On Thursday 6th and Friday 7th July 2017 I took part in the artist demonstrations at Holmfirth Artweek, which you can read more about here. I made four small 3D acrylic paintings while I was there, doing the cardboard and modroc stages on the first day then leaving them to dry and painting them on the second day.
This is one of the four that I made. ‘Sleeping Dexter’ working from a photograph of my cat Dexter that I had on my phone. I started by drawing directly on the cardboard, then cutting it out and overlapping the seperate pieces to make certain places stick out more than others. After the cardboard was stuck down with glue I then put the modroc on top.
The next day once the modroc was dry I started by painting white all over the cat shape, then the background a nice light purple. I then painted the rest of the details in. All the while talking to the people that came to see what I was doing.
The final 3D acrylic painting now has pride of place on my hallway wall along with the rest of my collection.
I’ll be showing the making of the other three paintings I made at Holmfirth Artweek soon, so keep a look out for them.
Don’t forget that if you would like to make your own 3D picture I have kits and do workshops.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Starting at 10am on Sunday 2nd July and finishing at 5pm on Saturday the 8th of July in Holmfirth Civic Hall, the main exhibition, Holmfirth Artweek is one of the UK’s largest open art exhibitions. This year was my third year taking part, you can read about the preparation for it and my first and second years there in previous blog posts here, here and here.
This year I had two of my 3D acrylic paintings in the main exhibition and it was the first year that I put some of my cards and framed prints in the market too.
On the Thursday and Friday, 6th and 7th July 2017, I took part in the artist demonstrations. I’d done these in previous years too, the first year was just an afternoon and last year was for one day, so I had some idea of what to expect and was looking forward to them. I was looking forward to seeing the other artists demonstrations as much as I was looking forward to doing my own.
I’d decided that on the first day I would do the cardboard and modroc stages then leave them to dry overnight and paint them on the second day.
I’ll show more in depth work in progress shots of each of them and explain more about them too in seperate blog posts. This is just a brief overview so you can get an idea of what I got up to.
On the second day I had to have a bit of a shuffle about to make room for the artist who was going next to me.
I was also able to have some of my cards and framed prints on another table in the demo area too, just across from where I was so I could keep an eye on it.
Both the days passed really quickly and it wasn’t long until I was back on Saturday afternoon to collect anything that hadn’t sold. Sadly that was everything, but I’d still enjoyed it and have already been told that I can demo there on the Friday and Saturday next year so I’ll see you there!
Holmfirth Artweek is run by volunteers so I’d like to say a big thank you to them all for all their hard work in making it run as smoothly as it did.
On Thursday, 8th June 2017, I managed to get a cancellation booking to do a screen printing workshop with Laura Slater at The Art House in Wakefield. A few days beforehand, I got the cancellation booking on the Monday morning, I received an email explaining that I needed to have my image ready to print. This meant having the master image and then separating it into the different colour layers that were to be printed.
At first I was going to do my screen print of my cute cartoon cat characters so then I could experiment with different colour combinations, but while I was sketching them out my little doggy Jeffrey kept looking at me as if to say “why are you doing cats when you could be doing a picture of me?” So I did a few sketches of him then painted my final master design and made the separate colour layers ready for Thursday morning.
The first thing we did on the Thursday morning was prepare our screens by applying a light-sensitive emulsion to the surface then leaving it to dry. While it was drying we photocopied each separate layer of our design onto acetate, doubling each layer up to make them even more opaque to stop the light getting through.
Once the emulsion was dry and the acetates ready we could then use the exposing machine to transfer the designs onto the screens. We did this by putting the acetate, with the design the correct way round, on the glass top of the machine. The screen was then placed emulsion side down on top of the acetate and the rubber lid lowered over them.
Next the vacuum was turned on so the rubber lid formed a tight seal over the screens, stopping any movement that could happen during exposure, then the shutters on the exposure unit were opened so the light could get to the coated screens. These were left open on a preset timer so that they were exposed to the light for the correct amount of time.
After the screens had been exposed we then needed to wash away the areas that had been shielded from the light by the design. This is how the photo process works, the light- sensitive emulsion gets baked onto the screen when it’s exposed to the light. Any areas that weren’t exposed to the light due to the design blocking it out doesn’t get baked. These areas can then be washed off to let the ink through when printing. That’s why it works better to do your design in black to make it as opaque as possible to stop the light getting through.
While the screens were drying, after having the unbaked emulsion washed off, the next job was to mix the inks ready for printing with. I needed a background colour, obviously I went for purple which I made light to contrast with the darkness of the black and grey, then I needed a black and a grey for the body. In my original design I had a black body with grey highlights for the ears and nose. Sadly I had to change this slightly and swap them round as the grey wouldn’t have shown up printed on top of the black, but apart from the eyes I don’t think that it negatively affected it too much.
Once the screens were dry and the ink mixed then we were ready to start printing. As the layers needed to print on top of each other I started by printing my background. I was doing edition printing, this meant that I’d been printing the same thing over and over again so I’d have a set of prints that were all the same. The joy of hand printing means that each one would still be slightly different though.
