I was asked for some tips on adding colour to projects made with Ivory. A customer had made a sculpture project but was unhappy with how the colours looked. When she explained, I knew exactly what she meant because I’d had the same problem!
I was quick to buy Ivory Powertex probably because I’m used to painting on a white(ish) surface. It’s a great starting place for mixed media projects but it can be a struggle when it comes to adding colour. Take a look at my fairy houses here.
I made these when I was first starting out with Powertex. I was happy with the black fairy house. The yellow ochre house is not too dark or light but I chose coloured pigments that hardly show up. The ivory one on the left was dry brushed with many layers of pigments! I started with blues, then burgundy and pinks and eventually I used white pigment to cover up the colours! No matter what I did, it just didn’t look right.
This canvas made with Ivory Powertex and mediums helps to explain why it looked odd.
There are different shades of “white” here because of the different products I used but what you can see are the shadows created by the different textures. The “valleys” in the corrugated card are dark shadows. The raised areas are lighter and it’s the same all over the canvas. My mistake with the Ivory fairy house was that the valleys or shadows were light and the raised areas where the light hits, were darker!
The dry brushing technique I’d used only colours the raised textures. It’s possible to mix a wetter colour and try to paint in all the textures but it can slow and maybe tricky if you’ve got tiny textures. The good news is that there are great ways to colour your Ivory Powertex that are easy and effective.
Spray Bister inks
If you’ve ever used spray colour in a project you’ll know how the colour moves around. It will run into the textures and colour them instantly. Bister spray from Powertex is a water based colour. My favourite thing about Bister is the muted colours. They are perfect for a vintage or “aged” project or for softer colour. Spray onto dry Powertex for best results.
These skull bottles were fabric wrapped with Ivory and sprayed with Bister in brown and green. The aged look is brilliant for these bottles. Just spray the Bister onto dry Powertex textures and wipe away from raised areas to lighten.
This canvas also uses fluid colour but this time it’s on Ivory Powertex mixed with Easy 3d Flex. Once dry, deep cracks will form and fluid colour allows you to drop and run colour in between. This canvas uses transparent acrylic inks from The Secret Art Loft.
After colour has been applied, highlights can also been painted with Ivory Powertex. This landscape canvas uses Bister sprays for colour and the highlights have been dry brushed with Ivory Powertex. Ivory Powertex is great base for mixed media canvases. The triptych at the top of the page uses Ivory Powertex on wood.
Using colour with Ivory (or even White) Powertex is easy when you use sprays or fluid colours. Practice layering and varying the amounts for different effects. As a last tip on using Bister, it’s a good idea to seal these projects as Bister is not permanent.
If dry brushing technique with powder pigments such as Powercolor is your favourite technique I recommend using a darker colour Powertex to create your textures. Your colours will really stand out and highlights will look amazing.