Category Archives: Techniques

Give it a rest…

I worked on a new design in January with great anticipation.  I wanted to create a rustic nativity scene on a weathered wood background.  I was pleased with the background and proceeded to work on the manger.  I kept the colors to a simple, earthy palette.  However, after I finished, it had much to be desired.  I set it aside to ponder on what to do.  I decided the small figures were lost with the busyness of the woodgrain.  At this point, re-painting the background wasn’t an option.

After a couple days, I added line work to make the figures more pronounced.  Outlining definitely helped, but the whole scene was very lacking.  I set it aside to mull over the next step.  I had two choices, either figure out how to salvage it or File 13!  At that time I was busy painting new designs for Vegas convention and a new book.  It was time to “give it a rest”.  My mind was filled with these new projects, however, the unfinished design was always lurking on my back burners.Penwork.jpg

After I returned from travel teaching and the Vegas convention, the huge task of getting my studio back in order loomed ahead.   I always need a few days after these long trips to rejuvenate and refresh.  Travel time is a great opportunity to plan new projects and gear up for the next round.  I pulled out the unfinished design and re-evaluated it.  It had good bones, but definitely lacked what I call that “POP” that takes it from ordinary to exciting.

Because I had nothing to loose, I opted to play with some stamping around the edges.  This was a huge improvement, but still needed more impact.  I used the white Uni-ball pen to enhance the stamping.  I was excited with the results…however…still needed more.  Sooooo…it was time again to “give it a rest”!Stamping.jpg

A couple weeks have passed and I focused my attentions again to finishing the piece. Today would be the day, either sink or swim!!  At this point, I knew that I needed to add a few more elements in the background and maybe some word art.  I had been jotting down different “sayings” and selected the one I wanted to use.  I added the background elements, painted the words, added a drop shadow and finished with some beautiful Glamour Dust.  I took a good look at the “finished” project and am quite pleased!Lettering.jpg

This whole process was unusual for me.  Normally, I “see” a design in my mind, sit down and paint it.  This one was quite obstinate!  However, we all need a challenge and I was determined to not give up.  Now that it is finished, I feel quite proud of myself for persevering, a little like Rocky!!

So, if you are painting a project and it just doesn’t seem to be cooperating, GIVE IT A REST!  Taking a break from a project doesn’t mean that you quit painting, it just means that you are switching gears.  While working on different designs, the brain can be analyzing and evaluating the problem child.  The satisfaction achieved is such a good feeling.  So remember, “giving it a rest”, isn’t giving up, it’s giving that creative energy time to figure it all out!

 

 

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Christmas Rescue…

…or should I say DecoArt rescue….again…

Christmas is always a hustle, bustle time of year.  Christmas lists are can be a bit of a challenge as one tries really hard to find just the right gift for everyone.  It’s always a good feeling to think you have acquired the perfect gifts.

My brother in law has a pontoon boat and my husband found the perfect t-shirt for him on line.  Pontoon.jpg

However, when it arrived, the front side was just what we wanted, but the back of the shirt was this!Backside.jpg

Since he does not drink beer, and there was not enough time (you know how that last minute shopping goes!), I decided to try another approach.  I wondered about using the Photo Transfer Medium  (available at Cupboard Distributing) to cover up the beer mug.  Since I have never used this product on fabric, I called the DecoArt helpline (they have wonderful technical service for any of their products).  They suggested once the t-shirt had been washed to remove sizing, that I use So-Soft to cover the image as the mug might show through the transfer.  I had used a water soluble pencil to outline the area to be basecoated.  The dark edge around the basecoat is wet fabric to dissolve the markings.  IMG_2069.JPG

He is a big Coke drinker, so I decided to use a Coke can image to cover up the beer mug.  I printed the image in reverse on my laser printer.  Once the basecoat was applied, I followed directions on the bottle to transfer the image.  Probably the worst part was waiting the required time before removing the paper to see if would work.  I am not good at doing crafty things, so was really on pins and needles, plus I had no time for error!  IMG_2115.JPG

Guess what??  It looked wonderful!  I was so excited, it really looked like it was factory printed with the Coke can.  You know, there is nothing worse than giving a gift to someone that looks like a 5 year old created it!  A great big thank you to DecoArt for once again saving the day and making something look amazing!

So, the moral to this little story is to not give up.  DecoArt has such a broad spectrum of products that do a myriad of things, from crafts, to home decor, to decorative painting to wearables.  Just remember, when you are in a pickle, they might be able to save the day with flying colors!

