Venetian Carnival Canvas

The Secret Art Box – July 2019

Designer: Gill Goldsmith

This month’s Powertex Secret Art Box was full of wonderful Venetian Carnival themes and there was so much to play with. From the gorgeous lace and MDF masks to the Venice themed rice paper and the Fleur de Lys mould from ArtyCo. I couldn’t wait to get creating my Venetian carnival canvas.

Powertex UK Secret Art Box July 2019
Powertex UK Secret Art Box July 2019

I’ve been to Venice twice and think it is a beautiful city, so wanted to recreate the beauty and also the aged feel of the buildings with my piece. An 8 inch box canvas was the perfect size to create my mini work of art.

Additional materials used:

  • 8 inch box canvas
  • Powertex Easy Coat Mat
  • Blue and Brown Bister sprays
  • Powertex pigments in Violet Valentine, Clear gold and Silver

How to create your Venetian Carnival Canvas

Step 1

I painted the canvas with Easy Coat Mat and stuck the paper in position making sure I painted more over the image to help it adhere and protect the surface.

Applying Powertex rice paper

Top tip

A great tip is to wet around the edge of the image you want on the paper with a wet paintbrush. The paper will tear easily and give a textured edge.

Step 2

Next I created more texture on the canvas by mixing the Easy 3D flex, included in this month’s box, with the white Powertex, also in this month’s box.
Mix it until the clay spreads easily. Apply with a palette knife to the top and bottom corners to give the Italian stucco plaster effect.

Easy 3d Flex texture on canvas

Step 3

You could allow this to dry naturally but I sped up the process with a hairdryer. This gives a lovely bubbly texture.

Step 4

Using the white Powertex I painted the large mask. Dip the lace pieces in Powertex, making sure they are covered but not saturated.

Step 5

I worked on the large MDF mask using the various lace pieces included in the kit, and the MDF flourish and moulded flourish. Use White Powertex to stick it to the canvas.

White Powertex venetian carnival mask on canvas

Step 6

I created an air dry clay fleur de lys from the Artyco mould and added to the canvas.

Step 7

I removed the Venice wording from the MDF carrier sheet and used the negative image on the canvas.

Ensuring it was coated in the Powertex and then adding embellishments from my own stash of paper flowers, corners and charms.

White Powertex venetian carnival mask on canvas

Step 8

When completely dry, I sprayed it liberally with blue and brown bister. Don’t panic if you feel you’ve sprayed too much bister, you can wipe it back so it’s not so dark.

Adding Bister colour to Powertex mask

Allow this to dry thoroughly, before you highlight the piece with dry brushing.

Step 9

Finally once this was dry I could use my Pearl Red Pigment, Turquoise pigment and the Plum Pudding Acrylic Paint and varnish included in the kit.

This is where the piece comes to life, as you dry brush each area of detail and see all the texture emerge.

I also used violet valentine pearl pigment, clear gold and silver pigments from my stash.

Tutor Tip

Use a tiny amount of varnish, about the size of a 5p, and dip your brush into the varnish then lightly into your pigment. Work this on your brush and then take the excess of colour off on a cloth or kitchen paper before lightly stroking the brush across your work. The art of dry brushing is a dry brush, light strokes and build up the colour.

Powertex Venetian carnival canvas by gill goldsmith

I hope you enjoyed this project and that you will give it a go yourself. Please share your makes in The Powertex Studio and The Secret Art Box groups as we love to see what you create.

My last Secret Art Box project was an underwater theme in May. I’m a Powertex tutor in Kent, UK and you can find out more about me and my workshops at The Powertex Port.

Until next month, Happy Powertexing,
Lots of love
Gill xxx

Stormy Sea Tag with Powertex

Designed by – Donna Mcghie

Powertex stormy sea tag scene using mdf tags by Donna Mcghie
Seascape tag

Tags are really popular in the crafting world at the moment. For my stormy sea tag, I’m using the A5 tag from Powertex UK. They are great quality to work with, whatever your style of crafting.

Don’t you just love the fact that we all have our own individual style?  Obviously style evolves as we experiment and learn new techniques.  My own style I would describe as rather haphazard.  I’ve never been one for over thinking a project. 

Once many years ago an art tutor declared my work to be very ‘organic’. Initially I wasn’t quite sure how to take this, but I think I know what she was getting at. As an artist I like to allow my paint, Powertex, or whatever medium I’m using to have a life of it’s own.  You could say I’m a ‘go with the flow’ kind of a girl.

Go With The Flow

What do I mean by ‘go with the flow?’ Well, according to the artist Jenny Holzer “Going with the flow is soothing but risky.” I find it soothing to allow Powertex to take on a life of it’s own. I also love the sense of risk, the excitement of never quite knowing what I will end up with.

That could be why I love stormy seascapes. How wonderful that everyone’s storm will end up slightly different.

Materials list:

1: Prepare with White Powertex

Prepare mdf with white powertex
A5 tag and lighthouse mdf

Sponge Powertex White over MDF pieces and set aside to dry.

