Monday, February 20, 2012

Cat on the moon!

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of John Glenn's orbit of the earth (on February 20, 1962), I bring you The Cat On The Moon!

This is my kitten, Wicked!, taking a stroll over my latest piece, “I See the Moon.” I had it on the counter, preparing it for basting before I quilted it. She gave me some pretty funny looks while I was photographing her!

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!