Yeah. You heard me right. She colors. With colored pencils. On metal.
Are those not stunning? Seriously!
Now, you know that I love all things metal. And when a friend showed me a Deb Karash piece that she actually owns, I decided I had to start experimenting. And let me stress: THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT. (Before I begin, I have to apologize for showing you the gorgeousness above and then subjecting you to my poor little copper etched cow. It's what I had available to play with, left over from a recent etching class. Be kind.)
After reading a whole bunch of stuff on the interwebs (a lot of which was contradictory, I might add) I set out with a small copper etched cow, a bottle of gesso, a 24 pack of Prismacolor pencils, a heat gun, and a few assorted odds and ends.
|Before pickling and cleaning.|
|After pickling and cleaning.|
Then I gave her several thin coats of gesso, drying each one with the heat gun.
|Set the hot piece on a bench block, which will cool it rapidly. Use pliers!|
Prismacolors! Don't you just love this tin? 24 great colors to play with - reminds me of the first day of kindergarten!
And then, literally, I just colored her in.
I wasn't particularly neat, and I pressed really hard with the pencils. As you may be able to see in this photo, that left some little wax crumbs behind. I used a soft, firm brush to clean those little crumbs off.
Then, I heated her up with the heat gun again, just until the surface of the color started to look soft.
I also scorched my clean terry shop towel. Don't be like me. (Seriously. Those heat guns are HOT. At about this point of my experiment, I realized I probably should have been heating Bessie on a soldering brick or something fireproof. You know, other than cloth. Sheesh.)
I repeated this several times: color, clean off, heat with the heat gun. Between heatings, I let the piece sit for a few minutes on my bench block to cool off. I should probably tell you at this point that several of the instructions I read online involved baking the piece in a 275 oven for 10 minutes. Between every layer. After putting Krylon spray on it. (Did I mention that this was after every layer?) This is why Deb Karash is so awesome and I am not: I am not that patient. Heat gun. ::Insert Tim the Tool Man grunt here.::
Then, after about three layers of color and the final heating, I buffed the piece with a terry cloth towel....
... and then lightly sanded it back with a sanding sponge.
And then, because I am incapable of doing anything with metal that doesn't involve either enameling or patina baths, I dunked it in Novacan Black for 30 seconds, which darkened all the raised etched areas that were exposed in the final sanding.
Final step: REN WAX!!
So let me point out that, once again, I diverged from the instructions on the interwebs because I am impatient. The instructions were to put the final coat of Ren Wax on the piece, let it dry, then bake the piece in a 275 oven for 10 minutes.
I think you can guess what I did instead.
The Ren Wax flashes and gets very liquid in just a few seconds. Then, when I put the hot metal on the bench block, it cooled immediately and I was able to buff it without waiting.
Because waiting = bad.
Here's the finished little piece - not my usual style at all, but I think there's a lot of potential here. I'm no Deb Karash (obviously) but I think with some further experimentation, this is a process that has a lot of promise for some of the mixed media work I'm fascinated by these days.
So what do you think? Worth some additional effort??
Until next time -
Serious note: heating wax and metal usually results in noxious fumes, most of which are really bad for you. Some of what I am suggesting here may not even be safe - I was experimenting, and I have a lot more research to do. If you decide to try this yourself, make sure you're working in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator. I wear one in my studio whenever I solder or enamel, and I should absolutely have worn one when I was doing this experiment. Don't be like me.