Mosaic Madness

Designer – Annette Smyth

Hello Everyone, this month’s theme of Ancient Rome has got me really excited.

Why I hear you ask?…….Well, my Dad was born in the village of North Leigh in Oxfordshire.  It is here that the remains of one of the largest Roman villas can be found.  At its height, around the early 4th century it had 4 bath suites, 16 mosaic floors and 11 rooms with underfloor heating.  I expect the inhabitants found our climate a little cool!  

Mosaic madness

It was the mosaic floors that really grabbed my imagination and so I did a bit more digging into their symbolic meaning.  I found that homes often had a mosaic with medusa in. This was considered a lucky talisman as  it was thought to ward off evil,  as her stare would turn the viewer to stone.

Powertex Mosaic Madness by Annette Smyth

I immediately thought of using stone art to create the tiles and rather than Medusa I chose to use the Green man plaster , a more gentle image. The piece needed to be rustic and aged so bister was the perfect choice and having missing and misplaced tiles around the edge also gives it a timeworn feel.

If you would like to read more about the history of the villa please click here.

Materials List

Mdf circle or old hardboard place mat – mine was 28cm wide
Ivory Powertex Universal Medium
Stone Art
Green Man Plaster face
Brown Bister
Colortricx pigments – Red Ochre, Yellow Ochre, White, Mocha, Ultramarine blue
Easy Varnish
Powerwax (can be replaced with Stone Art see step 12)

You will also need
Non stick rolling pin
2 pieces of wood to be used as guides for rolling out your clay in step 2 – mine were just under 1cm thick 

1 Make Stone Art clay

Make the Stone Art clay by mixing the Ivory Powertex with the Stone Art.

2 Roll out the clay

Using the wooden guides, roll out the clay on a non stick surface.

Using guides allows you to roll to the same depth each time.

Texture added with sponge

3 Adding texture

Using a texture sponge, press into the clay to create texture then cut up into 1cm squares with scissors.

4 Dry enough tiles

Place these tiles to one side to start to dry.  I used 122 on my piece.

Designer tip – make spare tiles to test dry brushing colours on later.

5 Paint the base

Paint both sides of your base with Ivory Powertex and dry.

Place the plaster face on the base and roughly draw around it.

6 Make up your “grout”

Make up a paste of Stone Art powder and Ivory Powertex.  Think of this as your grout.

7 Attach the plaster face

Place some paste inside the line for your plaster face, paint the back of the plaster with Ivory Powertex and then place onto the base.

8 Place your tiles

Spread out more of paste, in a thickish layer, around the face and start placing your tiles in your chosen pattern.  

Mosaic sprayed with Bister

9 Spray with Bister

Spray with a light misting of brown bister and leave to dry overnight.

10 Add colour to the face

With a damp sponge, remove excess bister.

Using the Red and Yellow Ochre pigments mixed with Easy Varnish colour the plaster face.

Add Ultramarine Blue to the eyes.

Dry brushing the tiles

11 Colour the tiles

Using the Red Ochre, Yellow Ochre and Mocha pigments with Easy Varnish I coloured the outside 2 circles of tiles.

12 Colour the grout

Using Powerwax mixed with Yellow Ochre I created a paste to fill in the gaps between the tiles and up to the plaster.  Remove excess with a damp sponge.

Allow to dry overnight and polish with a soft cloth.

Top tip

Why not try using the Stone Art paste mixed with Yellow Ochre if you don’t have any Powerwax.

I have really enjoyed creating this piece and can see so many more projects that would work well with this technique. How about making your own plaque with your house number on?

I would love to know what you create following this article. Why not share your creations on the Powertex Studio Facebook group.

If you would like to see more inspiration ideas why not have a look at my previous article or join me for a workshop at my home studio.

Until next time, Happy Creative Adventures………Axx

Powertex planets canvas art

Designer – Kore Sage

Powertex planets are a fun and easy canvas project to try. It doesn’t take much in the way of supplies and if you’ve used stencils or masks before you’re half way there! With Powertex you really can use basic techniques for amazing results.

Powertex planets canvas art by Kore Sage using Blue Powertex and Bister sprays
Powertex planets canvas art by Kore Sage

Materials list

  • Canvas – I used an inexpensive rectangular canvas
  • Blue and Ivory Powertex Fabric Hardener
  • Ready Made Bister sprays in Black, Red, Yellow and Green
  • Stiff cardboard to cut own circular masks
  • Hairdryer

Prepare your canvas and card circles

Prep your canvas with Blue Powertex Fabric Hardener and while it’s drying cut your circle masks. Draw around plates or lids and carefully cut out. Keep both parts.

Prepare your canvas and cut card circle masks.
Step 1 Preparing your canvas and circles

Spray the background

Arrange your circular masks. Darken the background with Black Bister Spray. Vary the amount around the canvas. Leave this to dry naturally.

Spray the background with Bister spray in Black
Spray the background with Black Bister

Paint the planets

Swap the mask for the stencil on each planet and paint the circle with a layer of Ivory Powertex, not too thin. Do one at a time!

