Saturday, 23 November 2013

Old love never rusts





My first love was painting (and then drawing when I got old enough to really master a pencil or charcoal).

My second love was writing, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

My third love was jewellery making and beading.

And inbetween all that there was hand embroidery, starting a little before writing and ending before my second love petered out, mostly due to school work.

Now I've slightly returned to my first love and, just as with embroidery which I rekindled my passion for a couple of years ago, I'm combining it with my third love, the big crush and long-term marriage that is the amazing world of beads and jewellery. In fact, while patinas and inks on metal was the first step towards returning to the old love, it was my desire to alter surfaces to bead on that really got me back into paints and made me order both Pébéo Fantasy and a set of Lumiere paints.

But it feels a bit like trying to re-learn things I've forgotten and once again getting used to working with paints. The big difference between beads and threads on one hand and paints on the other is that with the first you work with set colours that can't change hue in any other way than by mixing in another colour next to the first one. With paint you can actually mix colours to make new shades and make one colour seep into the other in a whole different way. I've kind of forgot how fun that is to work with, having gotten used to working with a fixed set of colours.

However, paint isn't just paint. There's a big difference between how different types of paint behaves and what kind of techniques you use with it. I held on to watercolours the longest and so I'm the most used to them. One thing to remember about watercolours: you can't paint anything white (only leave a spot or area free from paint from start). Something that's not really a problem with other paints. Then there's oil, which I also used as a kid, which needs to dry out for ages, but feels very fancy to work with (plus, it's only pigment and linseed oil in its purest form which I like).

But with jewellery and beads, alcohol inks and acrylics have been the most common. Inks are usually just used as dyes and easy to learn to use -- though I've managed to screw up a couple of items: one by spilling alcohol (t-sprit) near it and the second on by using the wrong type of sealant. Acrylics is the most common in many crafts for a reason. Big minus for being oil-based, but big plus for being easy to use, works on a lot of materials and sold in a range of colours and effects. So common to use that I by mistake used the same techniques when I got my Fantasy paints, e.g. marbling, which was really not a good thing to do! That was a disaster that taught me you need to really get to know the type of paint you use, read the instructions and learn about how the paint works.

So while old love -- in this case a love of creative crafts and making art with my hands -- never rust, according to the old saying, the knowledge sure does. It's not like you have to start over, but you need to take a few steps back and repeat some lessons in order to revive your know-how and relearn the things you've forgotten.

Thankfully, the basics for working with paint -- no matter which type -- are easy to learn and from there you can have a lot of fun just playing and experimenting. Add a few pro tips and tricks and you can do great things.

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