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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creating supports from found objects

As with many artists, there have been times when purchasing supports such as canvas and paper have been out of my means financially, and so, I have been forced to use various things around the house.  Although many home grown supports will not be acid free, they can be very liberating from a creative perspective. I've used objects as varied as waxed freeze paper, the backs of pads, gessoed then painted over and even plain cardboard.  When choosing a support try to pick something that accents the background, or media.  Freezer paper has a nice texture for drawing on, but doesn't do well with water media.  Cardboard is good for heavy bodied acrylics, oil pastel and tempura, but doesn't do well with watercolor or oils.  Most surfaces can be gessoed for added durability, or even treated with pastel ground to for use with dry and oil pastels.

Experimenting with wax paper and aluminum foil has allowed me to make some interesting discoveries.  Wax paper will leave an interesting impression when placed into watercolor and allowed to dry.  Saran wrap also works wonderfully and leaves the appearance of stones when placed into water media and allowed to dry. 

If you have something heavy like cardboard, or the back of watercolor block or pad, gesso and sand can be mixed together and applied to the surface with a spatula or similar implement. Once dry a variety of different techniques can be used with it. It may also be modeled into various forms such as a flower or sun. 

Remember in school when you colored a paper completely with crayon, then covered it with India ink to create a scratch board surface. This is also a wonderful way to use found supports, and are as much fun as they were when you were a kid.  Give yourself some leeway and feel free to explore various ways to use the many found objects in your house.

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