Art Journal Tribute to Christmas Decorations

ATT00001This weekend after the marvelous Thanksgiving feastS that we had (notice the plural), my beautiful, young bride informed me that it was time to get the Christmas decorations down from the attic.  I tried to tell her that I needed to work on my journal.  She said, “Fine.”  That’s bridespeak for, “Do it now if you ever want me to stop glaring at you.”

I have been watching a lot of Spraycaso’s videos on YouTube.  If you’ve never heard of him, I strongly suggest you head over their right now and watch some of his amazing work.  He is a spray paint artist.  More than just spraying paint, spray paint is his actual medium and he uses a multitude of techniques from scraping to brushing with a sea sponge to get painterly effects.  I was inspired to try this with this week’s entry into the art journal.

bluepaintAfter applying gesso to my pages I began with a stripe of blue paint.  Since I wasn’t really going to be using much of Spraycaso’s (and the late Bob Ross’) “wet-on-wet” technique, I had to wait for the paint to dry before I could go from step to step.  As the paint dried, I cut out masks for the next layer.

purplepaintWhen you do add second and third layers of spray paint without allowing them the full curing time, the reducing agent, or thinner re-wets the previous layer causing a mixing of colors.  With the blue stripe masked off, I added a layer of purple and a layer of pink.  These swirled together with the blue to give me an opalescent pink.

touchupAt a couple of different points along the way, I found it necessary to add a few touch up strokes.  I did this by spraying a puddle of paint onto a piece of scrap from the masks and using one of the La CheapAY brushes I buy that are fifteen for $1.  I keep a bunch of these around just for this purpose and other types of painting that I don’t want to use my good brushes on, like Mod Podge or Gel Medium for instance.

snowwhiteWhen I masked off the ornament, I sprayed all of both pages with gloss white.  I sprayed just enough that the blue was just a hint underneath for a reflective quality in the snow.  I will leave the mask over the ornament for the rest of the spray painting.  I suppose I could have done the reflective light bit and lifted an edge of the mask, but honestly it didn’t occur to me at the time.

snowmanFor the snowman, I used two masks.  The first was when I added the baby blue for the highlights on the snow.  This mask had a cut out to allow the blue to create crescents on him.  The second was just a solid mask to prevent any overspray from later effects.

nightskyA little wrinkled newspaper gives a landscaped appearance to the scene.  By not having the edges down flat, it gives a shadowed transition to the horizon.    The sky actually has three layers of color to it, baby blue along the snow, dark blue across the mid sky and then I went over the whole top with gloss black.  This gives the sky some swirl effects without a whole lot of effort.

twinklesA common outdoor decoration are the icicle lights that hang in strings from the edge of the roof.  I used a hole punch to cut an irregular pattern along the top edge of the mask.  Then, keeping the mask almost 1/4″ above the journal, I sprayed a quick, light misting of yellow as perpendicular as I could (I’m short).  Then I added a spot of opaque white to the center of each and used an old credit card to scratch in the the hanging wires.

starlightI use this spatter technique in most of my work to tie colors from one side to the other.  I simply tap a loaded, wet paint brush against another.  I like the way it breaks up the monotony in large patches of single colors.  Here, I’m using it as a way to create a starry sky, as well as ice flakes in the snow.  After, I painted a hat onto the snowman and added highlights to the various shiny objects throughout the piece, I sprayed the whole thing with a heavy layer of acrylic sealer.  Glossy paints have a tendency to get sticky once you close your journal.  So far, acrylic sealer has worked well to prevent that from happening to me.

This was a lot of fun and I picked up a lot of technique to use in other projects.  You can see the whole process in the video below or go to YouTube to watch.

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