The Northern Lights in Powertex

Aurora Borealis in Powertex
Northern Lights using Powertex

Designer: Donna Mcghie

In this article I will show you how to recreate my interpretation of the Northern Lights using Powertex.

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis have always fascinated me. Like the ocean which was the inspiration for my last blog, they have that ethereal, slightly unworldly quality. They are a reminder of just how wonderful nature can be.

The lovely Tracey Evans at Powertex HQ asked if I could use lots of colour and texture in this article. I used the gorgeous pigments to create the fluorescent greens and pinks for the sky. Textured stone art clay was added to signify water.

One thing I hadn’t realised before doing some research for this article, is that the Northern Lights also occur during the daytime.  However the human eye is unable to see them at these times as the sun is too strong for them to show up.

Materials List:

Cover the canvas

Powertex base for Northern Lights Blog
I mixed Sherbert Dip Pigment with White Fabric Hardener to create a luminous base

I roughly covered my canvas using a mixture of Sherbert Dip Pigment and White Powertex for the sky, and White and Blue Powertex for the sea.

Create crackles

Northern lights sky created using powertex pigments
I also added some Violet Valentine to the sky

After spraying with Black Bister I blasted with a hair dryer to create crackles, and used a palette knife to scrape back and allow the yellows to shine through.

Stone Art sea

Powertex Clay added to canvas for Northern Lights Blog
I had added in some trees in the background here, but they didn’t look right so I faded them out using my pigments over the top.

I used segments of Stone Art clay to create the illusion of a choppy sea. Powertex pearl pigments reflect the colours in the sky.

Tree textures

Powertex acrylic ink used to create trees on canvas
Rather than having the trees all along the shoreline, which didn’t look right, I opted to use an asymmetrical composition instead.

Putting a cluster of trees fading downwards, I painted some corrugated cardboard with acrylic and used a stubby brush to indicate branches.

Highlight waves

Powertex Power Wax to give highlights to waves on Stone Art Clay
Make Stone Art clay by mixing a small quantity of Stone Art with some Powertex until it forms a dough like substance

I liked the way the Stone Art clay waves were curling and decided to highlight this using Powercolor Titanium White Pigment.

Powerwax sky

I used Powertex Powerwax for a deep shine on the canvas
Powerwax is perfect for adding extra depth and shine.

Finally I added some extra depth to the colours in the sky using Powerwax and pigment. I dip my finger in the wax, then the pigment and gently rub on in a circular movement.

Using the Powerwax in the final stage really helped to bring the picture to life. I was able to create beautiful swirling patterns in the sky using the amazingly vibrant Pearl Pigments which gave just the ethereal atmosphere I was hoping for.

Northern Lights in Powertex

My finished Northern Lights Powertex Canvas

That’s all from me for this month. I hope you have enjoyed this step by step article, and would love to see any Northern Lights inspired artwork you create over on our Facebook page. Please feel free to leave any comments, (especially nice ones).

If you are in the Southampton area and fancy coming along to a workshop you can find all my upcoming events on the blog section of www.artandmurals.co.uk. My Facebook page also has my events listed.

Take care, and see you next month 🙂

A kelp forest – under the sea

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

It was a beautiful, clear blue sky morning in the glorious heat of Summer 2018 we arrived at Porthgwarra Beach in far west Cornwall just as the tide was receding.  It’s such a beautiful cove and we kept spotting something in the water around the rocks and went to investigate.  It was a whole area of kelp – a Kelp Forest! Wandering through the pools left by the tide there were beautiful shells, stones and shiny pebbles.  This was my inspiration for this Under the Sea piece.

Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Under the sea: Kelp Forest

Supplies

How to make a Powertex kelp forest

Step 1: The ingredients
Step 2 - Setting in the wires

Step 1: Use either Stone Art or other air dry clay to push into moulds, leave to dry. Cut 9 or 10 lengths of wire and randomly drill holes into the mdf base.

Tip: I had a tennis ball size piece of Stone Art clay left over from a previous project that I kept. Spray water lightly over a piece of clingfilm which I wrapped tightly around the clay. I sealed it in a reusable plastic bag.

Step 2: Push wires into holes, secure with masking tape then rip lengths of masking tape sticking it the full length of both sides of the wire to create lengths of kelp.

The base

Step 3: Building the composition

Decorate the base

Step 3: Build a thick random layer of Easy Structure on the base, push shells, moulded sea shapes etc into the easy structure. Spray with bisters, set aside to dry.

Tip: If you use a large central shell like I did, it is worth masking off with some cling film or paper before you spray with bister

Step 4: Washing back and adding a top layer

The kelp

Step 4: Wash back the bister from shells and shapes. Use red ochre to colour some of the coral like shapes. Add a generous layer of transparent Powertex fabric harder on the base and drop in mixed art stones.

Step5: Adding the Kelp

Metallic colours

Step 6: Bringing out the colour

Step 5: Rip up lengths of pale green tissue paper and paste onto the kelp using transparent Powertex. Leave to dry. Transparent Powertex helps to keep the transparency.

Tips: Paint the transparent Powertex onto the masking tape and press the tissue onto it with a Powertex soaked brush.

