I just love the versatility of acrylic paints. Only recently did I stop and notice all of the acrylic gels and mediums that are available and that offer so many different looks and textures. Recently, I purchased a tube of modeling paste. That stuff is fun to play with. After toying with it a little, I decided it would make marvelous textures for tree bark in a painting.
And what bark is more unique and interesting than the bark of a birch tree? I used a painting knife and applied the modeling paste to a canvas in long strokes. I also made mottled textures by tapping the flat of the knife against the canvas, making the paste take on a different sort of texture.
Once that was done and the paste had dried, I painted the canvas to look like birch bark. I used several references to get the colors and textures to look like bark. I was going to call it done, but then decided to try for a three dimensional effect by making a curl of birch bark that was physically popping off the canvas. This was a whim, but I tore a piece of strong, wavy paper from a pad in my studio and curled it as I wanted. I then applied it to the canvas with acrylic gel, which is one of the most powerful adhesives I have ever used. Once that had dried and the paper curl was stuck tight, I painted the curl to look like a fresh, peeling piece of birch bark. I had such fun with the experiment.
…Even so, the piece felt a little bland. It wasn’t quite finished. So I began to scrounge around my studio for something more to add to it. I found a pretty glass butterfly pendant from a necklace. Perfect! I removed it from the necklace and attached it to my painting with more acrylic gel. It wanted to tip to the side, so I put the handles of two thin paintbrushes under the wings so the body would attach to the painting rather than a wing. I was relieved when the gel dried to find my little glass butterfly perfectly balanced and glued to the canvas.
All in all, a lot of experimenting went into this painting, as well as a lot of learning. I had a great time with it. I hope you like looking at it as well as I enjoyed making it.
Butterfly on Birch Bark
-8×10 inch wrapped canvas.
-Acrylic modeling paste, gel, and paints, as well as found materials.
-Done with painting knives and various brushes.
Thank you for looking. 🙂