Thursday, July 28, 2016

Paintstik Rubbings for Texture and Images

The first time I played with Shiva Paintstiks, I had a set of metallic minis, some dupioni silk, and absolutely no idea what I was doing. Please learn from my foolishness.
  • You're playing with a solid form of oil paint. Dress accordingly. 
  • Prep your work area for potential mess. Cover your worktable with plastic and have a place for trash that's easily accessible and will corral any errant Paintstik skin. I call this mess management.
After my first experience (and after I cleaned up the silver bits and pieces that decorated our hardwood floors), I went in search of information. I bought Shelly Stokes's book, Paintstiks on Fabric, and Paintstik Inspirations, an absolutely amazing DVD by Laura Murray. I recommend them both; get them at Artistic Artifacts.

When you open a pack of Paintstiks, you'll notice there's a skin covering the yummy oil paint goodness inside. You need to remove the skin before you can use the Paintstik. Here's how:
  • Gently pry open the paper tube around the Paintstik so that you'll be able to move the Paintstik up as you use it. Leave the tube on the Paintstik; just make sure you'll be able to slide the Stik. 

  • With an old knife devoted to art (and NOT food), cut or peel off as little skin as you can without losing too much of the paint inside. You'll see a difference in the sheen of the Paintstik when you get through the skin. The paint is shiny; the skin is not. (If you feel like you're wasting paint and you have a whole lot of time, feel free to try to reconstitute the skin with some linseed oil. I just don't have time for that.)

  • If you've used the Paintstik recently, you may be able to remove the skin by covering the tip of the Paintstik with a rag or paper towel and gently twisting. I've never had this work on a fresh, new Paintstik. 

  • MESS MANAGEMENT: Make sure all of the Paintstik skin and crumbs make it into the trash. 
Hint: As I work, my hands get covered with paint. I try to keep them clean to avoid spreading color where I don't want it. Laura Murray recommends baby wipes for your hands. I use unscented baby wipes on my hands and the occasional stencil.

When I work with Shiva Paintstiks, I generally use them to create rubbings or with stencils. Today, let's talk about creating rubbings.

To set up your workspace, I recommend starting with a Grip-n-Grip No Slip Mat. It will give you a great non-skid work surface that will keep your rubbing plate in place. (And you'll find lots of other uses for it!) Pat it to be sure it's securely in place. Both sides grip, so you are making sure of the temporary bond between the Grip-n-Grip and your work surface.


Next layer: rubbing plate! Pat it into place as well, to ensure it will stay put.

Lots of students ask which side is up. Rubbing plates generally have no labels to give you a clue. Here's how I determine which side the manufacturer intended as the "right" side. Place the rubbing plate flat on a table. Now, look at the lip around the rubbing plate. Is it absolutely flat against the table? Yes? That's the side to use. If there's a little space (maybe 1/8") between the table and the edges of the rubbing plate, that's the flip side. It will still work for rubbings, but the image will be different and may not be as crisp as you would expect.



Now add your fabric. It may stay on place better because of the Grip-n-Grip, but don't rely on it. Here's where you start being a bit careful about keeping things in place.


Once the fabric is in place, make sure you know where the edges of the plate are. In this shot, the tips of the fingers on my left hand are resting against the edge of the plate, which is under the fabric.


Generally, I pull the Paintstik across the surface in one direction, careful to keep the fabric from shifting. How hard should you press? Hard enough to get color on your fabric, but not hard enough to push or pull your fabric into distortion. It may take a little time to get the feel of this.





Do NOT time travel back to kindergarten where you scribbled in all directions to complete a rubbing with paper and crayons. That will distort and move the fabric. Of course, if that's the effect you want...

Does the rubbing need something more? Add layers!

Don't limit yourself to commercial rubbing plates. They're great for a lot of reasons, but there's so much more out there. For this flower, I wanted to add a little structure and background, so I used a piece of construction fence. Slip the texture you want to add under the fabric and add color by rubbing the Paintstiks on the areas where you want it.




Sometimes, paint makes its way through the fabric onto your rubbing plate. Clean it with a baby wipe or a paper towel (or rag) and some orange based degreasing liquid cleaner. I like Citrasolv, but ZEP makes a good one, too. It's affordable, non-toxic, and safe to dispose of down the drain. In a pinch, I've successfully used Dawn dish detergent.

In the next post, I'll add one more layer with a stencil to make this little flower a little more interesting. For now, here's another rubbing...


And here's what you can do with a selection of rubbing plates, black fabric, metallic Paintstiks, and some painter's tape. Fun!
 

Don't forget to comment so that we can enter you into the drawing to win this lovely Paintstik starter kit. Do you see where it says "Garden Flowers" on the Cedar Canyon label? Those six pictures are the rubbing plates included in this prize package. 



30 comments:

  1. The fencing is a nice touch. I got oil paint all over everything the very first time I opened mine. Eagerly anticipating the stencils lesson. 🙂

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  2. Angelina, yeah, these Paintstiks should come with a warning label!

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  3. Ooooo this looks so neat! Going to try it when I get home!

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  4. Good tips, suggestions, and ideas! Thanks!

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  5. Your posts about and for Shiva Paintstiks are being archived, saved, flagged - you name it - because I am newly inspired to try this. I have several stiks, but haven't got the hang of them yet, and your photos and descriptions are so wonderful!! So excited to try again!

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    1. Vini, I'm glad to hear it! I hope you have better luck this time.

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  6. Thanks so much for this clear tutorial. I do have a set of 4 small paintsticks and will try this technique out. Love the way they look on black.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I agree. I use them on black more than any other color.

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  7. Love this tutorial. Never thought of using several textures on one fabric. But it's a great idea. Now I hope I win 😄

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    1. Sophie, that's great! Have lots of fun!

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  9. Summer holiday fun - must I include the grandkids too?
    Oh okay lol
    Great tute many thanks : )

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    1. liniecat, I give you permission to play on your own before you bring the kids in. Paintstiks can be really messy!

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  10. Shiva's have been on my bucket list for months now & I am completely re-inspired! Thank you so much!

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  11. I haven't tried shiva paintsticks yet, but it looks like a lot of fun. Great tute. Thanks.

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    1. Suztats, it is fun. C'mon. Give it a try.

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  12. Good refresher after taking your class at Artistic Artifacts.

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    1. Yup, Chris! And I look forward to teaching it again next year at Artistic Artifacts! Fun class.

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  13. Thanks to your last post I got out my vintage paintstiks, did some rubbings and made a color chart. I had so much fun! To my surprise my 20+ years-old paintstiks were still usable. And then I bought the video for more inspiration..so, thank you!

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    1. acornreads, you are so welcome! Tune in tonight for info on using Paintstiks with stencils!

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  14. The fabric "slippage" was bothering me so I tried putting a 1/4" thick cork square behind the mat and then pinning he fabric at the 4 corners of the plate...map pins or pushpins work great due to their low profile...the fabric stayed in place and I knew where the plate edges were. Foam core would probably work too. A graphite rubbing of the plate worked well as a reference so I didn't miss any of the details. I encourage everyone to start playing with these....instant gratification!

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    1. acornreads, Great ideas! I'll have to try that so that I can pay more attention to the Paintstik fun and less attention to keeping the fabric in place. Thanks!

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  15. I've got some rubbing plates somewhere - I'm off to look for them!
    Thanks!

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  16. Great post... and awesome giveaway!

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  17. Wow beautiful image. Inspiration for an art quilt!

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