14 June 2016

Mermaid Grotto

This mixed media piece is a mermad grotto, a secret place under the sea where a mermaid can sit to do her hair and commune with the sealife around here. This project combines Pebeo liquid paints, paper crafting, and  resin.


Putting It Together

I have been working on this project for weeks moving it forward a step or two while working on other projects. It feels so good to finally have it finished.

I used three types of Pebeo liquid paints in the background for this project: Fantasy Moon, Fantasy Prisme, and Vitraile.

Fantasy Moon and Fantasy Prisme are solvent based paints with mica and other stuff in addition to the pigments. Vitraile is a transparent solvent based paint with vibrant colour. These liquid paints interact with each other sometimes in rather remarkable ways instead of blending. The interactions are based on the viscosities, the weight of the substances, the size of the mica particles, and other ways the different types are formulated.

To protect my crafting surface from spillage (which happens no matter how careful you are), I cover the area with a sheet of wax paper. Cheap wax paper is a crafting staple for its usefulness.

To recover from a disaster on my first run of this project, I simply added more Pebeo paints to get a new background. However, to show the process of the painting from the beginning, some of the initial steps will be from the first background that got ruined.

For this project I used a liquid paint art panel. A liquid art panel has raised sides that are attached to the canvas area to leave no gaps for liquid to flow out. This allows you to pour on the paints instead of using a brush. It's not like a mold, where you remove the containment, but becomes part of the whole. It's kind of like a shadow box in that the canvas area is recessed. The panel I used for this project is wood on all parts. Some of the liquid art panels have a canvas area with wood sides.

The fun thing about working with these paints, especially in this kind of panel, is that you can simply pour or drip the paints into the project directly from the bottle. This does, sadly, make them a more expensive medium to work with but well worth the cost, in my opinion, especially if it's not the only media you work in. Anytime you use these paints you need to stir them since they separate when they sit for a while. The mica particles are heavier than the solvent and other components of the paint. The paint is too thick to just shake. To stir, use a craft stick and scrap the bottom and scrap off the stick on the side of the bottle. You can use the sticks, too, to drip paint.

Because of how the paints interact, you want to pour and drip them beside each other and even one over top of another.

You can even drag a toothpick through to cause more areas to interact.

wet to dry of 1st background before disaster
 wet to dry of final background
As you work with the Pebeo paints, you can learn a bit about how to predict their interactions based on where you place various paints and which paints you pour or drip in proximity. The Fantasy Prisme effect is more honeycomb, the Fantasy Moon blossoms into larger areas more like craters on the moon, and the Vitraile is a solid transparent. When the paints bump into each other, it creates very interesting edge effects.

Working with the paints can be a bit messy and you will end up with a pile of used crafting sticks if you use a lot of colours.

The wet paint does need a longer time to dry than most paints and a very level surface for the first 12 hours when it's fully liquid. Though an uneven surface for the first 12 hours can lead to interesting effects as this panel I did last year shows.

For the Pebeo background, I was aiming or a look of coral and rocks creating a small grotto under the sea with the red and green giving an impression of coral and other sea floor items.

While I let the panel dry, I stamped Treena with Colorbox black on Xpress-It cardstock, and coloured her with Chameleon markers.

I added some Wink of Stella to her tail for a bit of sparkle and Perfect Pearls to her mirror to give it a more velvety look. When she was coloured, I fussy cut her out.

When the background was fully dry (2 days), I added Treena to her new home. A actually turned the panel 90° from where I had originally planned it, giving a roof to the grotto's cave. Since I planned to pour clear resin over the project, I sealed her with Mod Podge. I gave her a couple coats, letting each dry thoroughly (1 day)) between.

While her last coat was drying, I dry fit in some resin items I had cast earlier: 2 fish, a seahorse, some coral, a starfish with a broken point, and a shell.

I decided Treena needed some additions, so I stamped some fish and barnacles from the Oceans of Love set on vellum, coloured them with Chameleon markers, fussy cut them, and sealed them with Mod Podge on wax paper.

I dry fit the extra bits before sealing them in with Mod Podge. Then I poured clear resin over the whole scene.

After the resin cured (another 2 days), I used Sequin Black acrylic paint on the sides. The face of the frame had been painted with Vitrail.

I die cut a flourish and oval from thin gold coloured metal to add an old fashioned picture plate to the frame. I trimmed the flourish to give it a slightly lower profile. I used Stazon tuxedo black to stamp a fitting sentiment from the Serena Sparkles stamp set, "Never Stop Dreaming".

I affixed the flourish and oval with Ranger Multi-Medium matte because it is a strong adhesive and works with many surfaces.

And, with that, the final touch, the project was done.

Resin pieces are notoriously hard to photograph well. It's also tough to capture the sparkle on the tail without getting light glare on the resin.


Kraftin' Kimmie Stamps blog May monthy Scrappy challenge: Anything But a Card


More information on Pebeo paints

Some other examples of Pebeo projects that I've done. Some of these have resin over them as well. I really love the magic of the Pebeo paints.


Thank you for your comments. I do read every one. Your comments help me to grow as an artist. It warms my heart to see wonderful comments and constructive criticism.