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Creative Materials

A place to share and discuss ideas, methods, questions and answers relating to artistic materials, whether they be traditional or not.

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Latest Activity: Sep 27, 2019

Discussion Forum

Traditional Media combined with Digital, What do you call it?

Started by Linda Rzoska. Last reply by Marc VanDermeer Sep 27, 2019. 5 Replies

Question about rapidographs

Started by Andrew Schlageter. Last reply by Angelina Whittaker Cook Oct 6, 2015. 1 Reply

Quick Art i.e.- Computer/Digital Art

Started by Katharine Gilbert. Last reply by Linda Rzoska Mar 22, 2013. 22 Replies

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Comment by Donald Kennedy on May 14, 2009 at 1:58pm
Dear Monika, Remember your chemistry, oil and water don't mix that applies to wax too since wax repels water, no oil involved, but it does react to heat and little turpentine will stretch the wax pigment mixture into wash and a little stand oil or boiled linseed oil (heated) will help with the flow (remember linseed oil is a drying oil) and it will be protected by the wax as it dries into a hard finish. As for water & pigment on the surface it is problematic, when the water dries you will be left with just the pigment and the surface will be chalky, watercolors use gum Arabic as a binder and glycerin to hold the pigment particles together or you might try casein (you know barns painted with milk paint have lasted for hundreds of years) you my try acrylic. The latter is less attractive to me, since dried acrylic, lifts up with water when I clean my palette. Aniline dyes might give some great effects, as they would be drawn into the plaster. Please wear rubber gloves or you will be wearing the dyes for weeks or a least until new skin grows in. As for the finished surface, a rubbed wax finish is lovely, think of fine furniture, a good spar varnish 50%, bees wax 50% thinned with turpentine and boiled linseed oil is the formula for French Polish. Fold triangular pads of cheese cloth and apply in swirling patterns (cheese cloth = no lint). Thinned tung oil rubbed on and wet sanded between coats 100 - 400 grit will give you a rich deep finish. Please avoid plastics as they attract dirt, just look at your TV screen. I hope that this was helpful and not too esoteric. All the best, yours in Art, Donald
Comment by Monika Teal on May 14, 2009 at 11:33am
Thank you Donald. Best advice I have gotten so far. Bleach is something that did not enter my mind. I have been using fabrics instead of newspapers with the slurry. And the tip on painting the surface with plaster of paris is good, since I want to rub ground pigments into the finished piece. Will they bond, if I polish them in, or do I need to apply another finish on top of this?
Comment by Michael Lownie on May 14, 2009 at 11:13am
thanks for the tip on bleach Donald, that is timely since I've been thinking of using PoP for the first time in small mixed media pieces...good advice.
Comment by Donald Kennedy on May 14, 2009 at 10:04am
Dear Monika, Remember when you use papier maché to add a few drops of laundry bleach to the mixture or you will find little creatures will be eating away your sculpture right in front of your eyes. Strips of burlap dipped in a slurry of plaster and draped over a form made of box wire or crumpled metal screening makes for some interesting organic shapes and after partial curing plaster rasps (they have holes for easy cleaning) can be used to refine the shapes some sculptors like the coarse tooled look and still others like the more refined look and paint the surface with plaster of paris. If you are going to apply encaustic to the surface make sure that the surface is dry or the wax won't bond with the plaster. Bits of fabric, flake metal or lathe turnings can give your sculpture some interesting effects especially when mixed with the pigmented wax and then having the whole surface fused together with a heat gun or lamp. Have fun! Donald
Comment by Monika Teal on May 10, 2009 at 3:58pm
Well, you two are really into my question about sculpture! I am a painter, as I said, and know paint like you sound like you know sculpture. I did have an intro to sculpture as an undergrad, so I am not totally in the dark about how to approach it. But what I am trying to do is go into sculpture with a more "un-informed" attitude. I am using papier maché, fabric, encaustics, and do know about armatures and am using them. I don't have any desire at the moment to invest a ton of money, but like a simpler, less sophisticated approach to this exciting new medium for me. I do my art like my life, live and learn through my mistakes. Far more exciting and alive to me that way. Formulas and "how-to" leaves me feeling dead before I start. Of course, if I can avoid obvious and ridiculous mistakes, I will learn from what I hear and read and learn from other artists. I am intrigued with the more natural mediums and love the idea of clay. So, with clay, life size, let's say, a do I fire a bear that big? In parts? A huge kiln and a fortune to fire it? Air dried clay? That would be helpful info.
Comment by Donald Kennedy on May 10, 2009 at 9:18am
