A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fluid Acrylic Paints on Gessoed Quilts

First of all I should apologize  that I haven't been introducing myself for each blog post , I forget that  not everyone will have seen my first post this month where I summarized what I  would be covering .  So I'm Mags Ramsay and I'm guest  presenter  - all the posts  and artworks this month are mine as  nobody came forward with other acrylic techniques.
So far most of the techniques I've shared have  used Liquitex heavy body  acrylic   paints which are great for impasto effects. I'm now going to turn to using Golden fluid acrylic paints which I use  more like watercolours (they're extremely pigment rich) on surfaces primed with gesso. 
 In  2010 the Contemporary Quilt specialist group of the Quilters Guild of  the British Isles had a  exhibition challenge on the theme of ' Breakthrough' - an  opportunity to experiment and try something new. My quilt 'Bexhill Breakwaters' (below) was the result.
 After my initial trials of painting on fabrics, I  decided to experiment on using old tatty antique quilts as my 'canvas' . We'd recently moved house and the rather grey  old Durham quilt we used as a door curtain was no longer needed  and so uninspiring in itself that I didn't feel too bad cutting it up.
You can read more here ,here, here and here about the inspiration behind this quilt  but in summary I used old Japanese Kasuri inserted as the 'breakwaters' and painted the section of quilt with gesso ( you can see below how grey the background  colour was in comparison! )
 Once the breakwaters were in  place , I added additional machine stitching including stitching from the back with a thicker thread in the bobbin. I have to say that my machine didn't like all the gesso and I  had to  change my needle and clean it out regularly.

 For painting I  stretched pieces on boards with masking tape, had 3 samples in the end to try out techniques and a 'story board' with photos and sketches as inspiration ( I did a lot of the designing in Photoshop)
 I used the paints with a fluid medium rather than water to dilute the intense colours, and did a lot of colour mixing to try and capture the subtle colours of the sea.
 One of the other advantages of using  Golden fluid acylics is that they have some  paints which give unusual results  which I used to good effect. Interference paints give an iridescent   subtle shimmer  and the micaceous iron oxide was useful for the effect of wet sand and shingle. You need to be very thorough in washing your brushes after using these as they easily contaminate other paints - I left these until last.

 Finished piece ( 60 x 60 cm) sample 1 ( 20 x 20 cm) sample 2( 30 x 30 cm)
I did use some  white heavy body paint for the sea spray - the opacity of this contrasts nicely with the translucency  of the fluid acrylic paints
More in my next post on using interference and pearlescent paints in my series on 'honesty' seed heads 


  1. Just brilliant the way you captured the beauty and power of the sea. Thanks Mags for all the process images.

  2. I have seen photos of this, but didn't realise all the painting work involved. I think at some point I need to see your back catalogue!
    Sandy (in the UK)

  3. Not having a background in art I really don't understand much about what you have been posting. But the pictures are beautiful and your work is wonderful.


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