Retired But Not Forgotten

In my book DecoArt Americana Acrylics are the best on the market.  The paints are everything I want when putting the brush to the pallet.  So I was a little sad when I received notice that 19 Americana colors had been “retired”.  Sigh, we are creatures of habit and when news of discontinued colors arrives, panic and frustration can result.  However, I encourage you to look on the positive side.  NEW-Americana-2oz-Colors-1DecoArt added 15 luscious new colors this year bringing their line to 253 beautiful bottles.  We certainly should be happy with that many color choices.

I think the biggest problem is the inconvenience of trying to figure out how to substitute alternate colors for those favorite and cherished patterns in our stash.  After looking at the retired list, I have decided to make a new list that may be of help.  My list is a “closest color” substitution suggestion.

  • Retired                        Substitution Suggestion

  • Antique Teal                                    Thicket
  • Arbor Green                                    Desert Cactus
  • Blue Violet                                       Ultramarine Blue Deep or True Blue
  • Cashmere Beige                              Light Mocha
  • Dusty Rose                                       Warm Beige
  • Eggshell                                            Sand Grey
  • Green Tea                                         Citron or Olive Green
  • Lemonade                                        Citron or Olive Green
  • Mink Tan                                          Fawn
  • Naphthol Red                                   True Red
  • Orange Twist                                   Tangerine
  • Pansy Lavender                              Wild Orchid
  • Pumpkin                                           Jack-o-Lantern
  • Russett                                              Antique Maroon
  • Shale Green                                     Aloe
  • Silver Sage Green                           Light Sage or Blue Mist
  • Soft Sage                                           Bleached Sand
  • Spicy Mustard                                 Golden Straw
  • Wasabi Green                                  Jade Green

Please note that these colors are close, not exact.  If you decide to lighten or darken, don’t use black or white.  Instead, to darken, try a touch of an earthy color such as Charcoal Grey, Soft Black, Black Green, Payne’s Grey etc… (and remember, just a touch!).  To lighten, use a light color such as Sugared Peach, Natural Buff, Bleached Sand, Warm White, Sand Grey, etc. ..  Also, if you want to replicate the color, DecoArt offers a Retired Colors Mixing Recipe chart (just click to view).

My advice is to be a little daring in selecting colors.  Just because we have “always” used a certain color, doesn’t mean another color won’t look just as nice.   As with any trend, not only things change, but colors change as well.  If not, we would all still be using Harvest Gold and Avocado Green or French Mauve and Country Blue!  It has been 3 years since DecoArt retired colors. I had a “how dare they” attitude 3 years ago, however, after I calmed down, I looked at the colors I thought I could not live without and picked new substitutions.  To my surprise, the new colors were so much prettier and my designs results much more appealing.

So in spite of a little inconvenience, I think we should thank DecoArt for keeping their finger on the pulse of fresh, modern trends.  Be bold, confident, pick new colors, and watch the colorful magic unfold!

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Ramp it up…

I love the art of Lisa Kaus.  Her designs and color are bright, vivid, and simply delightful.  While shopping, I found a whimsical cross that was just perfect for that particular spot in my studio.  I purchased my treasure, brought it home, and hung it on the wall.  I enjoyed my new decor, but felt something was lacking.  I decided it needed a few special touches!

It is so important to know that store purchased items do not have to be accepted “as is”.  While I loved the art, I decided it needed a few of my magical touches.  The colors on the design are pure, saturated, and very compelling.  However, the bright, plain “believe” sign just seemed too stark.  IMG_1828.jpg

Usually, I would be concerned with the base of the piece before painting, but the touches I wanted to add were so minimal that I decided that I would not need a prep.  I matched DecoArt Americana Sea Glass acrylic paint to the background color.  With a 1/2″ angle, I floated a hint of color around the outer edge of the sign.  Because the surface was a rather slick finish, I let the float dry, then repeated the application to deepen the color.  It is ALWAYS better to apply two light coats of paint than one heavy coat.

