Monday 18 September 2017

Scribblings in my Dina Wakley Media Journal

I've been dipping in and out of this journal - not really making layouts sensu stricto but using it more like a sketchbook of sorts, but including in that, collage, acrylic, watercolour, sewing etc. For the uninitiated, the journal is comprised of 4 signatures, each of which has pages in "watercolour paper", burlap, thin canvas and a thick kraft process paper. The "watercolour paper" is variously described by Ranger/Dina as "handmade cotton rag" watercolour paper and watercolour paper that "contains some cotton", so I'm still unsure as to what it really is and it sure doesn't feel or work like any watercolour paper I've ever known, but I do like it for mixed media and acrylic painting. Ranger's marketing has not helped and I know of lot of fine-art watercolourists have felt let down by it - myself included - but I make use of things and seldom bin anything, so I decided to use it for something today! 

NB: the intention of these two pieces is as part of my roadtesting of the journal - how well it copes with thick, dimensional acrylic vs retarded, watered acrylic. They're really just backgrounds that I will ultimately add to and/or work over.

Abstract Blurred African Landscape (through the eyes of a cheetah) (acrylic on paper)
Ok caveat - this is about as authentically African as an Arbroath smokey, and it's probably ecologically bollocks too, as I've put the cheetah in the wrong landscape but who cares! I wanted to show something ultra-basic and simple, and loosely inspired by African artwork, specifically acacia trees on the African savannah, which appear in a lot of work by South African artists. I then wanted to blur it and add movement, as though seen by a fast-moving cheetah or a person in a car, whatever.


Ranger Dina Wakley Media Journal (BUY NOW USA, UK)
(I used one of the righthand pages, and a "watercolour" page specifically - no preparation e.g. gesso was used)

Daler and Rowney CRYLA artists' acrylic paints in:
   Titanium White (BUY NOW USA, UK) [PW6 Titanium White]
   Ultramarine Violet (BUY NOW USA, UK) [PV15 Ultramarine Violet]
   Rowney Emerald (BUY NOW USA, UK) [PW6 Titanium White, PG7 Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), PY3 Hansa Yellow 10G]
   Golden Yellow (BUY NOW USA, UK) [PY73 Arylide Yellow GX, PO62 Benzimidazolone Orange H5G]
   Quinacridone Burnt Orange (BUY NOW USA, UK) [PR206 Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet]
   Quinacridone Yellow Red (BUY NOW USA, UK) [PR209 Quinacridone Red]

Golden Artist Colors Universal Acrylic Polymer (GAC-100) (BUY NOW USA, UK)
(you could use any fluid, retarding acrylic medium really)

3/4" Golden Taklon paintbrush
(I used one that cost less than £0.30 from a cheap multipack - it doesn't need to be anything special!)

Plastic plates/bowls to mix the paints

Container of water to wash the brush, and a supply of paper towel or a rag to clean/dry it on.

STEP 1: CRYLA paints are very heavy-body and need to be thinned for a technique like this, so I put out each colour pace white into separate containers and squirted over a little GAC-100 and then mixed it in to make a texture more like a fluid acrylic. I did this such that I still had about 25% of the paint of each colour in the original format, so I could mix them to vary thickness when painting. I did not add any GAC-100 to the Titanium White.

STEP 2: With my brush wet, I picked up some Ultramarine Purple and applied a basic and rough sky. I then used Quinacridone Burnt Orange to produce a tree trunk and branches, and some soil, which I then overlaid (the soil) with Golden Yellow and Quinacridone Yellow Red. I worked as much as possible in only horizontal or vertical stripes and did not mix colours in advance, I let things blend on the page. I then added Rowney Emerald to make the foliage of the acacia, using the brush vertical to pounce the colour onto the page. I added a little Golden Yellow in places to add interest. 

STEP 3: Using side-blending (i.e. half the brush covered in Titanium White, the other half in a colour), I blended "light" into every shape, coming from the top left of the page. I then continued this with white "motion blur" across the page, letting it take up colour with it. Wash the brush immediately! Allow the page to dry for about 1h before closing the journal - the paints will be touch-dry in that time but will need 48h to cure fully before you can apply any media over the top.

A Tribute To Mrs Wakley (acrylic on canvas) NB: just a background, not a finished work!
Whilst Dina Wakley's aesthetic is quite far from mine, I really admire her use of colour and bold, vibrant, geometric patterns combined with scribble and perfect imperfections. I wanted to capture a little bit of this on a canvas page in my journal - the page is unfinished, I'm not sure what I'll do with it thus far! I picked the orange and violet paints as they reminded me a bit of her Cheddar and Blackberry paints (I don't currently have any of Dina's paints).


Ranger Dina Wakley Media Journal (BUY NOW USA, UK)
(I used one of the righthand pages, and a canvas page specifically - no preparation e.g. gesso was used)

Plaid Folklore Heart Layering Stencils (BUY NOW USA, UK)
(this set include grid and heart stencils and a heart mask - you will need just the heart stencil and grid stencil for this project)

Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Bubble Layering Stencil (BUY NOW USA, UK)

Daler and Rowney CRYLA artists' acrylic paints in:
   Titanium White (BUY NOW USA, UK)
   Ultramarine Violet (BUY NOW USA, UK)
   Cadmium Orange (BUY NOW USA, UK)
(pigment information can be found for these paints in the supplies list for the above project)

Palette Knife

3/4" Gold Taklon paintbrush
(I used one that cost less than £0.30 from a cheap multipack - it doesn't need to be anything special!)

Container of water to wash the brush and a damp rag to clean the palette knife.

STEP 1: I started top-right using the grid stencil and my palette knife loaded half with Ultramarine Violet and half with Titanium White so that I could get a fade/blend. I covered the stencil really thick as CRYLA has enough body to act like a texture paste and I wanted dimension.

STEP 2: I hung the heart stencil off the page and painted it in with a brush using side-blending (see above technique) with Titanium White and Cadmium Orange just to create some texture and depth. I then washed the brush immediately.

STEP 3: Using the bubble stencil, I applied some violet then white then orange paint, using my palette knife just like in Step 1 but with a bit less height to it.

STEP 4: Leave to dry. As the paint is thick and CRYLA takes about 1-2h to dry and this height fully, leave it open for that time then allow 48h to cure before painting etc over it.

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