This finished piece of artwork will soon be available for purchase in the ArtNewWave Shop.
Often times I find that my mixed media fusion projects sometimes take time to develop. In this case, Accolades took almost two months to complete. Part of this was allowing the creative process to take it’s course, working on the piece for a few hours and then leaving the piece to rest and returning to it a day or two later and seeing what direction to go. Through in some patience for allowing the wax to set, the resin to cure completely, and a few major Holidays and a trade show – in the end, it was all worth the wait!
Many times when I start working on a piece, I have a pretty good idea of what I want the final piece to look like. But that was not the case with Accolades, which includes not even having a name for this piece until the very end. FYI the name Accolades comes from the name of the line of paper that I used for the background designed and produced by Authentique Paper. I wanted to take a different route with this project and try to keep things as monotone as possible to reflect the natural and black colors found in the printed background.
After cutting down the wood panel to serve as my canvas, I laid out a few of the found objects and other ephemera that I knew I wanted to incorporate into this piece – this allowed me to determine the simple color palette that I was going to use for this piece.
The first step of the process was to adhere the main background printed paper onto the surface of the wood panel. Once this was set, I began to create the charcoal texture on the bottom half of the piece and along the sides. I didn’t want the texture to overpower the entire piece but instead harmonize with the printed background. To give the charcoal texture a little bit of contrast, I lightly highlighted the texture with a light metallic silver finish.
When I looked at the charcoal texture the next day, I decided that there was more contrast between it and the printed background – and decided to do a little encaustic work to create some texture over the print to give more of a cohesiveness between the backgrounds. I also felt that adding the wax over the print would also give a more antiqued look with adding some additional color between the wax layers.
After allowing the background to completely set, it was now time to begin adding some of the layering elements. For two of the elements (left and right), I upcycled some cardboard from a discarded shipping box and first adhered more of the Accolades line of paper onto the cardboard. I did the same for the middle element, which is an upcycled piece of acrylic that I found at one of my favorite reuse stores Tinkertopia.
Because I wanted these layering pieces to “blend” with the main background of the piece, I decided to add texture over the layering elements by first adding a couple of layers of wax followed by a few layers of resin. This helped add some texture while at the same time making these layering elements stand out just enough from the main background. Once the resin had fully cured, the charcoal texture and highlights were added around the sides of the layering elements before being adhered to the piece.
Short Video Clips of Adding the Embellishments
Perhaps the most challenging (and fun!) part of creating any mixed media fusion piece of artwork is incorporating the perfect embellishments to the piece! Although I’ve incorporated a variety of found objects into this piece, I wanted to highlight just a few of them with the short videos above that I featured as Instagram posts when first building this piece.
LEFT Video showcases the addition of the photo transfer onto the spring mechanism found on the antique toy railroad track. Learn how I created the photo transfer onto metal here. After completing the transfer process, I added a layer of crackle paste over the top to add a bit of texture and allowed this to set and then added some mica powder into the cracks created, followed by a quick layer of resin to finish the embellishment.
MIDDLE Video I’d found this antique barn star (from the 1920’s) in a salvage yard a few months ago while on a road trip and I’d been waiting for the right project to come along to use it! The naturally rusted star has an antique gear from a German clock mechanism layered, with a brass Victorian finding (from a coffin!) adhered on top.
RIGHT Video You’ll have to watch this video a little closely to find the “hidden” element in this piece. The main embellishment is a vintage door plate I found at a salvage yard, with the beginning of the video showing the placement of the mercury tube into the door plate where the “knob” should go. When I pan out and start showing the rest of the piece, look for the hidden face in the keyhole!
The layering elements added to the left features one of the first soldering pieces that I created when attending my first metalsmith class years ago. I’ve had it hanging on my wall since that time and decided that since the colors went so well with the layered barn yard star that I would incorporate it into this piece. As mentioned earlier, I placed a piece of vintage toy train track parallel to the bottom of the piece, which is held into place by nickel nails.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about the process of constructing Accolades. To see what works are in the process in (almost) real time, be sure to follow me on Instagram or sign up for my newsletter – simply use the links ⬇️ at the bottom of the page.