Sunday, August 28, 2016

weekend in the workroom

This was an exciting and successful experiment! Our plucky heroine spent most of the weekend hosting open studio time, as my pal Z wanted to work on some new enamels inspired by some of her lovely photographs, and I had needful time to spend on family projects, so would be in the studio anyway. (I am wanting to get back to regularly offering both open studio time and structured workshops again)

Z was hoping for a better purple painting enamel than mixing Thompson's red and blue together, so I decided to try grinding down "regular" enamel with the tiny mortar and pestle... While the DIY painting enamel I created is not as finely ground as purchased enamel, it is quite useable, and didn't take an excessive amount of time or effort. Regular enamel was ground in the mortar, in water, without rinsing, because I wanted to retain the smaller bits.  What this means is that I am not limited to the narrow range of colors that Thompson sells for painting!

Painting enamel is usually ground to about 300 mesh. I tell my students that regular 80 mesh enamel is like beach sand and painting enamel is like talcum powder. Using painting enamel it is possible to get incredibly fine details impossible in other methods. Here is an example of a piece I did, the size is about 1 1/2" x 3/4", so the kanji are about 3 or 4 mm tall.

Next time I am going to try some of the cooler toned blue enamels... (the Thompsons blue painting enamel is a very warm almost turquoise blue... not great for mixing cooler colors) The other thing about painting enamel is that unlike regular 80 mesh enamel is that you can mix colors together to get other colors... this is because the granule size is so small. (if you mix black and white 80 mesh together you get black and white speckled, mix painting enamels and you get grey)

This closer view of the 3/8" diameter sample disc shows two different variations on the purple painting enamel, the darker is just the basic "grape purple" ground finely, and the lilac color is that enamel mixed with a small amount of red, and a slightly larger amount of "mixing white", for a warmer lighter purple...

Being able to mix painting enamels means that it is possible to get subtle variations of color. There are only a few colors of painting enamel that Thompson sells, though I think it is possible to order regular colors specially ground to 300 mesh. Finding out that I can simply use a small dedicated mortar and pestle to do the same thing quickly and easily opens up a world of possibility for me, to use the enamels I already have in new ways!

August SMART goals
1 charter #14 rayon dress facing Tundra flooring
2 charter #15 popover neckline filled floor padding
3 Tullia painted banner brush rest refurbished bag to Goodwill
4 embroidered yoke stamps refurbished bag to Goodwill
5 granulated star enamel- bag to Goodwill
6 DIY painting enamel - bag to Goodwill
7 - - bag to Goodwill
8 - - bag to Goodwill
9 - - paper recycling
10 - - wood scraps
11 - - shelf unit
12 - - yard waste bin
13 - - -
14 - - -

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