2: Blue Bister

Powertex mdf tab with blue bister and white fabric hardener for sky
Powertex Blue Bister makes a perfect blustery sky

Spray Powertex Ready Mixed Blue Bister on the top third of the tag. Use a damp sponge wipe away spaces for the clouds.

3: Adding fabric strips

Powertex mdf lighthouse template
I set this aside to dry for a while

Soak denim strips in transparent hardener to for sections of the lighthouse and paint the top.  A blast of ready mixed black bister gives a rugged effect.

4: Pouring Powertex

powertex mdf tag with bisters and fabric hardeners for stormy waves
This was my favourite part, where I got to ‘go with the flow’

Fun Time! Pour blue fabric hardener with smidgeon of white for the wave. Whilst still wet spray with green bister and blast with dryer for movement and crackles.

5: Place the lighthouse

powertex stormy seascape tag with lighthouse
It’s starting to come together

Place the lighthouse into position. Almost there now, just a couple of final touches and your picture will be complete.

6: Adding texture

powertex texture on mdf tag
Time for some texture

Steel grey pigment with some easy structure paste create a rock for the lighthouse to stand on, and 3D Sand with Yellow Ochre Powertex form a shoreline. If you wish to add a few more wild white touches with a pallet knife, go for it.

Finished Piece

Although this is only A5 in size, I think it packs a punch.  As I stated above, this was very much a ‘go with the flow’ project. 

Of course does help to have a rough idea of composition to keep the image interesting. Being a fan of the so called rule of thirds so, I placed my focal point (the lighthouse) to the left of the scene.

I also roughly directed the white foam on the wave to guide the eye up towards my focal point.

Powertex tag by Donna Mcghie
Stormy sea tag
The finished stormy sea tag

Please do post photos of your own stormy sea tags over on the Powertex Facebook Page, we love seeing what you create. Also feel free to leave any comments on here.

You can get tips on using Stone Art clay on a canvas seascape in last month’s blog.

I’m the Powertex tutor for Southampton, so if you are interested in a workshop please pop over to my website where details can be found on the blog section. More info on Jenny Holzer can be found here.

That’s all from me for now folks. Keep on going with the flow and see you next month.

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

Sweet dreams upon a Powertex night sky

By Shell North

I love the simplicity of using something like string or twine and knots to create something magical and unique. Wanting to step away from the full circle dream catcher I drafted a moon with star idea for sweet dreams.

I wanted to use techniques to create vegan feathers with twine. A lot of my past customers have been vegan and dislike the use of animal products so creating an ethical dream catcher was up there on my to do list. Created with a ‘boho’ style making from twine, a recycled lampshade ring, recycled jewellery (charity shop) and Ivory Powertex to make weatherproof for outdoor use.

Powertex sweet dreams dream catcher by Shell North
Dream Catcher by Shell North

What are dream catchers exactly?

Sometimes referred to as “Sacred Hoops”, Ojibwe dream catchers were traditionally used as talismans to protect sleeping people, usually children, from bad dreams and nightmares. Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad.

When hung above the bed in a place where the morning sunlight can hit it, the dream catcher attracts and catches all sorts of dreams and thoughts into its webs. Good dreams pass through and gently slide down the feathers to comfort the sleeper below. Bad dreams, however, are caught up in its protective net and destroyed, burned up in the light of day.

Sweet dreams

Make as a soothing tool for kids! I made dream catchers for my children when they were young. Explaining how these would help ease their nightmares, quite handy indeed.

Call it a placebo effect for non-believers but my children believed what I said and they worked at soothing their nightmares, happy days!

Note – Use real feathers with children however as the twine ones will be slightly shape and pointy when hardened.

Putting it all together

Twine dream catcher for sweet dreams by Shell North
Pre Powertexed dream catcher by Shell North

I made the twine feathers first, using a knotting technique  around a length of twine, next I wrapped the lampshade hoop with twine. Using the standard catcher webbing but didn’t go all the way around so I could create the moon shape. I added a hanging beach wood cut star and then covered everything in Ivory Powertex hardener.

Finally once dry I finished by attaching the junk jewellery and beads I have collected from car boot sales, donations or charity shops. I don’t think I’m going to colour this, I like the simplicity of it. I enjoyed this so much I think I’m going to re-purpose some more broken lamp shades though and create different colours!

Sweet dreams dream catcher with Ivory Powertex by Shell North

Inspired?

Why not try create one of your own sweet dreams and share on our Powertex studio group page on Facebook? We always love to see what you create that’s inspired by our blogs. Also don’t forget to comment below. What would you have done differently? Does this inspire you to create your own? Share your inspired dream catcher in the Facebook group.

Did you like my charity shop upcycles here? Catch my February blog where I used a lot of recycled items along with the Secret Art Box subscription box.

The subscription boxes are exciting boxes of exclusive Powertex goodies that are delivered to your door each month! Don’t miss out on the fun, get yours today HERE .

Well that’s all from me this month,

Peace, love and sweet dreams,

Shell x