Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Art School: The Background

Hey you guys! We are getting all settled into the Farmhouse, but I'm missing you, and ready to get back to blogging! So this week I'm teaching a little art class. I've been selling my art for a few years, but I think I'm mostly done with that. Out here in the country it's hard to zip out to the store if I run out of something (and the post office is torture!). Truth be told, I don't make anything on these since I'm dreadful at pricing! I decided it's time to just do them for a hobby or an occasional fundraiser (nativities are going down in November). And I'd really love to share how I make them with you so you can make them. I can't wait to see what your spin is on them.

So, here's a little background. I wanted to take a simple online art class that could teach me some basics. I'd never been particularly gifted with art, so I really needed some hand holding. I signed up for Christy Tomlinson's She Art class. I really liked her style and how she's so open with her techniques. These days my style is completely different from hers, but that's what I'd encourage you to explore here. She would teach how to make a background and I would copy it. Then I would try and touch base with what I didn't like about it and get brave going down my own path.

The heart of my girls is the scripture. I started painting them so that I could be more familiar with scripture. Choosing the verse and writing it would help me memorize it. So start now! Start praying for a good verse. We'll get there by the end of the week.

Today let's get started with backgrounds. I use mostly really cheap materials. There are a few little exceptions, but mostly I like to use what I can easily find at the craft store. This week I found these canvas panels at Walmart. They were about $4 for 3 8x10 panels. My paints are Americana. They are about $1 a pop and you can find them at any craft store. Again, my brushes are cheap because I ruin them all the time. :) The rest of it, I'll get to in just a second.

So here we go. Smack a couple of paints on a palette. Or maybe a plate from the kitchen. If you have a palette you'll feel like a real artist. You may even want to invest in a beret. But if not, a plate will do just fine. I picked a favorite combo, sea glass blue and pistachio. I call this combo The Jenny Marrs. It's beachy blue and green with a whitewash. It's because Jenny's whole life is in this color combo and every time she orders a painting she orders it like this. It's also my fave. But every time I paint this background I think of my girl Jenny. :)

So start painting your canvas. I do a little blue over here, a little green over there, mix it up. Keep it fluid. This is the fun part. 

Next you're going to need a really rough brush. Something that feels like straw. Something crunchy. You got it? We're going to dip it in white and then paint it off. You want your brush almost dry, almost without paint on it. 

The *very lightly* go over some of your painted background. Lightly. It will bring out that canvas texture and give it a nice vibe, don't you think? If you don't, don't do it! It's yours. 

So then we let it dry. It only takes a few minutes. Then I use a bit of this ink. It's an ink pad that you'd normally use for stamps. Sometimes I do, but I really like it to give an earthy quality to my backgrounds. I found this one at Hobby Lobby. All I do here is take off the lid, turn the ink pad face down and *very very lightly* rub a bit of it on the canvas. It's a little brown, a little shimmery. Just a hint, you know? 

Then we wrap it up with my favorite element. The ink!

I use Liquitex, in iridescent rich bronze. Again brownish and shimmery is my bag. The perfect combo of earthy and glam, that's just my style. I do have a hard time finding this in stores, so I stock up and order it from Scarlet Lime

I just splash a bit of it around the edges (remember, we want to leave the middles open for our art girl and scripture). I also run it around the edges. I don't know why. 

So that's the way I do my background these days. I go for simplicity now so as not to distract from the art girl. But there was a time that I really did up the backgrounds. If you like a little more wild, here's a few variations. 

In this one you can see some stamps that I added with black ink. I also did a few splashes of hot pink acrylic ink.  I LOVE this etsy shop for unique stamps. 

In this one I've got all kinds of stuff going on. Under the paint is some scrapbook paper mod-podged on. There's some antique sheet music in there. Splashes of different color paint. Sparkly confetti stars (sprinkle on while the paint is wet). And some drips of paint at the top. I just squeeze the paint straight from the bottle. A little heavier on the sides. 

You can get creative with these backgrounds. Anything goes. Just remember to not put anything to awesome in the middle where our art girl goes. I'll be back on Wednesday and we'll start working on painting our faces on there. Don't be intimidated. You just practice and practice until you find a groove. But we'll talk about a few techniques. Also, feel free to comment with any questions you run into. I'm totally open here. We'll be making these at our retreats all together, with more hands on instruction. Are you coming to our Glampout in August?! 

***did i say wednesday? i did, didn't i? well, then my husband called and asked me to run home and help him list our house for sale. and so i did, and then we sold our house. crazy, right?! god is so good to me sometimes! anyhow, back to the art. let me get my act together and i'll meet ya back here on monday for faces and hair.***

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