Di Russell-Horn Creates Art from the Heart, Creativity for the Soul, and Tranquility for the Mind.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Art Heals

A tutorial on creating art 
and making homemade shimmer spray paints.

When our hearts are breaking and our mind cannot wrap around a tragedy  I turn to art to help me cope.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook killings in New Town, Ct. I had to keep my hands busy as I watched the news unfold. 

I wanted to share this piece of art that I created, entitled "Innocence", in honor of the children who lost their lives and the heroic teachers who died trying to save them.  

It started out as "just a piece of art", then took on it's own life as it evolved into a piece related to the horrific tragedy that we all watched unfold.  I always work intuitively and let a piece of art guide me to what it wants to do.  It wasn't until "Innocence" was done and hanging on my wall, that I realized I had placed 26 found objects on the canvas.

I started by taking a 12x12 canvas and applied a coat of Gesso.  I LOVE gesso.  It's a chalky paint that gives the canvas "tooth" and opaqueness (is that even a word?).
I then started scrunching up tissue paper and painting it onto the canvas with a matte gel medium (a great adhesive) and a sponge brush.  Once that was dried, I added pieces of lace and vintage textiles and covered most of the canvas.

 I pulled out a variety of ephemera and found objects and started to lay them out until I have a pleasing arrangement. I kept changing up pictures and found objects until it felt right.

I used buttons, old earrings, charms, hardware, flowers, pictures of my son when he was 6 yrs old and anything that struck my fancy.  
This is where "collecting a little bit of everything" really pays off!

I used a Heavy Gel Medium (Golden) to adhere all of the components and let them dry overnight.  Then I took out my gesso and coated the canvas with 2 coats to unify everything. 
I wanted to keep the Frozen Charlotte as is, so I covered it
 with a damp paper towel and painted around it.

Making shimmery spray paints

I love shimmery spray paints but they are so expensive.  I had found through one of my online groups, how to make homemade shimmer paints.

Buy small spray bottles ( I got mine at Hobby Lobby). I used the 2 oz ones.  Then add to the spray bottle, acrylic paints (the cheap ones work well, I love the metallics),about 2-3 teaspoons, a good dollop of glue (white glue or Modge Podge), a teaspoon or so of Pearl Ex or Perfect Pearls (for a beautiful shimmer) and fill the bottle with warm water.  Gently shake up and viola, you have your own homemade shimmering spray paints!!

Now comes the tricky part, spraying the canvas.  I first covered anything I didn't want painted (the pictures of my son Brian and the frozen charlotte), with damp paper towels.

I started with the lightest color (yellow) and gently sprayed the canvas (I placed the canvas in a big cardboard box to contain the spray paint).  I proceeded to spray the other colors.
I love the shimmer of the paints and the way they blend into one another.  

I pulled out an old dictionary and found the definition of "innocent" and added that to the piece.

Don't forget to always sign your work

My heart is still broken but 
I healed just a little, 
through art.