After the background was printed they were left to dry and I cleaned the ink off the screen. I could then set up ready for the next layer of printing. This meant securing the screen in the hinges that held it in place on the printing board, then lining up the background image to the screen so that it would print in the right place. Using masking tape on the corners of the paper to help register the next one in the same place.
You may remember from the blog post that I wrote a few months ago about my older work, read it here, that when I was studying A level printmaking I always felt that my registration let me down. So it was nice when Laura told me that it’s those things that make hand printing different to being perfectly printed by a machine. The so called mistakes or errors make each one unique even when it’s part of an edition. This made me feel a lot better and more positive towards that older work.
For the last layer of printing I again had to line up the paper with the new screen, using masking tape to help register the rest to the same spot. Also using the acetate print outs to help with this step too. Then it was time to leave them to dry and wash up the screens etc.
I really enjoyed the workshop, it was nice to go back to screen printing after the 15 or so years since I did it at college.
A couple of years ago, when I was in the Artworld 2 Gallery in Wakefield, I got a commission to make 2 small 3D acrylic paintings of doggies called Douglas and Oxo. The lady who commissioned them chose the background colours she wanted plus as an extra request she wanted the names painted on the canvas too.
I took these pictures as I was making them to show the process of how they were progressing. I started by drawing each one on cardboard, working from the photos she had sent to my phone. I then cut out the cardboard and sculpted it into layers to make the drawings 3D. Next I put modroc on to add texture and provide a solid base so then I could paint them with acrylic paints.
When she came to collect them from me at the gallery she was delighted with them. If you would like me to make a 3D acrylic painting of your dog or anything else then email email@example.com
Drawing stage of the Oxo dog portrait
Drawing stage of the Douglas dog portrait
Cardboard sculpting stage of the Oxo dog portrait
Cardboard sculpting stage of the Douglas dog portrait
Modroc on the Oxo dog portrait
Modroc on the Douglas dog portrait
Starting to paint the base colour on the Oxo dog portrait
Starting to paint the base colour on the Douglas dog portrait
More details painted on the Oxo dog portrait
More details painted on the Douglas dog portrait
Background painted on the Oxo doggy portrait
Background painted on the Douglas doggy portrait
Finally the name painted on the Oxo dog portrait
Finally the name painted on the Douglas dog portrait
Here’s how I made the “Jez” and “Ginge” kitty cats 3D Acrylic Paintings. They are what I made as part of my demonstration at Holmfirth Art Week this year (which you can read more about here.)
The inspiration for them was the cute cats in the app game Neko Atsume (Cat Collector). I really liked how their simple design still looked cute. It reminded me of some of my earlier work where I gave the cats and dogs big cartoon eyes and I decideed that it was something that I wanted to return to.
Originally I was going to do a few in different poses, I am still going to do some more, but for the purpose of the demonstration I felt that I could show the process more effectively by having them in the same pose but with more subtle differences in size, texture and colour.
Last year when I did the demonstration at Holmfirth Art Week I showed the first few stages up to putting the modroc on but I didn’t do any painting, so this year I wanted to prepare some that were already at the painting stage so I would be able to demonstrate that part too.
My plan was to have one at each stage so that when people visited at different times of the day they would still be able to see the full process.
I started by drawing the basic outline of a cute cat on cardboard and cut it out, I then used this as a template to make the rest by drawing round it onto more pices of cardboard.
When it came to cutting these new cats out I’d change the shape slightly so each one would be slightly different then made them 3D in the same way by using more cardboard.
When I put the modroc on I gave each one a different texture using techniques such as scrunching, scoring and smoothing so that I could show what the modroc could do. I then left these to dry and sanded them before taking them to the demonstration.
If you would like to make one for yourself you can do so in a workshop with me at my studio in Pontefract, WF8 1PE (above Wetherspoons)
You can buy a kit from me directly, The Picture Box Gallery in Wakefield or from my shops on etsy and folksy.
Now I’ve properly moved into my new studio in Pontefract, and had my open evening to give people the chance to visit/see my tactile, sculptural and unique 3D Acrylic Paintings, it’s time to get to work making more to show you.
Since part of the reason for needing the studio space was to give myself some room to work away from my ever so cute but not so helpful cats it made sense to me that the first pieces I made there was of them.
Here’s how I made them from cardboard and modroc….
“Dexter” 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
“Damien” 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
Start of the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting, drawing on cardboard
Cardboard stage of the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting
Close up of the cardboard stage of the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting to show the layers
I started drawing Dexter on the cardboard but decided that I wanted him to be further across. The good thing about doing it on cardboard is that rather than having to rub it all out and drawing it again to move it across I could just cut the cardboard and move it to the other side to extend it across to where I wanted it.
