Vivacious Violet (with Yellow’s Complements)

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Art is so much fun. I’m working toward eventually making art quilts (for fun and profit), and toward that end, I decided to cut out a piece of organic quilt batting, and try out a bunch of mediums on it to see how they fly with the fabric. I didn’t expect the finished product to be postable, but I’m actually quite happy with the result.  So, here it is! 

 If you’re not into art supplies, you might wanna skip this section.  But for some of you who work with fabric, or might like to, I wanted to tell you what you’re looking at.  Clockwise from lower left: 

 1) Inktense pencils (painted from pencil tip to fabric with wet brush) in colors 610, 710, 720; 

 2) Inktense blocks, same colors as the pencils, top left corner and side (first one in upper left I got it wet and slapped it right on the fabric.  Oops!  A bit too inktense, so the other two colors I painted off the sticks with a wet brush; was still more intense than the pencils, which you’d expect); there’s also a gold Inktense block in the center/left (color 0250); 

 3) Tombow markers in top right corner (bright palette, the purples – don’t they look cool?  I thought they translated to fabric really well) 

 4) Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels in violet, yellow, and yellow-orange, taking up most of the lower R quadrant, except the very corner.  This was the biggest, happiest surprise of all.  The crayons themselves don’t look vibrant at all, but they really got jazzy and happy when I dipped them in water and drew right onto the fabric with them! 

 5) Bottom right is (I think, it was sitting around in a palette) cadmium yellow tube watercolor paint, which also translated very nicely to fabric, much better than I thought.  I’ve never tried painting watercolor on fabric before. 

6) Then, I went around the border with some gold Lumiere metallic acrylic, cut with water by about half. 

 7) Oops, almost forgot:  I went over the Inktense pencil on the lower left with Lumiere lavender metallic acrylic.  I took a picture of this in the sun, just so you could see the shimmer there, but it didn’t translate to the photo or screen that well.  It’s a very cool, very slight shimmer in that whole bottom left-hand corner.  In bright light, it looks awash with gold dust.  But only in bright light!  So it doesn’t leap out at you all the time.  This, I like. 

 What I learned:

  • I expected lots of stiffness.  Nope.  Soft, soft, soft!  Almost gloriously soft.  Probably the roughest sections are wherever there is metallic acrylic, but it sits on top of the batting, so the fabric itself isn’t at all stiff, and the top (just in those areas) feels like you’re touching someone with pretty dry skin.  All in all, not bad!
  • I expected the Inktense to be really bright and vibrant.  I did use some water with them, probably more than maybe some would use.  My batting wasn’t dripping wet at the end, but it was uniformly damp and needed time to dry.   I’m sure if I’d have used less water, my color would’ve popped more, but maybe more than I’d have liked.  Still, if that’s the look you’re going for, you can probably get that with the Inktense pencils, and the blocks are definitely stronger, and will make a major impact, if you want that.
  • I’ve not tried wetting the batting to see how permanent the Inktense and pastels are.  I believe acrylic paint is permanent on fabric, so I wouldn’t even need to test that.   This is just supposed to be a test swatch, but I really like it, and so I’m not in any hurry to try and scrub it and risk messing it up.  I’m thinking this will eventually be cut up and will wind up going into embellishments on the quilts.  Also, not sure if regular watercolor paint will wash out of fabric once it dries?  I assume it would, but maybe staining pigments wouldn’t fully wash out?  Not sure.
  • If I put something on the fabric and thought it was too bright, I just thinned it with water.  This worked straight across the board with the exception of the water-soluble oil pastels.  And I’m sure if I’d have really worked at those, I could’ve tamed those colors a bit.  But I really loved them!  They were my favorite part of the piece (and the biggest surprise, because I almost didn’t use them at all)!

It may just be me, but every time I look at this, I see those gorgeous violet and yellow violas that come out at this time of year.   I just love purple and yellow together, and those Portfolio pastels are so inexpensive that I think I’ll really be enjoying using this medium most when I want a really strong color statement. 

 Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing another mixed media fabric experiment to celebrate spring!  Playing with art supplies is so much fun!   Sometimes the less you know, the better; the surprises never stop!   Have a great Tuesday, and don’t forget to spread some joy around.  Peace.