So little time…so much to do…

In the last few weeks, I have literally traveled coast to coast.  I stuck my toes in the Pacific Ocean and just a couple weeks later I stuck those same toes in the Atlantic Ocean.  I have traveled by truck and trailer over 8000 miles, taught a 3 day seminar, set up and worked 2 conventions, taught 5 classes and special event all within about 3 weeks.  I can rightfully say that I am bone tired!

However, my schedule is packed so tight and I have so many deadlines that rest is not an option.  So, what is the solution?  I thought I would share my secret to organization and keeping productivity at a max.

The first thing I recommend is making a list.  The list needs to be quite thorough.  I list EVERYTHING that needs to be done from art projects to house cleaning tasks.  Once the list is complete, the next step is to prioritize.

This is my secret, the solution to solving my crazy schedule.  I recommend purchasing a large desktop calendar.  I use the one with each month on an entire page with plenty of room on each day for notes.  I also like the ones with room for notes across the bottom or side margins.Calendar

Now the fun begins!  With a pencil (in case you need to re-arrange), start putting the tasks onto the calendar.  My best advise is to NOT overload each day.  Be practical and give yourself time off.  It is not realistic to pack the days so full that there is no time to enjoy life!  I always keep at least two days open, just in case the grandkids come over or I get an offer to do something fun.  That’s the main reason that I use a pencil!  I can simply erase and re-schedule.  My calendar is ALWAYS visible so I can see it at a glance.

Once I have all my deadlines and tasks listed on my calendar, I no longer stress or worry about trying to get everything done.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have long days, but now I have the comfort of knowing that it is all under control.  I can focus on each project as it is scheduled which allows me to be much more creative.

I absolutely love what I do!  I feel that I have been blessed with a talent and the desire to share.  My head spins with new ideas and designs.  I have stacks and stacks of sketch books, note books and scraps of paper with ideas.  My biggest challenge is not coming up with new designs, it is trying to juggle working full time, being a designer, painter, wife, mom, grandma, and making it all work.

My calendar is my peace of mind.  I know how much I can pack into each day and keep my sanity.  Some days are still long, but when I look at my calendar, I can always see order, which keeps me calm.  Now my focus is on the important tasks at hand, whether designing, painting or (sigh) cleaning house!

DecoArt Courage

When DecoArt asks me to do a project for them, I always try to push my creativity in an unusual direction to provide a new look at traditional painting.  DecoArt’s Media Line is intriguing because it is so different and versatile.  Matisse once said “Creativity takes courage”.  I titled this “Courage” as it seemed to sum it up as I stared at the blank journal.  I wanted to design something totally new and unique.  Learning new techniques and using new paints and mediums can be overwhelming, however, the results are so amazing that they are almost magical!  This project is the Featured Video in DecoArt’s Decorative Painting Newsletter.IMG_7663

Because journals are so popular, I decided to use this as my surface.  Everyone can use a journal…kids, teens, adults…we all need to make lists, write short mementos, or just jot down ideas!  Journals are a perfect and thoughtful solution for any gift giving.  My daughter creates stunning journals just for her that anyone would be thrilled to have!

This technique is very loose which can be a little stressful.  I encourage you to relax and let the brush take you to fantastic places.  I had a professor in college that emphasized that the painting always reflects your feelings.  With that in mind, relax and enjoy the ride!  The process always takes you through the “ugly stage” before it arrives at the impressive results!

Click  to see the  short instructional video creative process from start to finish…

All supplies are available from Cupboard Distributing www.cdwood.com

DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics

DecoArt Media Misters

Loew Cornell Brushes

DecoArt Media Mediums

Supplies

Instructions:  The design is painted on canvas paper, then adhered to the journal cover.  Coat 5” x 7” Canvas Paper with white gesso using small specialty sponge.  Allow to dry, lightly sand, wipe clean and repeat.

