Friday, July 23, 2010

Caulk in Art Revisited - Yummy Texture and Dimension

Oh my goodness, where does the time go?  I'm really trying to post more consistently so my blog doesn't grow old and become stale.  I'm so honored to have so many followers and people who visit my blog, and I feel like I'm dropping the ball this year because my posting has been so intermittent.  On the other hand, when one is fighting the cancer battle, art becomes secondary or even further down on the priority list.

These pictures are not of new, recent art, and yes, they've all been posted on my blog before.  But they are three of my favorite works using caulk....which is a product I love to use, write about, and show and tell how it can be used.  I guess I just love promoting the use of caulk for great texture and dimension.  Some artists out there already know about it and have used it in their art, but there are also many artists who don't know about it and haven't used it.  Those are the ones I'm trying to reach and inspire to at least try using caulk.

I love the fact that it's so inexpensive (meaning cheap), so easily accessible, so easy to work with, and gives such great results.  What could be better than that?  It can be found at Family Dollar stores for a mere buckaroo ($1.00).  It's a little more expensive at the home improvement stores, ranging in price.  I buy the 5 ounce hard cylinders that need a caulk gun to extrude, but even caulk guns are cheap.  Or, you can buy it in the tubes that don't need a caulk gun.  I extrude it into a glass jar (the more shallow jars salsa comes in work great), and then put two layers of plastic wrap over the top, and then screw the lid on.  That helps keep the moisture in.  I've never had any caulk dry out on me, it can stay moist and usable for at least year, or even longer.

It can be colored with acrylic paint and liquid inks, and possibly even food coloring.  Or painted any color after it dries.  It can also be sanded after it dries.  It can be stamped or impressed into when it's wet, or frosted over stencils for a great but subtle dimensional effect.  It's a great adhesive and things can be embedded into it, or it can be used like glue to attach and adhere heavier items to a base or assemblage.  It can be applied to rubber stamps or any item with a make-up sponge, to get some dimension.  It can be diluted with water, or I suppose with any acrylic medium, to any consistency you desire.  You can put it in a plastic squeeze bottle to get the effect of dimension, or dilute it even thinner and use it more like gesso.  You can mix things with it when it's wet to get different textures, such as sand, cornmeal, tea grounds from used teabags, used coffee grounds, saw dust, small beads, torn paper, etc.  The sky is the limit as to what can be mixed in with it.  Oh yeah, and caulk can also be used on fabric and almost any surface.  If any of you have any more suggestions on how to use it, please share that information in a comment so all of us can learn about it.

What I've shared here so far are general tips on all the different ways to use caulk.  For more specific information on how I made certain art pieces using caulk, here is the link to all my caulk pieces.  So just scroll down that page.  And here's the link to my very first post on caulk, posted soon after I started my blog in February of 2008.

Regarding making some new art, I am actually working on an 11 X 14 canvas panel, a gift for my dear younger sister (and only sister) Jan, who requested an art work from me.  She has helped me so much and been so supportive during my battle with cancer.  And I love her and appreciate her so much.  I've managed to get the canvas panel painted in different shades of blue, green, and purple, and duh....I'm not liking it much at all.  Which is disconcerting to me.  No, more than that, it's bugging the heck out of me.  It doesn't happen very often that I dislike my art while in the process of creating it.  Occasionally, yes, but not that often.  Usually the more I do on a piece, the more I like it as it progresses.  And I consider this to be a very special and important piece, as a token of my love and appreciation for my sister.  

 The problem is, I'm really in a quandary as to where to go from here.  I suppose I could just gesso over it and start over again, even though I have many layers of paint on it, first with the credit card technic, then the sponge technic.  It has lots of paint on it, but I don't like the way it looks.  Even though it may sound crazy, I've never started over on a piece of art.  It shouldn't be a big deal, but it feels like a big deal.  I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head regarding what I want to do, I can't pick a direction to go in or focus on what to do next.  The ideas are: 

1.  to use caulk and/or wallboard joint compound for a very textural abstract piece.

2.  to do a layered collage, which I haven't done in a long time

3.  to use fabric and lace on it, and maybe even some kind of transfer

4.  to do a nature piece

All of these ideas are competing in my head, and I'm even trying to figure out how I can do all of them in one piece.  That would be great if I could manage to do it.  Or would it be?  Maybe not.  I just don't know.  So right now I'm very stuck.  I wonder if I should start over on it or just set it aside for a while, until I can focus on where I want to go with it.  There's no time deadline or urgency to get it done, and yet I'm very impatient to get it done.  Not only for her sake, so she can hang it in her home, but for my sake, to prove to myself that yes, I can still make art that I like or love.  Because I am concerned about that since I've made only one piece of new art since January, when I found out about the cancer.  At this point, I'm afraid I've lost a lot of the confidence I used to have, regarding making art.  And that is not a fun place to be in.  Oh well, this isn't earth shattering, I'm sure I'll work through it.  But I'd like to be there already!!!  I really need to gain my confidence back.