Dear Andrew, Monica sounded like she had little experience in in making sculpture so I thought I would giver her some simple ways of approaching the act of building her sculpture. I build monumental steel & aluminum sculptures my studio has over $200,000.00 worth of tools, with electric, chain hoists & gantries to lift and move my work. I also have a friend that has three bulldozers, two backhoes and four fork lifts. I also have mig, tig, stick electrode, oxyacetylene welders and a plasma cutter. I doubt that Monica would have access to all that equipment. I think you missed the point about "paintings are real things" it was a joke if a painting isn't a real thing, what is it? Not the image, the stretcher, the canvas, the paint, get it. As for cement sculpture armatures are only necessary if you use the overall approach to building, sections can be built cured and one could continue on building on each cured section. I another method forms could be dug out of earth or wet sand and concrete reenforced with wire mesh or fiberglas mesh or loose fibers mixed into the cement with some plaster of paris added to shorten the curing time. Non toxic oil clays like "Plastilina Clay" are always preferable, but most artist's supply stores don't have any idea what oil clay is, but the do know "Plastilina." There are also waxes that can support themselves and they don't need armatures. Annealed and formed sheet metal can support its own weight without an internal structure, and any structural form can but cut away to reduce weight and lessen shipping costs. By this time you may think that I am against using armatures, well I'm not I am for other methodologies. For the most part I'm a build up sculptor and guy's like Michelangelo didn't need armatures because the whole sculpture was the armature. One of my sculpture professors Joseph Taylor, had our sculpture classes build our clay studies on a pipe screwed to aboard when the clay was semi-hard we would hollow out the figures to with in 3/16" - 1/2" depending on the size of the work and the waste built more sculpture. He has a twenty foot Grizzly Bear carved from granite in front of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. I feel that good design with a knowledge of the materials to be used eliminates any extraneous devices and like any good metal fabricator knows good working drawings can cut the cost of building all metal sculpture. I have a fifteen foot sculpture that weighs 3/4 of a ton, built in 1983, that has survived two hurricanes due to good planing and to good structural engineering practices that were used when siting the sculpture. I know that one must have a screw loose to put all this effort and energy into building these three dimensional concepts not to mention that it costs me a small fortune, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Keep working, and I wish you all the best, Donald Kennedy
Comment by Donald Kennedy on May 9, 2009 at 5:32pm
Dear Monica, Paintings are real things, most sculpture is three dimensional and you don't need an armature to build a three dimensional object. Clay will support it self if you allow it to cure as you continue to build. Oil clay or Roma "Plastilina Clay" come in three grades soft medium and hard the larger the sculpture may cause you to need an armature. Aluminum wire for armatures can be found @ D*** Blick or Sculpture House & doesn't need to be welded braised or soldered to build the underlying structure. Blocks of wood, dowels or even sticks bound together with a light weight binding wire works very well and it is cheap. Plastilina doesn't need a mould release to make a plaster cast. Remember to fill in your undercuts or your mould won't break apart. The filled undercuts can be removed with a flexible shaft or a "Dremel" tool. We live in a three dimensional word so other dimensional are foreign to us and sculpture is tactile for those of us that like to get their hands dirty. All the best, Donald
Comment by Monika Teal on May 9, 2009 at 1:27pm
Hi Andrew. I am talking about sculpture in general. I am a painter, have always been a painter, and am no longer satisfied with it. Have entered the 3D world and want to make life size works of animals. I tried incorporating sound into a bear and was a miserable and expensive failure. What are the sizes and the materials you are using in your work?
Comment by Monika Teal on April 28, 2009 at 4:59pm
Looking for a venue where artists are on a higher level to talk about materials with. I am a painter who is expanding into the 3 D world.
Comment by Donald Kennedy on April 9, 2009 at 1:53pm
I haven't used tea for years, I pressed green ferns (from my garden) on wet rice paper that was plastered on to pice of shellacked plywood and dabbed tea around the ferns using a piece of cheese cloth folded into a triangle when I wanted a darker brown I boiled walnut bark in a saucepan of water extracting the dye and drained with cheese cloth, because metal strainers might react with the walnut solution. By the way I always use distilled water for the same reason. There was some green staining from the ferns which I considered a happy accident I was always going to use cut paper doilies but I never got around to it. The walnut stain was used by Colonial women to dye shirts similar clothes, check out books on Natural dyes. I will look around my studio to see if I can find the fern stained mono-prints and I will publish the images for you. All the best, Donald

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