After it dried, I did another evaluation.  The sign still looked a little disconnected.  I really liked the border around the outer edge of the cross.  I selected a .05 black Micron Pen to replicate the same design around the sign.  To finish, I spray sealed the piece with several light coats of DecoArt Americana Matte Spray Finisher.  IMG_1829.jpg

So, my advise it to not be afraid to enhance or “add to” a store bought piece of art.   A few simple touches can elevate and ramp it up.  I LOVED the results and am amazed at what a difference those little touches made!  Dare to be a little adventuresome and impress yourself!

Eeeeeeek…….

Eeeeeeekkkk, I accidentally left my brushes soaking in my brush basin overnight.  I was really tired when I finished for the night, had a million more things to do, so I stuck my brushes in my basin………to clean after I did all that other stuff.

This afternoon when I went to my studio to paint, my poor pathetic brushes were looking up at me with soggy faces!  OMG, I couldn’t believe I left them in that condition.  Not only were they waterlogged, but the bristles had a nice, gentle curl on the tips (thanks to the bottom of the basin).  Not only was I aggravated that I had forgotten, but also that it would require considerable work to get them back into shape.

Never fear, I am not the only one that has faced this issue (thank goodness).  I have my backup team ready and waiting for such an emergency.  Enter in the qualified members of my Brush Crisis Team:

  • DS3-9-8ozDecoMagic_1024x1024.jpgFirst and foremost, DecoMagic  Brush and Stencil Cleaner.  This amazing product has many outstanding qualities.  It is gentle enough to use every day, but packs a big punch in removing paint (even dried paint) from brushes, hands, stencils, and fabrics. It leaves brushes soft and pliable!  BONUS:  I can also be used as an jewelry cleaner.  I often scrub up my rings while doing my brushes.  Nice to have sparkling clean brushes, but sparkling rings will catch everyone’s eye!
  • 29-60017-2__29288_1024x1024.jpgI love using my Brush Cleaning Tank.  It is large enough to hold an entire bottle of DecoMagic and has a dome wire brush cleaner positioned about an inch from the bottom.  The screen loosens paint while keeping bristles out of the bottom sediment.  I rarely clean my tank, simply refill with DecoMagic to keep the fluid above the screen.  Not only is it ecconomical, but the tank can be easily transported to any classroom.  I always come home from travel teaching with clean brushes!  One bottle of cleaner usually lasts about 6 months.
  • 29-01200.jpgThe Brush Scrubby Grooming Pad is priceless.  This little gem is probably the best bang for your buck in the entire industry.  Did I say buck?…its only 88¢ (SCORE)!  No matter how well brushes are cleaned, I am always astonished at how much paint comes out when using the scrubby.  After I clean my brushes in the tank, I pick up the scrubby and run my brushes across the pointed nibs.  This is a great way to get paint build up at the ferrule.  The heart shape is adorable, however, fits nicely in the palm of your hand.

05717-1002-1-2ww-m_1024x1024.jpgAnd lastly, if the tips have that stubborn curl, simply use Brush Shaper to restore the shape.  Basically this is a stiffener (sizing) that will return your brushes to their pristine shape.  Apply the shaper to the bristles, then form to desired shape.  They will dry rather stiff, but a quick swim in the brush basin will remove the sizing, resulting in nice chisel edges and pointed tips!  Keeps your brushes looking like new!

Now that I have restored my brushes, I have renewed my resolution to NEVER leave them in water again.  I have promised them that I will take better care of them in the future and reassured them that I will ALWAYS love them.

Finally…an AWESOME 1/8″ Angle!

I love to paint and am continually on the lookout for brushes that will make my painting life easier and my designs more professional.  Without great brushes, I know I will not have great results.   I don’t like fussy painting, but I like my designs to look like I spent many hours achieving perfect detail.  I use angles of all sizes not only to shade and float, but love the angled toes for sharp details and the width of the bristles to lay in basecoats.

My biggest complaint was finding an 1/8″ angle that would do the work I needed.  I searched high and low, checked out brand after brand, and tested one after another.  I was so frustrated with the shapes, the bristle quality, the performance; none of the brushes lived up to my expectations.

So, I decided to have a brush manufactured to my specifications.  The list was simple:

  1. The brush had to be long enough to allow me to load enough paint to float a significant distance before reloading.
  2. The angle needed to be at least 45 degree to allow easy application in small areas.
  3. The chisel edge needed to stay sharp and not spread out.
  4.  The bristles needed to be strong with good bounce and durability.

