Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Songbird Canvas by Alan Scott


I have just become a convert to the wonderful world of the 12 inch templates by Crafter's Workshop. Like a lot of you, I have a few 6 inch ones but never thought about up-scaling. However when I came across the bargains that can be had @ That's Crafty! I had to dip into the piggy bank and spend some of my Christmas prezzy funds. So much so, that I now have almost 20 of them. I can see so many new and interesting projects where they can be used.

This is one of the projects where I have used a template called Family Tree. This project also features Dylusions stamps by one of my personal fav designers Dyan Reaveley and the sets I used are Doodle PartsFurther Around the Edge and Around the Edge.

Cheap 12 inch Canvas
Collection of Water Colouring Pens
Good White Stamping Paper/Card
Archival Ink Pad - Jet Black (if you use ProMarkers then use Adirondack - Pitch Black Ink Pad)
Family Tree Template 
Black Waterproof Pen - Sakura Pens
Music Print Paper (I used a music printed napkin - if you want to know where then send me an message as l have found a wonderful store selling loads of great designs)
Bird on a Swing from a Home Décor embellishment kit (From a £1 plus store)
Various Claudine Hellmuth Acrylic Paints
Collection of good paint brushes various widths
Gesso Mod Podge Matt 
Inkssentials Glossy Accents 
Good Sharp Tipped Scissors
Craft Knife with New Blade
Strong Clear Glue
Craft Mat/Cutting Mat
Heat Gun
Tub of Plaster of Paris (from your local DIY Store)
Palette Knife 
Baby wipes - cheap and non perfumed
A4 Clear Plastic Container


As with all new canvases, we have to 'prime' it. This is done by laying down a coat of Gesso. This helps with any paints etc. that we are going to use. The bird on the swing was also coated with Gesso. Why clean a brush 2-3-4-5 times, when you can do it just the once. So look around and anything that needs to be done do it and leave to dry.
When the Gesso has dried, we can start to build up our layers of papers, imagery and paints. Each layer should give the final project a different point of interest. Don't worry about laying down paint over paper. By using baby wipes, we can remove paint and then have control over the amount of hue or colour that's going to be seen.
Using the Tree Template - I found it easy to use the stencil and a black waterproof marker so that I could have lines to colour in. I can also build up a bigger image by using the leaves to expand the tree, so that it was just the tree template. The canvas can be filled in. After I had coloured the tree and the leaves in, the Sakura Pens came out to play!
When you're happy with the background, the next step is to build up the decorative elements. This can take a lot of time and can be quite repetitious. However once you're in "the zone", you will be surprised how quickly you can finish this section. Using your chosen ink, stamp out 4 sets of all the images you want to use. Then select your colouring medium and start to build up layers of colour on your leaves. When I say lay down colour, you do want to build up different hues. After all, you have spent a lot of time building up a background with your acrylic paints and inks, so to put down flat artwork on top of this would not look nice. Think about shadows and highlights.
When you have finished the colouring in - I always do this at the same time, so that the same colours are used for each section and I don't get mixed up. This next tip is why I suggested the A4 Plastic container - place all your cut outs in here to keep safe and dry. It's so easy to put to one side and then something wet can get in touch with your hard work. There are several in my craft room that have been labelled with some tape and the project has been scribbled on, so I know where everything is for that project. The next part is to cut out these images - I like to use a new blade in my craft knife as it gives me more control.
When I bought the bird, it was part of a highly glittery set of embellishments that were meant to be used to decorate a wardrobe etc. As pink glitter would not go with this scheme, I had to look at how I could change the colouring (I got the tulip from another canvas from the same set!). Taking the bird and a spatula, I started to build up some definition onto the bird. You don't have to go down to each feather, just give the feel of feathers. Place to one side to dry out and get ready to paint.
Before we start on the bird, we need to make the swing look like it should be there. You can make it green to fit in or like me, go for that metal look. Let's now colour the bird and make it tropical. Using the selected paints, start to lay down colour and blend the colours at the edges - you can use a wet clean brush to feather the edges, as well as baby wipes to gently remove colour. Take your time and if you're not happy with the result, all you have to do is Gesso over and start again. When you're happy, leave to dry. You can use your heat gun however, I like to let my painted items air dry. I don't know if it's just me but l feel it gives a richer colour.
The next part is take our Glossy Accents and give the bird a highly glossy look, once again after you have done this, place to one side to dry.
Okay this is the moment we all have been aiming for... let's build up our project. Before you glue everything into place, just lay the components down on the canvas to make sure you're happy with the placement. Don't forget, don't place the main image or the focus image dead centre, always place it just off centre.
When you're happy with the way your final composition looks, start to lay down the images with your clear strong glue. Don't forget to embellish the swing, as this will give some depth to your final project.
If you want to ask any questions, then please ask away, send me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.



  1. Wish it looked so green outside right now :-)Fab canvas, Alan.

  2. Fabulously textured canvas Alan and I'm with Debs on the green bit!
    Fliss x


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