30 thoughts on “Vivacious Violet (with Yellow’s Complements)

  1. Great colors!…maybe to test washability you should just do a little strip with a small square of color from each item you used. I wouldn’t risk spoiling this either. It does remind me of violets.

    BTW check out my post this morning…I used one of your watercolors as inspiration for a collage. This one would work too!

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    1. That’s a good idea, thanks! I love your collage!!! It’s so beautiful! I made a comment over there, but I’m on my phone, and not sure if it posted. Let me know if you don’t see it. Thanks for the terrific wakeup this morning. :))

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  2. Those are some yummy colors. An art quilt with that as the color palette would be spectacular. But be careful with your materials. I don’t believe those Tombows are archival, meaning they would fade over time. Before investing time into a large project, I’d do some color tests. Put swatches in the sun for several weeks, that sort of thing.

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  3. Wonderful colours! I’m sure your art quilts will look amazing.Interesting that you’ve been dyeing fabrics because I have been too, I’m using mine for collage instead of tearing stuff out of magazines etc. 🙂

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  4. Loved seeing your experiments on fabric! I discovered how wonderful the water-soluble oil pastels are too! Another medium that is supposed to work well on fabric is the F&W acrylic inks. I have some but have not played with them yet. Also, I purchased Golden’s GAC-900 which is a fabric painting medium to blend with acrylic paints. It says it provides a soft-hand to fabrics. I have not used it yet but wanted to try it with the Gelli-Plate – I probably will need to do this one outside. Look forward to seeing more of your discoveries! Lovely colors on your fabric – they remind me of your sunset photo! 🙂

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    1. Thanks for those tips, Jill. I’ve never heard of F&W acrylic inks. Hopefully I’ll be able to look that up, because that does sound like something to look into. The fabric medium, too. Although I am trying to put myself on a bit of an art supply fast, having gone through a binge not too long ago LOL.

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    1. Thanks, Tori! It was so much fun. I’m not really sure why, actually, lol. I think I really just love the feel of fabric, and it was cool to apply the paint and really not know what was gonna happen. Felt like a giant science experiment! I highly recommend dragging out your supplies and giving it a try. It’s just like being a little kid in art class again.

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  5. I love your sense of mission. Like a scientist in the laboratory, you’re driven by the details and the learning processes. This was fascinating to read, even though I do not work in fabrics. I love keeping journals of my observations when I work in watercolor, hoping they will improve my craft. I’m excited to find out what you learn tomorrow. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for reading. Tonight’s project posts Thursday and wasn’t nearly as beautiful, but I did learn a few things. I keep bouncing between different mediums, but I guess it’s all part of the process. Gotta get some zzz’s, have a nice night!

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  6. Hello!

    I haven’t responded until now because I was trying to figure out how to let you know about this without being a killjoy. I haven’t read all of the comments here, though I did see the comment about Tombows (which is true, as far as I know).

    My main caution, though, is in the use of Cadmium colors for anything that will be held against the skin for a long time. At least some forms of cadmium salts, like those used in paint, are absorbable through skin, and they’re all toxic and difficult for the body to fully excrete (I’ve seen quotations of a half-life of 10 to 20 years or longer).

    If you’re in the US, we have something of an unofficial system here, so far as I know — paints labeled “Hues” as versus the original name (for example, Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue) will not have cadmium salts in them, and are usually designed to be less-toxic versions of the colors they imitate. The same goes for other Hues, like Viridian Hue or Cobalt Blue Hue.

    Hope this helps —

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  7. Oh, and if you look up the MSDS for an item (Materials Safety Data Sheet), you should be able to tell if something contains ingredients sufficient to cause acute or chronic toxicity. I think I’ve written about it on my blog under the tag, “Occupational Hazards”; if not, I’d be glad to write something about it for you.

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    1. How did your comments get stuck? I saw them now, as I went searching for them. I’m still new to this blogging thing. I appreciate your notes re: cadmium. I think you make a great point. For purposes of the art quilts I’ll be making, they’re designed to hang on the wall only, not to be used as blankets, but I think that’s a great point, and something to keep in mind anyhow, when working with fabric. Mine will likely be very small, but you never know what someone will do with something that the maker may never have intended. Thanks for pointing this out!

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