Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter Canvas

One hot summer's day I made a Winter canvas. Why you might ask? For 3 very good reasons.
1. For my second appearance as a Guest Designer for Fussy and Fancy Friday Challenges.
2. I wanted to work with some canvas as I haven't done a lot of that. And
3. Perhaps making cold and wintery art will help me stay a little cooler in this heatwave we're having. (Wishful thinking?)

Perhaps you would like to peek into my process?

Step 1: Collect all ingredients for the background

You need your canvas (I used an 8x10" size).
Paintbrush and Gel Medium.
And paper of course.

This method is great for using up a lot of scraps as you can see from my picture. You could use a variety of different colours, but for this I wanted a monochrome look so I chose all my papers from the same colour spectrum. I did however, try and pick papers with a variety of patterns on them.
Ok, now rip up all your paper into pieces. There's no method or rule to this, just start ripping. In fact, you probably don't want all your pieces to be the same size and shape, it's better to be a bit haphazard.
You want to rip up lots of your paper now at the start. I run out of pieces about 2/3 of the way though and needed to rip some more, but my hands were all sticky from the gel medium. So instead of getting up and washing them, I just asked my husband to do it for me. Now he's proud to be part of the art too!

2. Start Sticking Them Down!

Again, there's no particular method to this. Just pick a piece of paper from your pile and glue it to your canvas using the Gel Medium. I'm sure you could use PVA glue, or Mod Podge or something similar for this. I happen to like Gel Medium. Perhaps if I were truly arty I might even know of a reason why you should be using one of them rather than another. But I don't. So just use what you have I say!

It's good to make sure the entire back of each piece of paper is covered in your adhesive otherwise the corners might lift off. I also put a coat on over the top to make sure this doesn't happen.

Keep going until you're finished and there are no white spaces left.

My canvas had edges that I made sure I covered completely too. Otherwise it might look a bit funny from the side!
Now let all this dry properly.

3. Paint

To make the background a bit more uniform and blended I covered the entire thing with a coat of watered-down white acrylic paint. You could also use watered-down gesso, but sometimes I find this doesn't mix up very nicely. Again, this might be a question for the real artists out there. I think if you wanted to write or stamp or draw or any other kind of detailed work on it later on then you should go with the gesso as it's a primer rather than a paint.

Anyway, water down your chosen medium fairly well say about 50:50 because if it's too sheer you can always go over it with more coats, but if it's too opaque you won't be able to see the colours coming through.

So mine looked like this after about 3 coats of the paint.

4. Details

Next I wanted an icicle effect. I mixed together some cream and silver acrylic paint and dripped and dribbled it from the top of my canvas until I was happy.

Let this dry completely. I get impatient at things like this and want to hurry up and get on with the exciting bits like all the toppings. I guess that was the one good thing about making this in the heat - it speeds the drying up a bit.

5. Embellish

Now you can go to town putting on whatever you want on top. I've used some digital elements from CK Muckosky's Peace on Earth collection which I bought on sale at Little Dreamer Designs. I printed them off and cut them out (a bit of a fiddly task with all those snowflakes! But totally worth it).

Decide on placement and attach. I glued them all down with Gel Medium too.
Then add everything else!

I've used alphas by Arctic Frog (fitting, yes?), sequins with seed beads glued on top, a chipboard bird by Collections Elements which I painted white, then coated with glitter and inked around the edges with silver. I used another bead for it's eye, and simply hand drew the music notes.

I've used a Bible verse for the journaling, printed off and cut into strips. It reads "Praise the Lord O Jerusalem! Praise your God O Zion! He gives snow like wool, He scatters the frost like ashes. He casts forth His ice as fragments. Who can stand before His cold? He sends forth His word and melts them. He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow" in Psalm 147:12-18

I'm contemplating doing a series of these canvases, one for each season. What do you think?


  1. What do I think? I think this is an amazing post! Great job and thanks for the detailed tutorial. Your project looks like it came out of a book. Great job

  2. Wow Natalie this is stunning well done you love the colours amazing.

    Hugs Christine xx

  3. What a fabulous tutorial and gorgeous piece of artwork! Thank you for sharing all the work that went into it. I love it, and yes I think you should do all the seasons! Thank you for doing such fabulous work as a Guest Designer at Fussy and Fancy!

  4. Wow, your tutorial is awesome. This piece is beautiful and I agree you should do all the seasons :).

  5. I had NO idea how much work you put into this project! I liked it when I saw it, but now I respect it so much more - lol! I honestly do :) Great artwork, Natalie. We want to see more!
    Love and hugs ~ Lori

  6. this is stunning natalie, thanks for the tutorial, i might just give this a go, love it, and i would say yep do one for each season

  7. This is just gorgeous Natalie...I love that you have used hybrid elements for the snowflakes! Tatum xx

  8. This is absolutely FABULOUS!!!! I LOVE the painted swirls and all the snowflakes!!

    It must be odd living in warm Australia and make one of these canvases?? We had LOADS of snow this winter - it was about -20 degrees Celsius January through March (to and fro) and we had about 1-1½ meters of snow that period, too.

    I'm glad summer is closing in. ;)

    Take care,


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