Isn’t white just wonderful? The calming effect from snow in winter is what inspired me to create this project: Wintery White Birches Plaster Texture Art. To create some major texture I’ve also developed my own recipe of plaster texture paste.
Step #1 – The canvas
I hope I am not the only one who collects picture frames… If you have priced any custom art framing you know it is quite expensive. For this DIY project I wanted a modern frame in a metallic of silver or gold so this one was perfect (thrift store find) and it included some canvas art as well.
I especially like to collect this type of frame as it the most versatile since it allows very easy opening and closing. Do not buy the kind that are all glued together as they are pretty well disposable and can’t be opened. A quick screw loosening and one side slides out to allow the canvas to slide out.
As for paint; this canvas is quite large so I will use some medium quality paint as I will need a fair bit and colours will be very light so high priced pigments are not necessary here. Since I can mix paints I will use only the 3 primary colours, black & white of this Artist’s loft paint. Pull out your wide brushes and palette knives…
Step #2 – Background
My aim is to create a very white-ish winter scene with much texture; one that is quite impressionistic. I am aiming to have it finished in a matter of hours – so it will (hopefully) be pretty ‘loose’ and imperfect. The distant background is painted muted colours, isn’t not blended too much and somewhat more blue tones towards the top for the suggestion of sky.
This will be a low key (less contrast) piece of art and the acrylic paint should bond well enough to the painted canvas. If I was making a heirloom perhaps I’d start with a new canvas, but I see no need here. Do not be too fussy with the background (see video) so that it looks perfect as there will be much texture added…
Step #3 – Making the Texture Paste
Lately I have been liking ‘white’ a lot! (‘Perhaps it’s because my brain wants a break from all the colour it gets bombarded with all the time) I have been experimenting with recipes of making texture paste. There are many combinations of paint (art quality, house paint), glue, talc, plaster, joint compound, gesso, calcium carbonate which I have tested. Each of those also comes in a variety of qualities so it is not an exact science as hoped.
The most successful texture paste recipes I tried were a mix of plaster of paris (DAP brand), white paint (Artist’s Loft Paint), and glue (Elmer’s Glue-All). This brand of paint is fairly thin so no water is added.
The recipe is 1 part paint – 1 part Glue – 1.5 parts Plaster. Make sure to mix well as the plaster can get lumpy (especially if it is older) Mix only enough to use during that time frame. If the mix consistency is a bit too stiff or liquid add small amounts of the other ingredients. The recipes using talc as the powder seemed to crack or not keep their shape well. Modeling paste is available to buy but could be expensive for large amounts compared to a home-made texture paste.
The trees are dabbed on with a palette knife loaded with the texture paste. Make some swift swipes from each of the trees. It’s quite fun since it isn’t about perfection (who wants that stress?!) Watch the video if you like…
Step #4 – Adding even more Texture Paste
Make sure that you create a variety of trees, some thinner ones in the background, and some that are not that straight. I’d say it’s almost like buttering a sandwich! If you do not have a putty knife, some cardboard strips would also work well.
To add a bit more definition (can’t turn off the illustrator/artist in me) Mix a bit of greyish paint into the texture paste to add another layer to the birches. Keeping the lighter paste on one side will suggest a direction of light.
For another addition a bit of a darker grey on the shadow side will make the trees look round. Stand back and observe (squinting helps you see form and less detail)
With this tutorial I do not want to force you to have ‘my’ style. Ok, Ok, I try to NOT be too perfect but is my nature to want to make wall art that is super realistic, so feel free to stop whenever you are happy with your art – it’s your’s! I did add a tiny bit of black markings with a paint brush. There really is no wrong way to make art…
This closeup shows how messy it is, but that allows less criticism of details. It is quite matte paint from the paster additive but you could also give it a layer of satin or gloss acrylic medium. I do not think it will scratch as it has the glue and acrylic polymers in the paint to bind it all together.
I see a trend to much art that is very abstract, and textural. A glob of white paste & some texture tool = DIY texture art. A canvas is a flexible surface so care should be taken to not flex it too much.
Step # 5 – Back into the Frame
If the frame is a bit scratched then you can camouflage it with some additional ( be gentle) intentional scratching with a fine sandpaper. It will give the look of brushed metal.
Depending on the light the plaster texture art can be warm or cool. A light above the art will also enhance the thick texture. What do you think? My purpose for this whole thing was to make a very quick art piece for my winter theme…
It is a seasonal piece for my hall entry. I had all the basic supplies and managed to ‘use-up’ one of my stashed frames – bonus. It was about 3 hours (and drying time) and the all came together.
Soon I’ll share how I put the rest together and even used concrete… stay tuned