Maybe it comes from looking in the mirror every morning when I’m brushing my teeth, but I’m becoming partial to old stuff.
Distressed, crackled, stained, antiqued, I’m on a mission to age almost everything I touch. I’m eyeing the dining room furniture right now. The set came from my wife’s grandmother so it’s old already, but it still has clean lines and smooth surfaces. I want to change that.
So I bought a can of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue. My wife’s first reaction was “who would ever paint their furniture duck egg blue?”. But with a little antiquing, a little distressing, I think I’ll be able to win her over.
I’m starting small to convince her. I found this round tin tray in the same store where I bought the paint. I covered it with two coats of duck egg blue. Then, instead of ageing the tray, I added a contemporary stamped design on the floor and a wiggly black line of acrylic ink around the outside base. To create the stamp, I drew poplar trees on a piece of foam; cut out the foam and applied a metallic blue/green paint to the tree stamp using a sponge to create texture then pressed the foam, painted side down, onto the tray. That’s it! Real simple.
And my plan may have been successful. My wife purchased the bird cage at Michael’s and she made the table topper to match. Next step, the furniture. I’ll start with the inside of the hutch!
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The school photograph is from 1890 so the challenge was to make the rest of the painting look old as well.
But first, I needed to create a photo transfer of the original picture. I photocopied the picture and applied a coat a day of Golden Soft Gel medium for about four or five days. I brushed the gel medium right over the image. Once the gel was set on the last day I wet the back of the image and started rubbing to remove the paper. After two or three attempts at removing the paper I was left with a transparent image which I glued to the canvas with polymer medium. You can paint the canvas first, and the colors you brush onto the canvas will show through the photo transfer. But I left my background white.
Next came Golden’s Crackle Paste. I applied this with a palette knife and made it thick enough that the cracks would develop. A thin application won’t show cracks. The product recommendation is that crackle paste be applied to a solid background such as Masonite or cradle board, rather than canvas. But I’ve found that if I don’t apply the paste too thickly and I varnish the completed painting to hold everything in place, then I seem to be able to use the paste on stretched canvas.
When the crackle paste dried (after a couple of days), I again used a palette knife and applied Golden’s Light Molding Paste. I applied the paste roughly to get some ridges and valleys.
When all the mediums were dry, I took sandpaper and sanded back any spots that were too thick or too rough. I paid particular attention around the edge of the transfer.
Next, I brushed Payne’s Grey acrylic over the entire piece and immediately wiped the color back using a damp shop towel. The objective was to leave a darker value in the valleys and cracks.
I brushed a glaze of Transparent Red Oxide over the photo transfer then added some stamped, stencilled and collaged elements to complete the piece.
This painting “Bridgewater School” is to be part of a group exhibition at a local gallery featuring many of the old schools of the area. The Bridgewater building still exists and is used as a community center but most of the others have disappeared.
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