Sunday, September 16, 2012
My dye painting experiment
I have used thickened dyes in various ways for the past few years, but I think this is the first time I have tried using them for a realistic rendering. Years ago, I painted with acrylics and enjoyed the process, but I haven't done any painting for over 25 years, so this was something I wanted to try. For a subject, I chose a photo I took of a Nasturtium plant that grows in a pot on my deck:
First I did a line drawing of the flowers.
Then I mixed my colors: Deep Orange, Golden Yellow, Light Lemon Yellow, Bright Green to start. Later I added Robin's Egg Blue, Bronze, Moss Green.
I began by painting the veins in the leaves with light lemon yellow, then used deep orange and a little golden yellow for the flowers.
Next, I painted the leaves using bright green with some thickener to give me lighter shades, and some moss green for the darker shades.
I let the piece rest overnight, covered with plastic. Then I used robin's egg blue in 2 shades to try and create shadows in the background. Big mistake! No way to paint it out, so I deal with it later. Meanwhile, I used Moss green and bronze to paint the background around the leaves and flowers.
Up until now, I was using a number 2 Bright paint brush, which gave me a good crisp line, and it was a good size for the details. At this point, I began to use a number 12 Bristle Flat brush to extend the background. While I was at it, I painted over the blue stripes... the best I could do to camouflage the stripes. Note to self: be very sure of what you want to do with dyes! If I were painting with acrylics, I would simply paint over them and no one would be the wiser!
I'm sure there is more I could do to this piece such as adding details with a fine point brush, but I think I am going to stop here and digest what I have learned. One thing I noticed was that I had varying thicknesses of dye, partly due to using other recipes than the one Kathy used. But I found that mixing a thinner batch into some that were thicker than I wanted helped to make them easier to use. Now my only concern is how well this piece will handle being washed after a thorough batch. I'll post an update after it's washed out, so stay tuned...