From Golden Brand Pearl Mica Flake

Inspiration: creatures & products

Where does inspiration come from? It depends. Capturing inspiration is like chasing lightening. Catch it if you can. Use it because you must.

Creatures inspire

Sometimes I’m inspired by creatures — or the idea of new creatures.

Sometimes, as with these two small cats, I get excited about a family of creatures that has lined up in my studio waiting for paint. These are part of the Small Clowder of Cats. “Clowder” is the collective noun for cats and I have made 14 of them. The tiny original paintings are matted and ready to frame at 5×7 inches. $15 plus $5 postage. Subject to availability.

 

Shiny Gold Kitty
Shiny Gold Kitty

 

You're kidding. You want me to put down the yarn. Really?
You’re kidding. You want me to put down the yarn. Really?

 

Some of the Small Clowder
Some of the Small Clowder in Progress

Products inspire and energize

Sometimes I’m inspired by products. The Golden brand of acrylic mediums provides me with daily inspiration.

How can I combine the gel mediums and the acrylic mediums with acrylic paint or watercolors to create new textures and colors? Are there tools that I can use to create new textures? Can I use these products as glue? Or for collage? This presents a daily delightful challenge. Note that this orderly tower presents an unrealistic notion of the tidiness of my studio.

Golden Brand Product Tower
Golden Brand Product Tower

Two Fish: learn from mistakes

Two Shiny Fish
Two Shiny Fish

 

How was it made?

I made this image my Facebook profile picture, and (thank you) got lots of “likes” and some queries about how it was made.

STEP 1. I started with one of the 8″ rounds from the pile that has aged like fine wine under my staircase for 17 years. I used gesso to attach a piece of round watercolor paper, penciled in the tiny box design, painted it with my double zero brush.

STEP 2: I then covered it with an acrylic medium to make it shiny.

Gasp. Screams. Pain.

It dried and I learned a very hard lesson. Just plain watercolor will melt and blur if you fail to apply a protective coating before splodging on layers of acrylic medium.

Starting over.

STEP 1. I did it again. I gesso’d another piece of paper onto the round and made the painting again. When it was finished, I applied layer after layer of fancy French fixative before laying on the acrylic medium to make it shiny. I was going for REALLY shiny.

STEP 2.  After carefully layering the acrylic medium, I kept my own fingers and Max The Cat’s paws away from the piece while it dried.

STEP 3.  Not enough fixative. No “gasp-screams-pain,” just a grim determination to make something of this exercise.

STEP 4:  Calling on my heretofore unknown Inner-Princess, I turned to glitter — specifically Golden Brand Pearl Mica Flake — which covered the blurred spots.

STEP 5:  Glitter wasn’t enough. I consulted with one of my favorite characters from The Small Friends’ Chronicles, Harry Herringbone Fish, to finish the piece. Glad to do something useful in addition to appearing in prints and cards, and co-starring in the book with other fish based on Uncle Leon’s Pewter ashtray, he was eager to make this piece work.

 

Harry Herringbone Fish
Harry Herringbone Fish

Harry and I tried out three versions, and settled on two fish. I applied the fish with very permanent glue and, finally, covered the piece with the shiny clear acrylic that had been the goal in the first place.  There is just one of these, and it is $60 plus shipping directly from me (susangainen@comcast.net), payable through PayPal.