Thursday, April 26, 2012

Faux Stained Glass

I found an old thrift store glass frame in the garage and tried my hand at creating faux stained glass. I used some glass stains and copper puff paint I had around the house. I then hot-glued the glass into the frame. It was really easy to do, and only took about 2 hours for this piece. I think I'll start making some more of these with more attention to the design. These irises were freehand and inspired from my mom's garden.

I used a sponge-like application with the paint to create the texture in the large clearer sections of glass. It's not clear, but rather a combination of yellows, pinks and oranges, but the paint is very translucent.

The "leading" is simply puff paint. I used copper because that's all I had on hand.
 I'll try this again using black so it looks more authentic. I didn't spend a dime on creating piece so I'm pretty pleased with the results. Now I just need to find more cheap picture frames. 

I like how even though this is a faux piece, the reflection of the colors against the window sill looks like authentic stained glass. The pictures sadly don't show the beautiful luminosity of the painted glass. In person, the sunlight looks so beautiful shinning through the colored layers. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

How to Paint a Hummingbird in 12 steps

I love painting on platters. They allow me to create detailed paintings on something that can be used for everyday celebrations. When painting on canvases, I like big landscapes with lots of texture and color and thick layers of paint. But then when painting on ceramics, often less is more. A simple flower or a delicate bird is a beautiful statement against the white of a plate or platter.

A few weeks ago I wrote about teaching a class in Haiti. I have received word that their work is selling well! This of course makes me feel wonderful, and as promised I'm now going to share an easy step-by-step photo tutorial of how you can make your own hummingbird platter at home. And if you don't like how yours turns out (although I'm sure it's lovely, you're just a tough critic on yourself) you can always reserve one of mine here: Hummingbird Platter.

You don't have to paint on ceramics. You can paint this pretty bird on water color paper, on a canvas, glass, wood, cloth, whatever you fancy. This is simply to demonstrate how easy layering colors and texture can be and when you do it step by step, even if you aren't an experienced painter, you can create a beautiful work of art, in just 12 easy steps.

The only thing that you need to make sure you use is paint that is not too opaque. You will need to layer your colors over one another so stick to paints that are thin and have a translucent quality to them. Water colors would work very well. If you are attempting this on ceramics, then I recommend purchasing ceramic paints from your local craft store.

Okay, enough talk. Let's paint!

Step 1: Outline your bird with a bright green. You can cut out a paper outline of a bird you like the shape of and simply trace it onto your surface with a tiny paint-brush. 

Step 2: Fill in the lower part of the bird with a medium to dark blue

Step 3: Add in the branch with a medium brown. You can create as many branches as you'd like.

Step 4: Paint over the entire green and blue parts with a thin layer of translucent bright yellow. It's hard to tell that I did anything in the photo, but this step helps to create depth and a sort of "glowing" effect so the feathers of the bird look like they are reflecting sunlight.

Step 5: Fill in the tail with a garnet red or warm purple. Start defining some of the tail feathers that overlap the green and blue. 

Step 6: Out line the branch with a very dark brown and create irregular lines to mimic bark. Also use the same dark blue as before and create tiny half-moons or little smiles all over the green and blue. This is where you start defining the little tiny feathers that cover the hummingbird. Also with the blue, fill in the beak of the bird as well as outline the eye. You create the eye by painting a circle within on oval.  (Yes, I'm cheating here and it's technically more than one step) 

Step 7: Use a black to create line lines that define the tail feathers. Also, with the black fill in the circle of the eye (not the oval, leave some green visible). Also fill in the beak. Make sure the end of the beak stays thin and long. We don't want any chubby beaks. 

Step 8: Just like the smiles you did in blue before, repeat them in white, all over. The tinier the better. You can also more clearly define the overlapping green feathers over the red tail feathers. Also use the white to accent the eye and beak.

Step 9: Fill in the red tail feathers completely with a thin layer of darker purple or red. We want the color to be rich and full so you can't see any brushstrokes. Don't be afraid to paint directly over the black lines.

Step 10: Remember all those tiny white "smiles" you painted in step 8?  Cover them up with a translucent bright green. That's right, just paint over all the white. What this does is creates subtle layering and contrast. 

Step 11: Repeat with the same white "smiles" again over the green and blue. This may seem redundant, but it's these extra tiny steps of detail that make the difference between a simple hummingbird, and a stunning hummingbird with lots of details and visual texture. 

 Step 12: Just like before, paint over all the tiny white smiles. This time use the bright yellow. Now you have tiny feathers in shades of blue, green and yellow that create that stunning iridescent glow of the hummingbird. And you're done!