Cardboard stage of the Dexter 3D Acrylic Painting, the join in the cardboard where I extended it will be covered up by the modroc
Close up of the layers of cardboard
Both of the 3D Acrylic Paintings at the cardboard stage in my studio in Pontefract
Modroc on the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting, once it’s dry it can be painted
Putting the modroc on the Dexter 3D Acrylic Painting
Base coat painted on the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting
Base coat painted on the Dexter 3D Acrylic Painting
Painting more details on the Dexter 3D Acrylic Painting
Final details getting painted on the Dexter 3D Acrylic Painting. It took me a couple of goes to get the eyes right. I wasn’t quite happy with them at first so I had another go at it. Just needs a background painting on next.
Starting to paint more details on the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting
Lots more details painted on the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting, it took quite a while to get to this point from the last one. The markings were tricky to get right but I finally managed to get them so I was happy with how they were looking.
As the paintings are for me you shouldn’t be surprised by the colour I chose to do the background 🙂
Background painted on the Damien 3D Acrylic Painting and that’s it finished, just needs to dry and get varnished.
“Dexter” 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
“Dexter” 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye close up view
“Damien” 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye
“Damien” 3D Acrylic Painting by Purple Faye close up view
In case you were wondering why there’s only 2 paintings when I have 3 cats Naughty Norman fluffycat had his picture done while I was still in the pop up shop in Castleford a year or so ago. I’ve been meaning to get round to making Dexter and Damien theirs and now seemed like the perfect opportunity.
If you’d like a 3D Acrylic Painting making of your cat let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org
This was my first year submitting to be part of Holmfirth Art Week, I’d been encouraged to give it a try while I was at the Artworld 2 Gallery in Wakefield (which unfortunately closed down at Christmas) and I was pleasantly surprised to be successful and asked to exhibit two of my 3D Acrylic Paintings.
I was finding it difficult to choose which two I’d take but thanks to my newsletter subscribers and social media followers/likers “Lancaster Bomber” and “Mummy and Baby African Elephants”‘ were picked.
Then as an additional bonus a few weeks before it was due to take place I was given the opportunity to go along on one of the days with more of my work to do a demonstration showing how I make my 3D Acrylic Paintings. These would also be available for sale so I wanted to make the most of this additional opportunity but I didn’t know how much room I was going to have to display them.
Fortunately when I was there for taking in day, which was the week before the Art Week started, I was able to see where the demonstrating area was going to be and the size of the board I’d be given to use. So that made it easier for me to try to figure out what to take.
I wanted to take a range of different sizes/prices and subject matter to give people an overview of what I can do and hopefully entice them to find out more. I planned on using the larger ones on the board and the smaller ones on the table near to where I’d be demonstrating how to make them. I’d also take along some of the “Make Your Own” starter kits that I’ve been developing for those that are inspired to try it for themselves.
Whenever I’ve done arts and crafts fairs in the past I’ve always struggled with wanting to take everything I’ve got so there’s more chance of someone seeing one that they like enough to buy. Obviously this isn’t very practical or realistic to do but I still can’t help worrying that I’ve picked the wrong ones to take and that if I’d only taken such and such instead they would have sold. This feeling is especially heightened when I’ve not been selling anything. So I was actually quite impressed with myself for only taking a relatively small amount (for me).
Along with the finished 3D Acrylic Paintings I wanted to take some that were at different stages of the process so I could show people more easily how they were made. I took some small ones, of a car, boat and plane, that I’d made a while ago for the same purpose of showing people the process when I was at the pop up shop/gallery/studio in Castleford. But I also wanted to take some larger ones to put on the board for people to see from more of a distance too. I decided that I’d make a baby elephant and leave it at the modroc stage so then I could show how the texture is added by the modroc and that I’d make a Spitfire and leave it at the cardboard stage to show how the different layers go together to make it 3D. (You can see them in the picture above).
I picked a baby elephant and a Spitfire because of having “Lancaster Bomber” and “Mummy and Baby African Elephants” in the exhibition. I thought it might help explain the process better if they’d seen the finished work along with work in progress of similar ones of the same subject matters (it made sense in my head anyway even if I’m not explaining it very well here)
For the demonstration itself I decided that I’d just make a little one from scratch so then it wouldn’t take so long with waiting for things to dry. I picked a highland cow because they’re good for showing how to get texture with the modroc and they’re not too fiddly either.
I had planned on completing it but in the end I only got to the modroc stage. It wasn’t quite how I thought it was going to be in terms of it being a demonstration so there weren’t many people who stuck around to watch what I was doing for long. This meant that I ended up waiting for some people to come before doing a bit to show them, then when they went I stopped and waited for more people to come before doing a bit more. So I didnt get to the painting bit.
Even though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be I’m still glad that I did it and was even talking to the organiser about doing it again next year (so fingers crossed for that).
Unfortunatley I didn’t sell anything while I was there doing the demonstration and when I went on collection day I’d not sold either of the paintings in the exhibition either. I can’t help being disappointed about it but I’m going to keep trying though.
Any comments or questions are more than welcome so feel free to tell me in whatever way is best for you, email email@example.com or comment on here or message me on social media, whatever works for you 🙂