Oh, one more tip.  When I go to thrift stores or yard sales, I always look for frames. Sometimes I find canvas panels of different sizes, either clean and unused, or already painted on.  This panel I'm working on was already painted on, it was a painting of flowers.  It was not a very good painting.  So I just gessoed over it, and voila it was like a new large canvas panel that I paid a buck for.  I've been able to accumulate six canvas panels so far. Sometimes I find wooden plaques that would make good, sturdy bases for a piece of art.  So keep your eyes open for any kind of base that would work for an art piece.

And if any of you have any great tips for anything regarding making art, please leave that info in a comment.  I think tips are always fun and interesting to read, and it's great when I haven't heard them before.   Tips can really inspire me, and I could use some inspiration right now.  So how about sharing your own tips?  Please do!!!  You'd be doing me a favor.  I have the rest of the day to work on art.  Here's to hoping I find my way out of this quandary today.

One more tip.  If you like using lace in your art, look for lace tablecloths at thrift stores and yard sales.  I bagged a large, mint condition white tablecloth at a thrift store on sale for $2.00 a few weeks ago.  It's the thicker cotton lace, which I prefer.  And cotton lace can be dyed.  All lace can be painted.  The easiest and fastest way to paint it is to use spray paint.  Painting it with a brush can be slow and tedious.  I figure this large tablecloth will last me a good, long time.  I won't be running out of lace anytime soon, that's for sure.                                                                                                                         


MrsL said...

Now I need to go find some caulk!! I ahve two projects that I just can't seem to get moving...maybe soem caulk play will awaken my Muse.

Glad the chemo is about over!!

xinme said...

I love the caulk idea, Val -- and I never would have thought of it myself! Thanks for sharing the idea :)

Paula (from the AB yahoo group)

PhyllBeach said...

I think you've come up with every possible use for caulk except fixing the leak in the kitchen sink:-) The nature caulk work at the bottom of your three is my favorite.

PhyllBeach said...

You've come up with every possible way to use caulk but fixing the leak in the kitchen sink :-) Of the three art works I like the bottom of the three best with the nature theme.

Gail P said...

oh my, what a great post and so lengthy that I can't help but feel that you're moving into a better place health-wise. Smiling here! I had forgotten about all the great things to do with caulk so I've just down some of them. Thanks for the inspiration!!

marianne said...

siliconized acrylic caulk (usually elmer's, tho ace brand works too) and apollo transparencies make the cleanest inkjet transfers i've been able to do. and regular clear caulk works well with laser print or copy transfers- smooth the paper on, let dry, then rub the paper off. thanks for the other ideas- i LOVE texture & can't wait to try them.

Pat S said...

Val, the colors for your sister's piece sound beautiful although I notice you like earth tones best!
How about some red hearts (or just one) somewhere? I love red with purple, blue and green! So happy you
have begun to 'art' again and that you're nearly finished with your chemo. It does zap you so you'll be
rarin' to go about the middle of August! :)
Love and blessings,

Iberostar said...

Caulk - what a great idea - I'll have to try some - on your sister's painting, I like the fabric + collage idea. I like the little bits of fabric they have the fabric store for you to take home - sometimes they have it in a bag next to the bolt of fabric. Purple is my favorite color!!

kathy keith said...

On the art that is puzzling you - how about using a translucent layer of white or other color over it, but leave some parts showing through (stencil or whatever)?

Darrelyn said...

Hi Val! I love the color combo you described, and I'm anxious to see how it turns out. I have no doubt you will conquer it! Thanks so much for the caulk ideas - I've been wanting to find something to "texturize" acrylic paints. And the fact that it's like a glue is even better! Can't wait to try my hand at this. Thanks again & good luck!

Seth said...

I absolutely love the textures you hace created I these pieces. And thanks for all the details you shared in this post.

Linda said...

Great post,Val! I love caulk, too, and do not use it nearly enough. Good to see you posting. I know your sister is a great blessing to you.

Max said...

Hi, I really appreciate the update on the uses for caulk. I've done it before but have not used the technique since. I have even purchased the expensive name brand texture stuff - but these are not the same as using caulk. Plus caulk does everything that these things do and more.
As for inspiration for your new piece, you have already said it:
"She has helped me so much and been so supportive during my battle with cancer. And I love her and appreciate her so much." So break this apart into a theme and your work will go where you want it!

mammagil said...

Hi hows it going you have been quiet for some time now
Thinking of you!!!
hugs to you

Elena said...

Your blog is so full of inspiring things, you did some amazing works!
I hope you'll manage to find the time to give us some news, I hope you are feeling better...

Linda Israel said...

Love your idea of using caulk. I've purchased some to do other things, but hadn't thought of using it as the medium for the art, only as an adhesive. So Thank you for sharing this again. I do hope that you are winning the battle with cancer, as I look forward to more posts from you.