  1. Screenshot_01Starting with Turquoise Shimmer Mister, lightly spray top, left corner and ⅓ down left side.  Using Yellow Green Mister, spray from top right corner to bottom left corner.  Spritz a very light amount of Primary Magenta in the area of the pinecones.  While still wet, spray with White Screenshot_1Shimmer Mister to lighten.  Hold paper vertical and allow paint to “run” down page.  Lightly mist with water or alcohol using Mini Mister.  When drips are as desired, lay paper flat to dry.
  2. Screenshot_2Attach dictionary cling stamp to acrylic handle.  Using the Archival Ink Pad, coat stamp with black ink.  Stamp words randomly onto the background.  This does not need to be heavy or solid coverage.   Random and incomplete create more interest.
  3. Load oval wash with Burnt Umber and MaScreenshot_3tte Medium (50/50).  Using a slip slap motion, coat background area to tone down.
  4. Load toe of angle with Matte Medium and QBU to float across the bottom and part way up the right side.  Blend softly into background.
  5. Attach pinecone stamp to acrylic handle.  Coat stamp with black ink following instructions above and stamp image.  Allow to dry.
  6. Screenshot_4Load liner with Titanium White to paint first layer of pine branches.  Repeat with Sap Green and Turquoise Blue Hue.  Keep adding layers until branches are full.  Finish by adding a few qbo needles.  Keep these sparse, add solely for color interest.
  7. Load filbert with Matte Medium and Burnt Umber.  Wash over pinecones to tint.  Pick up Titanium White on dirty brush and press down to create the tips of pinecone layers.
  8. Load toe of angle with qbo and float around the outer edge of the pinecones and in between.  Without cleaning brush, repeat with Prussian Blue and finish by adding a light float of qbo.
  9. Load tip of filbert with a tan mix of Titanium White and Burnt Umber (50/50) to re-define the layers of the pinecone.  Load liner with Titanium White and highlight the top tips of the layers.
  10. To create the spatters, load round with a thinned mix of Prussian Blue and qbo.  Rap brush sharply onto another brush handle.  Always test on palette before spattering surface.  Spatter mostly around the outer edges.  Repeat with Titanium White, mostly in the darkest areas.Screenshot_6
  11. Trim paper to fit journal cover.  With oval wash, apply a layer of Matte Medium onto the cover.  Place painted canvas paper, smooth flat and seal with a top coat of Matte Medium.
  12. Using pad of finger, rub Titanium White around the outer edge (and spine) of the journal.  When dry, repeat with a touch of Sap Green.  If needed, add Burnt Umber.
  13. Screenshot_7With finger, rub a small amout of Ttianium White on the raised design of the metal frame.  When dry, tone down with a small rub of Sap Green.  Add a touch of qbo for interest in just a couple places.
  14. Varnish journal surface and metal frame with a coat of Soft Touch Varnish.
  15. To add the words, coat canvas paper with Gesso.  With oval wash, tint paper with Burnt Umber and Matte Medium (50/50).  Thin Sap Green with Matte Medium (50/50) to add a hint of color.  qbo may also be added.Screenshot_8
  16. Select word stamp of choice, coat with black ink and stamp onto the canvas paper.
  17. Cut word to fit metal frame and secure with adhesive.
  18. Cut fiber or ribbon and thread through the holes in the metal frame.  Allow enough length to tie.  Apply Quick Grip Adhesive onto the back of the frame and glue into place.
  19. Fill inside frame with Liquid Glass.

I am so impressed with the vibrancy of the Media paints.  It only takes a little to create rich, glowing colors.  Please visit Cupboard Distributing for more inspiration, information and for all supplies used for this project. www.cdwood.com  Email me with any questions  chris@cdwood.com

Postale Tissue Wrap…possibilities in a box!

If you haven’t played with the new Postale Tissue Wrap, you are missing out!  I am not sure what is is made of, however, the opaque tissue it is thin yet strong, it can be crinkled yet won’t crease (this means if it gets crumpled, it won’t be ruined), it can be torn straight or random pieces, it stores in a convenient box with a handy tear edge.  Each box contain a strip 12 inches wide by 15 feet long, so there is plenty for any project. 46_93181__26518.1416585851.1024.1024

Snowy Notes Pattern Packet by Chris Haughey

Snowy Notes Pattern Packet by Chris Haughey

I have used the tissue as a base or accent.  If using as a base, the end effect can be altered by painting a basecoat on the surface before adhering.  For a brighter look, basecoat with a light color such as an off-white ot light tan.  Using darker brown colors will tone down the print.  Reds, oranges or brighter colors will tint the tissue and create a fun effect.  To use the tissue as a base, adhere it directly onto a surface with decoupage. My favorite is DecoArt’s DecouPage Matte. Following manufacturer’s directions, simply apply a layer on the surface, place tissue, smooth to remove any wrinkles of bubbles and immediately apply a topcoat over tissue to seal.