As a result, I am proud to announce Chris’s 1/8″ AWESOME Angle.  It checks off my list of wants and has exceeded my expectations.  I have been using the same brush (heavily) for over 6 months and it still looks and performs like new!  I am beyond thrilled as I no longer struggle to add tiny highlights or shading in small areas.  The brush makes the strokes easy to implement and the results are amazing!  This versatile brush not only works well with acrylics, but also is great with watercolors or oils!

Chris’s 1/8″ Awesome Angle is available exclusively at Cupboard Distributing; http://www.cdwood.com;  #03-935-1/8

 

Yes, you can…

I found myself in the middle of a home remodel.  When removing some of the drywall, I was pleasantly surprised to find the old chimney tucked behind the wall.  I loved the colors and the character of the bricks.  After they were cleaned, they were beautiful and would become a nice focal element.  However, this old chimney had been a working chimney.  There was a round patch were the stove pipe was cut into the bricks and huge, black drips of creosote running down the front side.  I was assured that the hole could be patched with matching brick and the creosote could be easily removed.  However, the patched area was bright and “new” looking and the creosote stain could not be diminished!

FullSizeRenderThe men had sealed the bricks with a coat of acrylic matte Seal-Krete.  I chose matte to keep the antique look of age.

I was not discouraged, because I have a secret friend that comes to my aid whenever I run into a problem. I grabbed a selection of DecoArt Americana colors; Terra Cotta, Heritage Brick, Mississippi Mud, Driftwood, Asphaltum, Burnt Umber, Sand, Antique Maroon, and a few others.  I used an old scruffy 1/2″ flat shader, a new brush will be ruined with the rough brick texture.  I studied the bricks and realized using pure color would be too strong and bold.  Each brick was a myriad of color and tones.

FullSizeRender (1)First I painted over the black creosote with Terra Cotta to cover the darkness, feathering out the edges.  When dry, I picked up a touch of the orange and/or brown to drybrush randomly over the brick, making sure to blend the colors so they would not appear spotty.  I didn’t use water or clean the brush between colors.  Wipe the loaded brush over a paper towel before drybrushing and between colors.  If the color was too strong, I picked up Sand or Mississippi Mud.  The key is to evaluate the color of each brick, blending with a continuity of colors.  Look how a single brick can go from a muted tan to a deep, rich rust!  I enjoyed playing with a palette of color to create the tone and flavor of each brick.  Patience is needed as it takes many, many layers to replicate the aged look of the brick.

The best part is the fact that there are no mistakes.  If I didn’t like the look, I would simply drybrush with another layer of color, brighter or quieter, as needed.  I even painted the grout!  The new grout was very clean and gray,  I wanted that dull, smoky color.  First I tried some greys, but, surprisingly, found that Sand and Asphaltum were perfect.  Not a mix, but a touch of both colors on a dirty brush, then a drybrush over the grout until the desired results were achieved.

One of the bricks had been broken and the hole was patched with grout.  Check out the “repair” job I did with paint!  I figured anything would look better that an empty spot.  Again, I started with a drybrush of Terra Cotta, then started toning it down with Mississippi Mud, Espresso, Heritage Brick, following the pattern of the other half of the brick.  I matched up the grout and applied another layer of sealer.

FullSizeRender (2)FullSizeRender (3)

I didn’t limit the touch ups to the damaged and repaired areas, there were several bricks that were dull or I just didn’t like the color.  The more I played, the braver I became!  This was a fun project and I love the results!

The next time a project seems beyond hope, just look for alternative solutions.  When I told the guys working on the bricks that I could paint them, the disbelief look on their faces was priceless.  However, the next day when they saw the faux painted bricks, they were beyond amazed.  They couldn’t believe the transformation and wanted to take pictures.

Taking art off the studio table can be rewarding and exciting.  I encourage you to adventure into new areas, be courageous, and reap the benefits of creativity!

