What’s your favorite way to read Cloth Paper Scissors? From front to back? Featured projects first? Straight to the table of contents? I ask because there’s a fun article in the September/October 2017 issue I don’t want you to miss, especially if you’re a skipper-arounder. In Collage (page 7), artist Cathy Nichols shows off a beautiful studio inspiration piece she recycled from an unwanted painting. Her work motivated me to make one of my own, and it’s the best addition to my own studio.
Cathy’s artwork was created on a large cradled wood panel with a crossbar in the back. When she turned it around, she discovered that “It suddenly looked like shelf space and a mood board for my favorite bits of inspiration.” In the photo, you’ll see that she uses it to display a number of things: her beautiful artwork, a bottle of ink, and some mementos. Cathy explains how she painted the panel, and I incorporated her instructions for my piece.
Here’s the one that Cathy created. She painted the inside with white gesso to give her artwork a clean backdrop:
I had a stretched canvas with a half-finished painting on it that I knew I wasn’t going back to, and decided to use that. It was smaller than the one Cathy used, but large enough to display small items. I started by placing scrap paper inside the canvas to keep it pristine, and painted the back and sides of the frame with two coats of black gesso. You can see that part of the frame is unfinished wood, and the other part is canvas, and the different surfaces intrigued me.
When the gesso was dry I started painting vines on the wood surface with a small round brush and acrylic paint. Truth be told, I had no grand plan in mind, and vines seemed like a good place to start. I mixed paint with glazing medium and spread it in spots on the wood with my finger, just so the black wouldn’t be so intense. If I didn’t like it, I could always paint over it, and that’s important to remember when you’re making a studio inspiration piece—if this holds your very favorite pieces, you should enjoy looking at it!
Small flowers were added to the vines, in a quasi-folk art style. Still just going with the flow. After painting leaves and flowers, I went back with darker and lighter hues, plus white, to add depth and shadows. This made the greenery start to come to life.
I modified the flowers as I went, making the red ones a big larger. I also painted a few green stripes on the border on the canvas part of the frame. It looked good, so I continued around the entire canvas.
When everything was dry, I brushed on two coats of gloss varnish to protect the painting and give it a bit of shine.
There still seemed to be something missing, so I created some tiny dots in a few areas with a fine-tip white paint pen. That satisfied my eye.
Here is the finished canvas:
And here it is on my shelf, filled with a couple of pieces of my artwork, a painted twig, and beautiful hand-painted stones by Regina Lord, whose doodled rocks appear in the Spring 2016 issue of Zen Doodle Workshop magazine (with full instructions, so check it out!).
The canvas backing makes it easy to pin things, and you can even add decorative stitching, or stitch pieces to the canvas. I love having this studio inspiration piece, and I encourage you to create one that will make you happy too. Try incorporating collage, assemblage, doodling, stamping, or stenciling whatever designs you like.
Don’t miss Cathy’s featured project in the issue that features her encaustic techniques! Here are a few more fun items to inspire you: