Powertex rust art
Powertex rust art is about creating organic and natural textures. This abstract art starts out playing with Bister sprays and Rusty Powder with no plan. I took my favourite colours and tools and so I was still in my comfort zone. Create your own Bister and rust art by building up layers of colour and texture.
- Powertex Universal Medium – Ivory and White
- Bister – Blue and Brown
- Rusty Powder
- 3d Sand
- Optional Orange Powercolour pigment
- White vinegar and a spray bottle with vinegar and water (30/70)
- Canvas, board or heavy card to work on, a letter stencil, plastic palette knife, flat paint brush, hairdryer
Layers of Powertex, Bister and Rust
I painted this art on heavy paper as I didn’t have a canvas, although I did a couple of coats with Gesso first as the Powertex is water based and heavy and soaks into paper. I decided to keep the painting loose and try not to control the materials too much.
- The first layer is Ivory Powertex, brush on a layer that is thicker in one area, 1-2mm. This thicker area will be the focus point of your painting.
- Then spray a little Brown bister onto one area of the wet Powertex and mix it in with a flat brush. Mixing in the Bister will tint the background. Keep some lighter areas in the top and the bottom to create depth.
- Spray blue Bister starting over the focal area of your painting and then moving across to the sides. Avoid spraying the whole painting to keep some light areas. Notice I sprayed a large blue area in the upper right corner.
- Use the Brown Bister to create dark areas and spray a generous amount onto the thicker area of wet Powertex. I use a hairdryer on this area to heat the Bister gently until it starts to crackle. Avoid getting the area too hot as this will blister the Powertex.
- I drop a tiny amount of the Orange Powercolor into the wet Powertex to add a splash of bright colour but this is optional. In my painting it mostly got covered up by Bister later.
- Use Brown Bister through the letter stencil to add textures in the blue areas. This Bister also dried with tiny crackles.
Add rust textures
Mixing up the rust is easier than you might think. I mixed it up on a craft mat but you can use a plastic container or paper plate. Use a plastic palette knife to mix it.
- Pour out about 2-3 tablespoons of Ivory Powertex (Transparent Powertex also works well for rust)
- Drop white vinegar onto the Powertex, no more than 1/2 – 1 tablespoon
- Then sprinkle about a teaspoon of Rusty Powder onto this, do this from the pot lid to avoid overspill.
Don’t worry about getting the rusty mixture too accurate. It takes practice to get the mixture the way you like and the rust can be repeated or rusted more with vinegar if needed.
Mix the ingredients together until you have a grey liquid and then add in small amounts of 3d Sand to thicken your paint a bit. This just makes it a bit easier to handle.
Use a plastic palette knife to spread it onto the focal area and in other smaller areas of your painting. Spritz the rusty areas with the vinegar and water spray to encourage the rust to form.
I also use the spray to move the wet Bister and Rust and blend them together, letting them drip around the painting. Push some of the paste through the letter stencil in a couple of small areas or sprinkle some Rusty Powder directly onto the wet surface.
The rust takes several hours to form so I leave it overnight, I just give it a little extra spray of vinegar before bed.
When the rust is formed the texture is pretty fixed but you can always add more rust or layers as you like.
I added some last touches to the painting with some White Powertex. Use a very wet flat brush and a tiny amount of Powertex to paint in the lighter areas in the background. This adds lots of depth and contrast to the dark areas.
Create your own Bister and rust art with Powertex
If you’re new to using Bister you can find out more with my free download for beginners. I also have a Bister Masterclass to download if you would like more advanced techniques. This eBook includes many of the ways I use Bister to create unique Powertex art and a step by step guide to my signature Bister art. Find out more in the Etsy shop.