Acrylic Transfers

I decided to start off my second post on this blog by talking about the acrylic transfers that I've been doing. I joined not that long ago, which is a site where people can sign up for swaps of just about anything handmade, etc. It's awesome!

One of the groups on swap-bot that I joined is the Viva La Frida group. I'm fascinated by Frida Kahlo and her artwork. This was the first group that caught my eye. Each group can hold their own swaps and sure enough, this group had two of them that piqued my interest... one was for a Frida Christmas ornament and the other was a mixed media Frida painting.

I have to admit, I've never really done mixed media, but I have a sister that LOVES it. I started out using acrylics, but once I found oil paints, I felt like I was in heaven. But I've kept my acrylics just in case... and so I decided to take the plunge and jump into this mixed media Frida swap. I started out by finding a photograph of Frida and sketching it. This is the photo I chose:

This is the sketch:

I had planned on using the sketch as a guide to do an acrylic painting of her. That's why I didn't really do as much detail with the hair and flowers, etc. But the thing about acrylics is... I DESPISE using them for portraits! That's why I was happy to find oils. And the pressure was on because I have to actually send this to someone! Then, upon the recommendation of someone in the group, I bought this fabulous book called "Altered Surfaces" by Chris Cozen.


That led me on the path to discovering acrylic transfers. And I've been obsessively experimenting with them ever since, trying different methods with different materials. It's been about two weeks, I believe? And finally, last night, it clicked. I found the right combination and the right way to get the effect I wanted. Still not 100% perfect, but I'm pretty happy, though I still have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be making more changes. *g*

I ended up going with the technique that uses transparencies and gloss gel medium. First I started off by taking a picture of the drawing. Then I loaded it into Adobe Photoshop Elements, edited a bit, and played with the coloring so it was more sepia than gray. Then I printed it out as a mirror image on an inkjet transparency. I applied the gel medium then carefully placed it on the canvasboard and burnished it. Had to be careful, because I'd end up messing with it too much and goobering it up. *g* But then I'd remove the transparency carefully, let it dry and put a coat of gel medium over it to protect it.

Here's the final results:

It took a lot of fun experimenting and redoing the picture for a second time to get this effect. Here's a few other ways it came out:

That really horrifically red version in the middle of the bottom row? That was the first edited version of the photo. Once I got a better handle on what I was doing, especially when it came to the coloring, it really made a difference to go back and start over with the original photo!

Now I'm ready to start the rest of the painting. And because my sis and I had an art day last Saturday, where I ended up creating a mock up of how I want to do this painting, I'm now ready to sit down and finish it up. So much fun!!!



Nadira said...

I LOVE the transfer version you're happy with. It's beautiful and absolutely stunning. you SO have to teach me how you did it. I will be your padawan learner :) great master :) hahahhahahahh!

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