottom, and just a little at the top, where it would be darker. But I worried that the blue paint would cover up the black branches at the top too much. Too bad I couldn’t dye it, I thought. I have dyed fabric before, but I wanted something I could control a little more, and I didn’t have the supplies on hand to dye. Plus, I don’t have a good area in my house for dye work. 

Then it hit me: I could use acrylic ink! I have some bottles of Liquitex Acrylic Ink, which I have played with a bit. I got out a bottle of blue ink and went to town. I mixed up one dropperful of ink with a lot of water and painted the area at the bottom with this mixture, using a foam brush. I used latex gloves to protect my hands (but they are looking a little blue anyway, now, because I took them off before I started the cleanup).

Every six inches or so, I added another dropperful (or two) of ink into the water mixture, and worked my way up the piece. At the top, I used the ink almost full strength. I did this all on my ugly 1970’s era formica kitchen countertop. Almost anything comes up off it using SoftScrub cleaner.


Once I was done, I dried the piece using my hair dryer. I really like the results. The photo below shows the piece drying completely on my front sidewalk. (The dark diagonal lines you see on the piece are shadows from actual tree branches!)

I am very pleased with how the Liquitex Acrylic Ink worked in this application. I got the transparency I needed to make sure that the branches showed up, and the color is beautifully saturated. And it only took about a half of a bottle to do this technique on this large piece (it is about 24" x 60").

Now, on to the quilting!

23 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the photos and your solution to the dye problem. Can't wait to see it finished.

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  2. Susan, love your use of inks. Great option, and you can paint over them as well.

    Is this piece for a specific exhibition?
    Nancy

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  3. Yes, Nancy,
    It is my entry for the next Dinner at Eight exhibition. I scrapped my first idea (the stone angel I showed you at the FAO meeting) and decided on this one.

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  4. So very interesting how you worked the blue into the gradient effect. Love it!

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  5. Great process! Twill be a beauty!

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  6. Loks fantastic!! I recognize the size.

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  7. Very cool! I have some of that ink!

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  8. I love how that blue went onto the fabric, beautiful depth and shading, really makes the tree and moon stand out and give the same feeling as the photo, maybe even better;)

    Debbie

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  9. What a great effect youve achieved and great idea using the acrylic ink too

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  10. Susan this is awesome! Thanks for sharing this technique - very cool.

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  11. I LOVE this piece. This may be really obvious to everyone, but I'm new at this...how did you keep the moon from absorbing the blue ink?

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  12. Hi, Quilter Beth – It's a very good question, and one I should have addressed in the post. I painted the moon with a pearl white metallic paint (Lumiere by Jacquard). When I painted the ink on top, I wiped it off.

    Most of the ink came off, but some of it got through and into the cotton fibers. I smeared it around in a circular motion, especially around the edges of the moon, so that it would look more dimensional.

    I'm going to do some stitching on the moon to make some craters so that it will look more realistic, and I might go back in and add more paint. I'll shoot some close up photos of it for the next post so that you can see it better.

    Thanks for asking!

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  13. Fabulous!!!! Thanks for sharing your journey. Can't wait to see it quilted. Your work is wonderful.

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  14. this is gorgeous - what a great way to solve your dilemma. The ink on the moon just adds to the dimension of it.

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  15. Susan, your work just gets better and better. I am so very pleased to know such a talented artist!

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  16. Wow! Nicely done. I love how the blue moves the eye through the piece.

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  17. Is there a reason you painted the moon and trees first and the background second? Would the Lumiere not have gone on over the ink?

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  18. Katya,
    Yes, I think the Lumiere would have gone over the blue ink. I did it this way before I considered using the ink. But I'm glad I did; this way the ink partly permeated the white Lumiere I used for the moon, and created an interesting effect. Serendipity!

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  19. It looks awesome. I have been taking tree photos with the plan to do them in thread painting and so can't wait to see what you do. I'm just learning and love to watch your work come to fruition.

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  20. This is a beautiful piece already. Your work is totally amazing.

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  21. Did you have to wipe the ink off the branches, or just brush it right over? This quilt is just breathtaking! ~ Karen

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  22. Is this permanent? Is it washable? I cannot find sky or water fabric the right color and am desperate. If this is permanent, I want to try this on a quilt, but this is for a child, so I need it to be washable.
    I love your moon quilt. Beautiful. You are my hero.
    ~a

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  23. Annie, sorry, but I don't think this would be good to use on a washable quilt. :-(

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