Sunday, 11 August 2013

Salty corrosion

Decayed, distressed, peeling, shabby, no I'm talking about me as I creep towards OAPdom (when I do get there I will be doing it elegantly even if bits are falling off and failing!), but about textures I really love and adore. Those gorgeous natural textures that happen over time as the sun, wind and rain (lets not talk about chemical erosion shall we) batter wood and metal from their pristine newly painted / created state.

I've had this photo of a mussel shell for over a year. I took it on holiday in Southwold last July when I went for an early morning stroll along the beach (husband was till snoring in our classy shabby hotel and we've been married too long for me to attempt to wake him for some romantic adventure). The flat east coast light as it came over the horizon was superb and I spotted this and immediately thought it looked like a heart.  Experiences like that for me are like topping up my natural battery of happiness, storing away the feelings and memories for days when the battery of life seems a bit flat.

I've manipulated the photo slightly with some blue colour saturation on the PC and printed it out on photo paper.  I distressed the edges with a tonic tool, added some rock candy over the top and then some distress embossing powder and walnut stain on the edges to grunge it up a bit more.I took a scrap of kraft card crumpled it up and put walnut stain round the edge then used some staples to attach the photo to the card. The my heart sentiment was from the Sara Naumann 7 Eclectica plate.  I stamped it on piece of balsa wood that came with some canvases - you know the "bits" in a plastic bag stapled to the back of a canvas (what are they for???). Sandpapered the edges and did the same thing with a bit of kraft card.

The middle layer is a piece of mountboard that has been thoroughly painted to look distressed! I intended to use really bright colours to remind me of our recent holiday, the expanse of saturated blue sea against swathes of clean yellow sand was so intense. So a first layer of Brown shed to act as a base and then layers of South Pacific, Beach Hut and  Bora Bora were added. Then some thin layers of Cheesecake and Vanilla, followed by some more layers of the blues.  Finally a layer of crackle glaze and some more Cheesecake and Vanilla, thickly in places, less thick in others to get different grades of crackle. 

Round the edges I used Brown Shed, Walnut Stain and rusting powder to get the weather beaten look I was after. Once I'd sprinkled the powder on, spritzed with vinegar (ahh chips) I tilted the board to let it drip down and carry some of the powder with it and left it to set.  the longer you leave the powder the "redder and rusted" it seems to go. I added some stamping in Coffee Archival from Hot Picks 1201. My new screw brads were added in the corners.

The frame was another old one knocking around, the old art taken out and the frame revamped with Beach Hut, South Pacific, Brown Shed and Stone.  All really thin watered down layers, sometimes left to pool in places other times dripped down the frame.  You have to be really patient and trust what you are doing and that the paints will dry much softer than they look when you use them in this very wet fluid state.  Lots of sanding to reveal some old texture paste underneath and finally some fish / sea related stamping in Black Archival from Hot Picks 1111 and Hot Picks 1202 

This took me quite a while to make but I am really pleased with the outcome. For me making art is a relaxation, not a job with deadlines (although I'd possibly quite like to make it a job and I really should start thinking about attempting to sell some of my art if only to make space for making more!), so slow contemplative creation works for me, just like decaying and rusting!



  1. Wow Jo I absolutely love this!!! The colours are perfect and the mussel shell does look like a heart!! Your time and patience has really paid off with all the different layers...beautiful truly beautiful!!

  2. Love this Jo glad I'm not the only one that takes photos lije this.
    Happy craftin

  3. Jo, this is so very beautiful & the fact that it is based around a photograph you took makes it very special. I'm sure it will make you happy for a very long time.

  4. love that Jo. wonderful distressed and aged look.

  5. You have an awesome talent Jo! This is another stunning piece of art and I definitely think you should start selling your work. Your patience certainly pays off.

    Lesley Xx


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