(Get this pattern for only $7.50 on my website! »)

To use as an accent, cut or tear pieces to decoupage onto the project.  These pieces can be used as borders, accents or highlights.  Glazing can be added to tone down or mute the design to coordinate and bring it together.  Add shading around the edges for a cohesive look.  Stencil over top with paint or texture for interest.  The border design in the photo was created using Media Modeling Paste and Gothic Layering Stencil.  The possibilities are endless!

08_20042_8__33204.1405974652.1024.1024

Keys to Heaven by Chris Haughey Everyday Blessings Painting Book

Border

Border design using media Modeling Paste and Gothic Layering Stencil by Chris Haughey

I like to paint over the tissue, I often glaze over top of the print to mute the design.  Too much design can become too busy, distract and end up in chaos.  Mixing paint with Traditions Glazing Medium will create a transparent hue that tones down the design and allows the print to still be visible.

Using the tissue creates a lovely background that provides upscale interest and results in a high quality piece.  The tissue can be used alone or with paint to create a masterpiece.  This is a wonderful way to quickly produce stunning ornaments, decorative boxes, home decor, background magic and so much more.  Whether you are a paper crafter or painter, this tissue works well in both worlds.  What I love most is that the more I play with it, the more ways I can find to use it!   This such a trendy product, the possibilites are truly endless….

Time for Halloween Fun!

I love to decorate, and Halloween offers so many fun opportunities.  Whether you are a painter or not, this project is so simple that even the kids can join in for the creativity!  Be sure to watch the FREE video, click on the link below.

All you  need is a surface, Modeling Paste, palette knife, a few brushes, stencil (optional) and stone colored shades of paint.  I used a paper mache tombstone, which is inexpensive and nicely shaped.  Another option would be to cut a tombstone shape out of cardboard, wood or Styrofoam.

Just keep weather in mind if it is to be used outside.

Shatter Layering Stencil

Paper Mache Tombstone

Palette Knife

13-03562

Modeling Paste

 

 

 

 

 

The stone-like texture is easily applied using a palette knife.  Don’t let the end results fool you, it only takes a little to create the stoney texture.   I used the stencil to add the spider web.  Simply place the stencil and scrape over top with the Modeling Paste.  Just a thin layer is all that is needed for eerie results.


After the paste is applied and dry, the paint is applied.  This is where the magic begins.  Start with the darkest color first and coat the entire tombstone.  Next, layers of graduating colors (ending with the lightest color) are applied creating the faux stone effect.                           Watch as the stone evolves with each layer of color!

You can be creative with the epitaph as well.  I used “Anita Newbody” as a suggestion from my employee, Drake (thanks Drake!).  After all, there are some days that I feel like I need a “new body”!!

Click on the link and enjoy viewing the FREE video.

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=JPgqPk4tYA8

All of the supplies, surfaces and paints are listed.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I would love to see what you created.  I hope you have as much fun with this project as I did.  I am sure it will create many comments and attract alot of attention!

Recycling with Style!

It always seems when the seasons change, I feel the need to freshen up my decor.  I love the challenge of redecorating on a dime.  I decided it was time to retire my hunter green theme in my living room.  I bought some new decorative toss pillows with touches of celadon and cinnamon.  All I need is an inspiration piece and my theme is on a roll!

lamp price

A bargain at $2.99!

My daughter was dropping some things off at Goodwill.  We decided to stroll through and see what we could find.  I was so excited when I saw a tired old ginger jar lamp.  Believe it or not, the lamp with shade was only $2.99!  I knew with my stash of Chalky Paints I could update and make it look fabulous.

lamp

Dingy and outdated!

I couldn’t wait to get home to start working on my “new” lamp.  I painted the tired, spotty brass with Lace (a very pretty creamy color).  To tone it down, I waxed it with Golden Brown Creme Wax.  Simply wipe on and buff off to create a soft sheen.

The lampshade was very dingy.  I was thinking I would just purchase a new one, but, with nothing to loose, wondered if I could paint it??  The lampshade had a fabric texture.  I thinned down the Lace Chalky Paint and used a large, thick brush to work the paint into the texture.  It took time to cover the entire shade, but it was worth it.  It looked brand new!

All in all, it was looking pretty good, however, I wanted a designer lamp.  I selected a stencil that would be perfect for my new decor.  I used the Chalky Paint to stencil the lettering Rustic (brown) and added some Cameo (cinnamon) highlights.  finished lamp

As you can see from the end results, the lamp is spectacular.  My confidence level is soaring and I can’t wait to start my next project!