Clear-ly Amazing…Modeling Paste

DMM30_ModelingPaste_Clear_4oz DecoArt has done it again…  They are always on the cutting edge of new product that is “clearly” amazing…and they now offer Modeling Paste that is CLEAR!!    I love the white and black Modeling Paste that they carry.  It is smooth, flexible, and paintable.  I can mix colors with the base, to create a tinted paste.  However, because the base is opaque, when mixing color, the hue and saturation are affected.  For example, if I add red to the white base, the results are a lovely pink.  If I want a true red, I need to paint after the medium dries.  I always wished there was a clear paste that would make creating much more versatile.

This Modeling Paste is smooth, flexible, and paintable.  Because has a transparent quality,  when adding Media Fluid Acrylics, it resonates as stunning as stained glass!  It can also be mixed with Americana Acrylics for a more translucent effect.  Use it as a stencil paste or create stamped impressions, textured surfaces and dimensional designs.  Imagine a sprinkling of clear textured snowflakes over a winter scene…gorgeous!

The medium is thick enough to spread, similar to whipped cream.  I used a palette knife to spread over the stencil, a credit card would work as well. IMG_7037

The medium is milky in appearance when wet, but dries clear.  Whatever is underneath will not be obstructed with the application of the medium,  I scraped a layer of medium over a stencil for a clear effect.  IMG_7025 - Copy

IMG_7030 - Copy I loved the way it looked, but wanted to add a tint to the medium.  I put a few drops of Primary Cyan and mixed.  IMG_7026 - CopyI realized it was too strong and the results would be very dark and heavy.  I lightened the mix for variety and experimentation.  The hue of the paint is not diminished with the clear medium.

IMG_7027I spread the lighter mix over the stencil and finished with the heavier color.  IMG_7028 - CopyThis clicked a few creative cells in my brain as I realized all the possibilities of adding various values of the same color.  IMG_7029 - Copy

I decided to add a layer of clear snowflakes on an old project for a little more whimsy.  IMG_7039IMG_7042I loved the subtle dimension and decided I should have sprinkled a little Crystal Glamour Dust over the snowflakes while they were still wet.  Wouldn’t that be beautiful?!

My mind is swimming with all the possibilities using the Clear Modeling Paste.  This would look awesome over snowdrifts to add shimmery dimension!

I am planning on using this amazing medium in many of my upcoming projects.  I can see it adding a wintry sparkle, Halloween enchantment, Valentine magic, Summer shimmers, or everyday charm! DecoArt Media Clear Modeling Paste is a winner!! IMG_7031 - Copy

New Shoes for FREE!!

DPL06_Red_2oz_1024x1024.jpg

I love to test new products to see if they are really all they are cracked up to be.  When DecoArt’s new Patent Leather Paint arrived, I was not convinced that it would look all that great.  After all, how many times do you paint shoes, purses or belts??

Shoe1.jpg

 

I looked in my closet and found a pair of brown sandals.  I really liked them, but rarely wear dark brown in the summertime. Determined to find out about the paint, I put the first layer on the leather straps.  Yuck, however, I did not except the first layer to cover perfectly.  So, I added a second coat, then a third.  At this point, I could see potential.  From experience, I know it is ALWAYS best to add several thin coats as opposed to a thick heavy layer.  This eliminates any lumps, bumps or ridges of thick paint.  One more coat…

shoe2.jpgShoe4.jpgShoe5.jpg

The last coat was beyond belief!  The sandals were smooth, and flexible, the color was stunning and, BEST OF ALL, they didn’t look hand painted.  These sandals look super expensive and very classy!  Check out my new “expensive” looking sandals!  sandals.jpg

So to recap, the new DecoArt Patent Leather paint comes in 13 amazing colors and can be used to refresh or restyle leather and leather-like surfaces with this high-gloss acrylic paint.  That means that it can be used not only for fashion accessories, but also for leather, or faux leather surfaces such as ottomans, chairs, cushions, etc… As well as used to embellish or add design to any of these surfaces!!!  In addition to being water based and non toxic, this paint is specially formulated to be flexible to prevent cracking or peeling.   My mind is absolutely swirling with all the possibilities that this unique paint offers!

DecoArt Patent Leather Paints available at Cupboard Distributing:  https://www.cdwood.com/collections/decoart-patent-leather-paints