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The Art Before Christmas

The Art Before Christmas

It’s the last art class before Christmas and everyone has that ‘end of term’ feeling – you know, when you’re unsure if you can concentrate on your art or not? You have a squillion and one things to do at home, after all and someone’s just put a sausage roll and a mug of mulled wine in front of you.
Before you take a sip, however, here’s a way to make art that feels more like play than hard work and always produces great results.

Working on thin scrap paper, design your motif. If you’re not sure how, try something using a continuous line with a repeated pattern. My example looks like a series of overlaid triangles, but none of them are actually complete; it’s really just one, long line. Your first idea might be the best, but don’t stop until you’ve done at least half a dozen – you know, because that sausage roll has only just come out of the microwave.

Turn your chosen design over and smear the back of it with black oil paint. For a drawing  like the one above, just a pea-sized amount will do (and spread it on with a palette knife, because it’s easier to clean). You’ll notice, also, I punched little holes through the paper so I can see where my drawing begins and ends.

I call it ‘The Ineluctable Modality Of The Overdone Turkey’ and it’s yours for £50,000.
Actually, it’s the reverse of my design, ready for printing.

Turn your piece of paper over again and blot it on newspaper. I use the Frome Times, but you can use anything, even back issues of The Beano.

Turn your design over again and place it, lightly, onto a sheet of watercolour paper. If the oil has stained through the paper, your original design may be hard to see by now, so that’s why I used a coloured pencil. At this point, you can do one of two things: moan about the fact that I didn’t tell you that earlier or press on (quite literally) by tracing over your design so that the oil prints down onto the watercolour paper.

You’ll see that I taped my original to the board so that it wouldn’t slip around.

Ta da! You should get at least one more ‘print’ from your design before having to re-paint the back.

Because oil and water don’t mix, you can start painting almost immediately (that sausage roll won’t wait all day, you know). This image uses alternating glazes of pale Forest Green and Vermilion.


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