Thursday, 22 January 2015

Flower Power. . . . .

Morning everyone. It's time for a new challenge at the Artist Trading Post Exchange and it's my turn to host.

I LOVE making flowers and often the grungier the better so here's my challenge for you:

'January is often a very grey and dark month. With this in mind, I'd like to brighten things up a little and bring some summer fun into the winter. Using a Mixed Media style, I'd like you to make some handmade flowers and use them on a project of your choice. Remember we are a Mixed Media challenge and and stamping must be included, but no digi images please.'

For my project, I decided to venture onto a larger canvas and use my flowers along with lots of stencilling, stamping and general grunge. I've kept the overall colour scheme light and full of sunshine to brighten up this dreary, dark month. As usual, there are quite a few pictures!

I've had lots of trouble (again) photographing this canvas. The natural light is so dim but artificial light seems to change everything. The close ups will give you a better idea of true colours and how all areas of the canvas really do work together.
The canvas was prepared with DecoArt Gesso, modelling paste through a stencil and some die cut vintage book pages (thanks to my Sister Sandie for this book which seems to be in Gaelic)
The modelling paste and the text die cuts are given a quick coat of Media fluid acrylic in translucent white - love this stuff!
The three fluid acrylic colours were then used in varying amounts on the canvas - looking very bright and blobby at this point! Next came some stamping with Archival ink with yes, one of Andy Skinners new stamps (soooo lucky!). This stamp gives the appearance of scratches on the surface - not sure Andy quite envisaged his stamp on a piece like this but it does take all sorts to make the craft world!
Translucent white is quickly applied in a random way to knock back the brightness of the piece.
Two other colours helped to knock back and warm up the colours: Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide and Green  Gold (again - big favourites of mine) and I'm starting to like it a bit more now!
DecoArt Media Crackle Glaze is added to the stencilled paste diamond shapes followed by some Raw Umber Antiquing Cream to age the crackle glaze. I don't have a picture but if you look closely through the crackling you will see some white stamping. This was achieved by using DecoArt Chalky paint which is a dream for stamping with. Just don't forget to clean your stamp as soon as possible after use.
The printed text can still be seen through the layers of paint. Two colours of Archival ink have been used in addition to some more stamping using the DecoArt Chalky Paint. The die cut diamond shapes have been outlined using a pencil and a waterbrush - really like how the texture of the canvas gives this technique such an interesting look. Most of the chalky paint stamping was given a very thin coat of  Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide to help give the aged/grungy look.
Each of the large flowers was made from a gelli plate print which had been brayered with transparent yellow iron oxide.
The gelli print is then stamped with various colours of archival inks and another Skinner stamp and the round stamp is from Stampendous. Doing this brings the print together I think. Two further prints were made using favourite colours of Media Fluid Acrylic - I haven't shown all of this as the post would then be waaaaay too long!
Various floral shapes are die cut from the gelli print pieces. Small roses were made as the centre for two of the blooms and all the pieces were shaped and layered together for each flower. You can clearly see stencil work and rubber stamping on each of the flower pieces - some more dense than others!

The center of the large flower is made using a metal bead and some strips of silk which have been frayed on the edges.

Both of the other flowers have a small rose for the centre of the bloom.  Looks to me as if a slight amount of the mica spray may have been caught on camera on the right hand side, outer petals!

I then mixed some gold Interference paint with water in a mister and liberally applied it to the flowers - you can't see the shimmer here but I promise it's there!
The flower 'stalks' and 'roots' were made from wired paper string which has been coloured with the green gold fluid acrylic. The pieces were twisted together and the roots were made by curling the ends around a paint brush handle. 
The circular marks were made using pen lids with Chalky paint followed by transparent yellow iron oxide.
The sides of the canvas were painted and stamped to give a better look. More stamping with chalky paint.
I love adding small simple flowers and these have small black gems to finish them off.
Tiny dainty flowers which are a joy to use - for me anyway!

Larger die cut flowers and small flowers made with my favourite punch! (I can't resist adding these to lots of my work!).
This is my first larger canvas (since school!) and I've really enjoyed the experience - I could be tempted again!

Thanks so much for visiting me today and if you have time I strongly suggest you hop over to the Artist Trading Post Exchange and see what my team mates have been up to - you won't be disappointed!

