Monogram Painting

  Hi all.  Sorry I have been so absent lately.  I'm working on a few client projects and have some family fun going on, including weddings!  I'm posting this a few days before my cousin's wedding, but I'm pretty sure she's too busy to check my blog.  Here's a painting I did for her and her fantastic husband-to-be.

WARNING:  If you are ASHLEY M. or KEVIN R. do NOT continue reading!  
24" x 18", full view
  I helped create their invitations a few months ago and the couple loved how the monogram turned out, so I thought it would be nice for them to have a piece of artwork featuring the monogram to hang in their new home.  *While doing some research for the project I got totally addicted to Mod Podge Rocks.  Over the course of a few days I read back an entire year of entries and had to make myself stop.  I'm totally inspired now.  I highly recommend you check out the site and do a site search for "transfer"and peruse some of the links to great projects.*

  I created the texture by mixing spackling paste with a bit of Mod Podge (in the hopes that the Mod Podge would bind the compound a bit).  I lumped the mixture onto a primed canvas and went over it several times with a putty knife.  I used varying amounts of pressure as I went along and went back over the high points lightly to knock them down and add subtle texture.  This took about 24 hours to dry since it was all so thick and the humidity was way up there.

  Next I put a nice coat of white paint over the whole surface.  I used a gesso, though I wish I had used an acrylic with more gloss to it because I had hoped to create a "skin" on the texture surface but the gesso just soaked in.

  While that was drying I created a scaled image of my canvas in Illustrator.  I laid out the monogram in one layer and some decorative florals in another.  I printed the florals in reverse on several sheets of paper.  Next I applied the florals to the canvas using the Mod Podge transfer method.  I have done this before with gel medium but I had Mod Podge closer by.  I put a nice even coat of the Mod Podge on the printed surface of the florals and then carefully applied the paper to the canvas print/Mod Podge side down.  I did the best I could to smooth out any bubbles and create a bond to textured canvas wherever there was a printed image.


close up of texture and layers
  After a few hours this was dry and I used a damp scrubbie pad and gently rubbed the back of the paper off, revealing the image now glued to the textured canvas.  Because the texture was so strong the image didn't stick in some areas, which was what I wanted.  I rubbed a little extra in some areas to emphasize the texture and kick the florals more into the background.  Doing this in some spots broke through into the spackling paste and almost down to the canvas.  Woops.  After that dried a bit I went back over it with a spot treatment of more white paint.

  While that was painting I transfered the monogram to poster board and cut out a stencil.  I used black paint to stencil it onto the canvas.  Because I wanted a more rustic feel I wasn't too concerned with bleeding under the stencil.  Once the black dried I brought out some high lights by sanding high points with a sanding block.

  After the black I went over the whole thing with a faint glaze of brown to warm it up a bit, wiping the high points again so the glaze sat more into the texture.  I can't wait to present it to the bride and groom.

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