Current Shows

Due to the Corona virus, the Surface Design workshop has been postponed until this summer. The new date for it will be announced when the Art House re-opens.


I'll be teaching this one-day workshop on March 14, 2020 at the Art House! Learn to design your own unique papers and other materials for collage, card making, scrap booking, journal making etc. I supply all the materials. All you need to bring is a sack lunch and a beverage. Hours are 10-4; fee is $90 per person. Register online at or call 678-543-5777. Act now! Seating is limited!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Painting an Artist Trading Card or ACEO with Sponges

Why is it the art I seem to be most satisfied with are the pieces created "off the cuff?" Yesterday was a good example. I had been dipping the ends of some fabric beads in iridescent silver paint. When I finished, there was about a teaspoon of paint left over.

I didn't want to toss it, or wipe it off onto the cloth I was using for a cleanup rag. Instead, I decided to see if I had an old or unfinished painting I could stamp onto with the silver paint. Maybe it could rekindle my enthusiasm for some orphaned project. So I went looking in my stash for a suitable piece to work with.

The perfect candidate turned out to be a 2 1/2x3 1/2" artist trading card my friend Rebecca Salcedo had given me a few years ago. Rebecca is both a decorative artist and a fine artist. She had been experimenting with faux paint treatments for a client's walls, and had created several of these little cards to test various effects and color combinations. One afternoon she had stuck her head in my studio door (at the time we were both tenants in a communal studio space), handed me two of the cards and said, "Here's something to start some tiny paintings with." Intending to do just that, I had placed them in a drawer. Where they languished until yesterday.

One of the cards featured a bit of texture on its surface. It was painted a mid-value grey, lightly glazed with what looked to be a mixture of Pthalo Blue and black, making it an ideal blank slate. Eureka! The leftover silver paint would look great with those colors. I got right to work.

A 2 1/2x3 1/2" abstract, painted entirely with sponges.

Instead of a brush, I decided to use itty-bitty sponges. These were actually pieces of a large sponge I had previously cut up for another project. Back then I had used the pieces to stamp small squares onto a canvas. The biggest of the bunch was about the size of a thumbprint, the smallest about the circumference of my middle finger.

Painting with sponges was a way to leave my comfort zone and give something different a try. It's part of my New Studio Mantra: new digs call for exploring new directions. Since moving into my new space, I've been doing just that and having a ball, inspired in part by a book titled Mixed Media Revolution: Creative Ideas for Reusing Your Art by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson. Already Sandra and Darlene have led me down several new pathways to creative opportunity.

Doing this little sponge painting was great fun. I held no expectations for its outcome, just allowed myself to play and dabble. In addition to the Iridescent Silver, Carbon Black, Titanium White and Payne's Grey rounded out my palette. I learned quickly to use the very lightest of touches when applying the loaded sponge to the paper, or a big blob would result that had to be covered up. The sponges' textured surfaces created a delicate, yet intricate interplay of colors; layering and veiling and layering some more produced a remarkably detailed level of complexity my clumsy photography can't capture adequately here. Nor can it capture the luminous glow the metallic silver paint infuses.

As I worked on this I was fully in the Zone, dabbing away and enjoying every minute as the painting took shape. When I finished it, I noticed it looks equally good turned in any direction, and because the silver paint is reflective, each orientation looks very different from the others. It's like four unique little paintings in one!
©2013 Lynn Edwards 


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