The Artist Trading Post generously give a £10 voucher to the winner and our runners up can have a badge for their blog - all winners are chosen by the DT so it makes it so satisfying if you win one of our top three spaces. The winners of our previous challenge will be announced on Saturday so do pop in and see if you are one of the lucky ones!


  1. Wow! Fabulous canvas Julia! First of many I suspect, I love your flowers and the layers you've created on the canvas, there's some intricate work going on here. Love those Andy Skinner stamps... Lucky you ! Toni x

  2. Firstly Julia, thanks for a fabulous making flowers.....these ones of yours are so gorgeously vibrant. Great step by step, you've obviously had a ball making this canvas. So much texture going's a WOW from me too!!!....and yes I am loving those new stamps as well. Ruth x

  3. This is a wonderful project Julia :-) bursting with colour and many fantastic details. Love the crackle and funky flowers

    TFS and crafty hugs Annie x

  4. A stunning make Julia and such a great step by step too! Thanks for that! Your finished canvas looks amazing with those vibrant colours and artsy flowers, - brilliant!!

  5. NEEDING the new Andy Skinner stamps, they look wonderful, Andy loves his images and i imagine would be very honoured to see them used on your canvas. The DecoArt range of products are my favourites to use, they truly are amazing. I bought the Decor Chalky Everlasting shade as recommended by both Andy and Mark so i could add any colour of the Media paints which then become Chalky paints, a tip from their demonstration day.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your bright canvas and must get some more of the brighter colours very soon. Your step by step is amazing, thank you for taking the time to do that, you can feel your excitement and enjoyment in every word of your post.


  6. Thanks for the colourful spring feel on this cold winterday, Julia!
    Lovely mixed media!
    Hugs, Alie :-)

  7. Oh dear Julia! Thank you so much for the loads of sunshine that just visited my screen!! What a most beautiful canvas full of joy! I love all the embellies and product you added! Well done! XO

  8. Julia, this is such a beautiful piece of art, the colours, the design, the Gaelic book pages (at least you don't need to worry about any rude words showing up....) and then those absolutely stunning flowers - wow! Love, love, love this, it is a wonderful challenge theme too, for this time of year! Hugs, Anne xx

  9. Gorgeous canvas, loved reading and seeing all your stages. The flowers look awesome.
    Thanks for a great theme, I enjoyed it.
    Yvonne xx

  10. Absolutely Stunning canvas, Julia!! Just WOW!! I love everything about it! It's vibrant and happy and it's basically a celebration in my favorite color-Yellow!! I LOVE THIS!! XOXO-Shari

  11. A fabulous inky and textured canvas Julia and those flowers are superb. Roll on summer I say.
    Have a great weekend.
    hugs Brenda xx

  12. I love the colours on this amazing canvas Julia! Those flowers are pretty great too!
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Alison xox

  13. I loved this when I saw it on facebook! Fab color, drips, flowers, much to love!!!

  14. Oh my Julia! this is stunning! The combination of colours makes for such a wonderfully vibrant piece. The flowers are superb - I want a gelli plate now! and I love all the little bits of crackle. Fabulous canvas! Have a lovely weekend. Jennie x

  15. This is fabulous Julia and has made me want to get my DecoArt paints out to play with. You canvas looks fabulous and I can't wait to play now - thank you xx

  16. Wow! Julia this is so vibrant with beautiful colors. Feels like a sunny day when I look at it. Love this project. xxxx Laurie

  17. Hiya, me again, just wondered, is it the Americana chalky paint finish in the everlasting colour that you used to stamp the text with? Cheers Sam

  18. Wow! A fantastic canvas - wonderful colours and I love the flowers.
    xxx Hazel.

  19. Fabulous harlequin crackle and spectacular flowers - this is a showstopper and a half, Julia!!
    Alison xx

  20. Simply fabulous texture, colours, stenciling and... flowers wow!!! What a vibrant and gorgeous summery canvas Julia!!! I adore your makes :D Coco xxx

  21. Dramatic, bold, vibrant and just the thing to cheer us all up in the middle of winter. Another gorgeous project Julia. Jenny x


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Juliax