On my Desk this Week: Another Textured Background

Textured Backgrounds for Art Journaling | VanillaArts.com

What am I working on today?

Textured Background for June's Mantra

It's nothing earth shattering, but then again- studio life is usually long periods of not-much interrupted by the occasional burst of moderate greatness.

In movies, artists are portrayed as whirling dervishes of creativity, cranking out several masterpieces in the space of one musical interlude.

In truth, we spend a lot of time staring at a blank canvas. Art is more cerebral than you'd assume and that doesn't make for riveting television.

Textured Backgrounds for Art Journals | VanillaArts.com

So what's going right?

I tried a new-to-me surface, Strathmore's Acrylic Paper (246 lb.). I think I like it.

If you recall my last textured surface attempt, the Bristol Board buckled and warped. This time on Acrylic Paper, not a buckle in sight- despite a very moist application. I think I've found my go-to cheap surface for quick backgrounds. My preferred not-cheap base is still Ampersand board- either Gessobord or Aquabord.

I hesitate to call this Acrylic stuff "paper" or even "cardstock" because it feels so sturdy. I use 300 lb. watercolor paper quite regularly and this has that same substantial hefty feel.

What's going wrong?

After watching many art journalers use the baby wipe technique with Distress Paint, I thought I'd give it a try. On a gesso base, I've layered Peacock Feathers, Cracked Pistachio, and Brushed Pewter. The pewter shows as gray on camera but in real life, it is very reflective and quite beautiful. 

Now understand, I come at things from the art world, so while the Distress Paint was super easy to apply and dried very quickly, I confess that I was frustrated. When I make background panels, I do a lot of layers and mixes, letting the paint be paint and do what it wants. With the Distress paints, they were lifting previous layers rather than laying on the top. I know if I had let each color cure, I wouldn't get any lift, but I'd also eliminate all blending potential.

In looking at the Peacock/Pistachio mix, I decided I needed a darker blue for more depth. I was concerned that my stash of Fluid Acrylics might lift more of the Distress Paint so I had to get creative. I used Copic B99 and E37 Various Inks on a medical grade cotton pad to darken the edges and give the entire piece some weight.

What's next?

I lost a lot of texture in the Distress process, there are some nice cracks that I'd like to try to rescue with a dry brush of white. That will also keep this from feeling too much like a photo studio backdrop. When I'm done putzing, I'll add the quote and make it available to you as a free download.

Free Monthly Mantras appear on the first Friday of every month.

In summary: A good test of Distress Paint and a reminder that not all acrylic paints behave the same way.

A little like kids, no?