Step 6: Using the blues and greens metallic pigments bring out the highlights of the bottom of the sea.  Brush Mojito Lime and Golden Olive, Limoncello Gold randomly on the kelp. If you leave lighter patches the sun will shine through enhancing the kelp.

Leave it in a place where you get the sun. Watch it at various times of the day to see where the sun lands and where you might want to add further metallics and maybe a pearl or crystal.

I hope this easy but interesting focal piece inspires you to create your own under the sea project. You might also like this lovely fish sculpture project by Annette.

Don’t forget to share your makes in The Powertex Studio and if you can give me a shout out that would be awesome.

That’s me for now, check back in June when I’m upcycling one of my early Angels that has been keeping watch in my garden for the last couple of years.

Bye for now

Fi

Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter
Powertex Kelp Forest by Fiona Potter

Stone Art Clay Powertex Birds

Mixed media Blue Powertex bird Stone Art clay sculptures

Stone Art Clay Birds of Powertex Paradise by Shell North

In December my first Design team blog goodie box arrived! I was so excited!!! I was given the theme of a pair of birds and these are some of the items I received to create something with stone art clay to hopefully inspire others. (eggs, molds and dies are my own)

I did some research for birds in the style of these new MDF bases. I’m usually quite inspired by nature but nothing I found tickled my imagination. So decided to create something whimsical and a little different. Something from my imagination that may represent a bird of paradise. Because sometimes we need thoughts of warmer places of tropical paradise in these colder month in the UK….

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Powertex uk’s favourite product of the month is Stone Art, I decided I was going to use stone art as a clay to cover this piece. I also pulled out my bottle of Blue Powertex liquid art medium. Although I love this colour, I just don’t use it enough! Mixing equal parts of Blue Powertex to stone art powder until I couldn’t stir it anymore. I kneaded it like dough until the stone art granules could not be seen. This was wrapped in cling film and left for a few hours while I prepped everything else.

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First step was to create the bird shape was cut two polystyrene eggs in half long ways and attach them to the breast areas of the MDF bases with masking tape. Molding the 3D shape of the birds with foil and covering in masking tape. Keeping the holes in the MDF bases open for the wire wings by piercing through the eggs with wooden skewers.  Then threading some wire through the bottom holes, I created a wing shape. Inserting the ends of the wires back in through the top holes on both birds, covering in foil and masking tape again. I built up the rest of the birds bodies as before with foil and masking tape.

Now the birds were fully covered in tape I pushed them onto the 2 pin metal base and molded legs for the birds with foil and tape as before to secure them.

The clay I had made earlier was now ready to use, so I warmed it slightly by kneading. I took clumps and rolled it out into sheets about 5mm thick. Wet the underneath with a little water and smoothed onto the birds piece by piece. To blend the areas as one, I again used a little water my finger tips and a small pallet knife. I also made some feather molds from the clay and added to the tail area of the birds.

For the wings I used one of my favorite texture products…. paper decor, available in a variety of colours. Today I used pink because the blue Powertex is quite dark the colour of the paper decor won’t show through. I cut feather shapes out of it and worked blue Powertex liquid hardener into each piece before smoothing on both sides of the wings.

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Next I took Bronze (brown) stone art clay. Made with stone art and bronze brown Powertex art medium from a recent workshop. Rolled a long thin sausage shape and molded the beak shapes smoothing them into place. I covered the legs using stone art clay with my finger tips, a little water and small pallet knife.

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I created a small repetitive feather texture all over the birds body on the still wet clay. By pressing the silicone texture pad against areas I needed texture. I wanted to create webbed feet, using left over wire from the wings I shaped bird feet. And covered in masking tape before paining them black with black Powertex universal medium.

I decided to add wire crests to the birds to give extra interest. By pushing thin wire through the clay and curling them at the ends. I chose some green glass eyes and pushed them into the clay. I decided to be a little quirky with the colour of the legs, as I’m creating whimsical birds. So I painted the legs stripy using licorice twist and clotted cream acrylics.

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I left them to dry for a few hours so the clay would harden a little. So it was now time to bring them to life, by dry brushing with colours. For this I used Powertex powercolor and colortrix powder pigments mixed with easy coat varnish. I used orange and then faded yellow ochre in onto the beaks. I used ultramarine blue, then turquoise mixed with a little white. This makes the turquoise pop on the body and wings. Finishing by lightly dusting rich gold over the body and terra-green on the wings.

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Well the finished piece can be seen below…..Thanks for reading my first blog as part of the Powertex UK Design team. I hope you all enjoyed what I created this time. Do join me again next month when I’m back with another article.

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Don’t forget all the items used are hyperlinked. Click the highlighted text and it’ll take you straight to items you require, to save you time searching. Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions below.

In the mean time why not look through all the new and old blogs. Provided for you by the Powertex UK Design team and guests. You can also find me at The Crafty Little Corner. Send me a message if you would like to do this workshop with me. Or find me on my Facebook page sharing new ideas, hints, tips and a whole lot of Powertex inspiration.

Please spread the love and share this and other blogs.

Peace, love and Paradise 😉

Shell x