Thursday, February 12, 2015

Layers of Paint

This month on the Documented Life Project it is all about layers. I didn't want to do another collage type page so I decided to try to think of a way to do paint layers.

 I used my Cuttlebug machine to cut out a whole field of flowers from some post it notes. The Post-its I used have sticky stuff across the whole page (not just the top edge) so when I stuck them down they would stay. I was able to cut through 5 layers of Post-it notes at a time with the machine. I used the flowers, leaves and a couple of butterflies. It took about 5 minutes but you could draw and cut out if you had another idea.Some other objects that would look great would be a flock of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, hearts, circles or squares for an abstract look.

  I wanted to use transparent paints so that each color is changed by the color underneath it. I started with the lightest and worked along. Oops, just realized the blues are in the wrong order. I used the manganese blue before the phthalo blue.

I masked off a border that would stay white because I like the way it looks and it stops the paint going onto other pages.  I stuck a few flowers and things down. These will be white at the end so I didn't do too many. I went over the whole lot with the lightest yellow keeping it very pale at the top of the page because I don't want to make the sky too green. I let it dry.

 I added a few more of the cut outs and went over the bottom half of the page with the medium yellow. Again I let it dry. This is important because if it is not dry the post-its might come off and you risk lifting off some of your first layers of paint.

I started to get into my painting about this time and forgot to take a photo of the first couple of blue layers. The manganese blue didn't cover very well so I did two layers of that over the whole page (making the sky color), then added more flowers and some of the leaves. This photo was taken after the first layer of phthalo blue was done. 

I did a second layer of the phthalo blue to make the background a bit darker. I let it dry. A quick note about composition here: as you add the flowers allow them to overlap and also go off the edge of the page. The overlapped flowers that are darker will look like they are further back in the finished piece. The flowers going off the edge of the page looks more natural when there are so many.

I wanted more contrast at the base of the picture so I added a few stems that I cut out with scissors and the final few leaves. I went over the base area with magenta. I knew this would make a dark brownish color so I used a paper towel to blot some of it off. I also added a tiny bit of the pink near the top of some of the flowers where the blue color would make it a purple color. It is barely noticeable.

I couldn't wait to see if it had worked out so I tried to remove one of the butterflies but the paper was too wet and split so I left it to dry.

When it was dry I removed all of the post-its carefully. Some of them were a little stuck around the edges but when I rubbed a little they all came off. You can see where some of the paint has bled under the post-its but I don't mind that look. I thought about doing some pen work around the flowers but decided not too. I like the way it is soft looking so I am calling it done.  

I think this would look good with other colors too. Try to stick with only 2 primary colors, like red and yellow, blue and yellow or red and blue. If you use all three you will make brown. I know I used red at the end but it was very limited and I knew how dark it would go. If you are not sure about your colors, layer them on scrap paper first to see what you will get. Some paints are not as transparent as the Golden fluids are and I chose only the most transparent ones.They do have a few opaques in their range that wouldn't work here.
I encourage you to give it a try, it is a lot of fun and no drawing skills are needed.


  1. Love this! The colors, the technics. I use a lot of post-its. So I will give it a try soon.

  2. Thanks Nina. I hope you have fun experimenting.