Swap to the stencil and apply a layer of Ivory Powertex
Swap to the stencil and apply a layer of Ivory Powertex

Spray the Bister

While the Powertex is still wet, leave the stencil in place and spray generously with Bister in your chosen colour. Notice I’ve protected the canvas.

Spraying Bister onto wet Powertex
Spray Bister onto wet Powertex

Create the Bister crackles

Heat the Bister with a hairdryer until cracks start to form in the surface. A heatgun or tool can be too hot for this. Repeat these steps for all your planets.

Using a hairdryer to create Bister crackles
Heat the Bister until crackles form

Starry night

Put half a teaspoon of Ivory Powertex on a plate and use a very wet paintbrush to splatter it across the surface for stars. I had a practice on paper first!

Use a wet paintbrush to spray on stars with Ivory Fabric Hardener
Adding stars with Ivory Powertex

Finishing touches

One of my planets had smeared a lot so I tidied it up with a bit of Blue Powertex and Black Bister when it was dry. I didn’t worry too much about the others and I thought they looked pretty good. I love the blue Powertex coming through the Black Bister too!

Powertex planets canvas by Kore Sage
Powertex planets canvas by Kore Sage

Top Tips for Powertex planets

Each planet will take a while to dry so be careful when masking the rest of your canvas. I used a piece of printer paper held near my planets while I sprayed them. Using more than one colour of Bister on a planet to give it a darker side helps them look dimensional. Try Easy Structure paste or 3d balls to add texture before you add Bister.

Thanks for reading my blog today. I hope you will have a go at painting your own Powertex planets! If you do, please share your art in the Powertex Facebook group as we love to see what you make.

If you like to see more of my Powertex art, you might like my under the sea mixed media project here on the magazine or you can follow me on Facebook or on my website where I love to share my Powertex tips and art.

Until next time, make time to let your art out!

Planet in the Night Sky

A fantasy planet

Designer – Jill Cullum

Planet in the night sky in Powertex by Jill Cullum
Powertex Planet in the Night Sky by Jill Cullum

For my planet in the night sky, inspiration came from warm summer nights, sat in the garden, looking out for shooting stars. I decided to try and replicate one of the planets. Hmmm, once started though, my imagination overtook and the finished article became much more magical.

Easy 3d flex makes beautiful cracks and texture. Experiment using different mediums to add colours. Here I have used layers of inks and acrylics, with a final layer of wax.

As you will see from the photographs, things changed along the way. This is what I love about mixed media. Some layers get covered, some peak through. It’s all part of the journey of creating what you love. Just go with it!

The Secret Art Loft acrylics and inks work wonderfully for layering up. Their translucent quality makes blending easy, and the metallic inks look like molten metal.

Top tip

I find it is really important with mixed media, to let each layer dry thoroughly before moving onto the next. Not an easy one for me, as I am an impatient crafter. However, your layers will become muddy if they aren’t dry.

Materials list

Creating a base

Creating a base for the planet with Powertex
Step 1 – creating a base

Pour Powertex liquid colour onto the canvas. Spray with Bister of a different colour then dry with a hairdryer, to create the crackle effect.

Add texture by creating a heavy crackle effect

Adding more texture to your planet base with Easy 3d Flex
Step 2 – adding texture

Mix Easy 3d flex with Ivory Powertex to create a clay. Layer over half of the canvas. Dry with hair-dryer spraying lightly with blue bister during the process.

Creating further texture

Use Powertex and fabric and clay to add texture layers to your planet
Step 3 – creating further texture

Using material, coated in Ivory Powertex and small ‘craters’ made from the 3d flex clay, build the layers of your planet.

Adding colour

Add green colours to the cracked areas of the planet
Step 4 – adding colour

Start by adding green ink to the deep cracked area and violet acrylic to the green side of the planet.

Building layers

add clay craters and shapes to the surface
Step 5 – building layers

Using greens, pinks and purples, layer the craters, blending as you go. Paint the material section with black acrylic, then add layers of metallic acrylic.

Powerwax

Use Powerwax mixed with powder pigment to layer on colour to your planet textures
Step 6 – Powerwax

On the side created by 3d flex, add a layer of Powerwax, mixed with pigment. Once dry, wipe with a damp sponge to add interest.

Finishing Touches

I decided my fantasy planet needed a touch more ‘bling’ so I added a few beads, blending in with the colours I had chosen along the way. The joys of creating a fantasy planet are that you can really be free with your choice of colours and the texture that you create. It’s nice not to be too rigid in your planning, as planets evolve, then so should a piece of art.

Planet in the night sky

Powertex planet in the night sky by Jill Cullum
Powertex planet in the night sky

I am looking forward to seeing lots of new planets, so feel free to share them in the Powertex Studio.

If you would like further planet inspiration take a look at this blog from Annette Smyth. Or why not join me for a workshop to create your own planet. Bye for now, Jill x

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 🙂