Quick Photo Transfer

Over the years I’ve tried various versions of acrylic photo transfers. Some worked for me; some didn’t. But most involved a slow process of overnight drying of several layers of medium.

Yesterday, by accident, while searching YouTube for something else, I discovered this video from Golden Acrylics showing a faster way to accomplish the transfer. (three minute video)



So I tried it. Mostly to satisfy my curiosity, I suppose. The fern is from my garden. I previously scanned it and created high contrast in Photoshop. I printed out a copy on my laser printer yesterday and quickly applied it to a prepainted surface. And it worked….here’s what I produced:

Photo transfer project


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Come See My New Work

Winters DayBob Pennycook: New Work is the title of my new solo exhibition at the Parrott Gallery, Belleville Public Library, in Belleville, ON from March 7 to 30. Official opening is Saturday, March 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. I’ll be there…because there’s food!

This show is a series of contemporary landscapes painted over the last two years. Each painting had its start from the view outside my studio window, but the painting process took each image a little further.

This piece is called “A Winter’s Day”. Painted in acrylic, graphite and charcoal, It’s 24″ x 24″.

If you’re in the area, drop by and have a look at the show. Gallery hours can be found here.

I’m also teaching a workshop at the Gallery on March 15 and 16, sponsored by the Belleville Art Association. I believe there are four spaces left. If you’re interested, contact the Belleville Art Association.


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Spring on a Cheesebox

CheeseboxIn university, I took several fine art courses. All of these were studio courses requiring textbooks.

Decades later, I still have most of these textbooks and I love exploring the images on these pages. How things have changed! But the one constant from the 70s to today seems to be repeat pattern, particularly repeat pattern for surface design.

I recently visited a quilt show with my wife where vendors displayed bolts of fabric. And when I explored the fabric designs, particularly the imported fabric designs, so much of what I saw is still inspired by the designs I grew up with.

So I’ve gone back to my early textbooks for inspiration. I plan on incorporating repeat surface pattern with contemporary, graphic designs on any surface I can find!

This design is an exercise in repeat pattern using acrylics, graphite and acrylic ink on a 12” diameter cheese box. The background is painted with alternating layers of drybrushed paint (oranges and yellows) sandwiched between layers of gloss gel medium to add both texture and depth.

Cheesebox 2

After I layered the bright oranges and yellows I decided I wanted a softer spring look so I mixed a little blue and yellow with white gesso, brushed it over the entire surface and wiped back with a slightly damp shop towel to expose some of the color below. To break up the expanse of soft green on the box I painted the rim a pale blue.

Since I wanted a spring feel, I loosely painted tulips using a round brush from white through yellow to a deep orange and leaves of mixed greens with touches of orange and pale blue.

The rim pattern was inspired by a design in one of my textbooks of an Indonesian textile. I used Liquitex acrylic ink in black and a nib pen to create the design then added touches of orange from the background palette to punch up the look.

Cheesebox 3
Then I covered the top of the lid and the bottom of the box with Tri-Art dry media ground. When the medium dried I used a graphite pencil (HB) to loosely outline the leaves, flowers and to add the circles and lines on the bottom of the box.

To preserve the graphite, I carefully spread a layer of gloss gel medium over the entire cheese box, let it dry, and then topped with a couple of coats of a matte varnish for protection.

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Drawing and Painting on the Same Canvas

Don't Ignore The WhisperIt used to be that when I wanted to draw with graphite or charcoal I worked on paper and framed the final image under glass. But lately, I’ve been working on stretched canvas, incorporating graphite and charcoal with acrylic then covering the completed image with a final coat of varnish. With no need to frame.

The process lets me work larger; gives me the opportunity to use graphite/charcoal which I love working with; and I can still add layers of color and texture which are so important to my work. The only downside to working like this is it sometimes becomes a step-by-step process where I create an interesting background to work with my concept, draw with graphite, then finish with acrylic. It can be difficult to work back into the background and around or over the graphite design – but hey, you just have to jump in and make the changes without fear if you think something’s not working.

This piece “Don’t Ignore the Whisper” is painted on a 24″ x 18″ gallery stretched canvas. I started with a color plan; worked the background with various layers of color and texture (texture meaning gel medium or visual texture created with the paint or a shop towel), then the canvas is covered with a thin layer of TriArt’s dry media ground. When the ground dried, I created the pencil drawing.

The dry media ground is much coarser than most papers so it eats up graphite. It also can make harder grades of pencil appear like softer grades simply by grabbing more of the graphite. Try a sample piece first if the pencil grade is important to you.

When I felt the drawing complete, I topped the canvas with a layer of gloss gel medium, let it dry, then proceeded to paint, mostly with knives and cut stamps. Also note the dark scratches at the bottom of the painting. For these I took a razor blade and scratched into the gel medium then dusted some charcoal into the incisions. The painting gets another layer of gloss gel medium then topped with a layer or two of acrylic varnish (matte for me) and it’s done.

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Juried Exhibition

RainThis painting was selected to be part of a juried exhibition entitled “Canadian Landscape” to be held at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery in Minden Ontario from July 29 to September 11.

The painting is called Our House Series: Red Tree in Rain and is part of a series of paintings I’m working on depicting various areas around our house in various climatic conditions.

The painting is a combination of acrylic and casein with acrylic used as the underpainting and casein used on top for its matte look.  It’s painted on 18″ x 18″ cradled birch plywood which I love to work on because of it’s smoothness.

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Rip and R.I.P.

Skootamatta RiverThis 24 x 24 acrylic painting was started outdoors at the river just around the corner from my place.

I completed the painting in the studio and immedately submitted it to a show where it hung for six months.

One afternoon,  I picked up the painting from the exhibition and temporarily leaned the painting against a cabinet in my studio.

When I returned to the studio that night, the painting had a rough diagonal rip from the upper left corner to the lower right. Little threads of canvas sticking out from all the edges. Something had fallen from the top of the cabinet and aimed directly for the painting. (You have to see my studio to see how this could happen…and believe me, you’ll understand how this could happen!)

I did a Google search to see if I could repair it. Seems that unless one is an art conservator, the consensus is not to attempt a repair.

Perhaps I’ll cut the painting into little pieces and use those pieces in a collage…unless, of course, anyone has a solution to what seems to be a hopeless problem.

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Bright red and juicy

vGot sidetracked while having lunch a couple of weeks ago. I took one apple from the refrigerator and sliced it. Saw the design possibilities so I grabbed a few more apples and started playing around with composition. Decided I liked this arrangement so I sketched it, took the sketch to the studio and this painting is the result.

It was the bright red of the apples that attracted me to them in the refrigerator so I wanted to capture that same feeling in the painting. I thought perhaps one of the best ways to do this was to use a complementary color scheme with the cool blue-green background and trim letting the warm red-orange of the apples pop.

Painting is now on it’s way to PaintWorks magazine and will be one of the step-by-step projects in an upcoming issue.

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