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Painting Backgrounds

Notes of interest:
If you want an opaque background colour on you project, use an acrylic matt paint, those specifically made ofr folk art being the best. I like to use Jo Sonja's background colours. Using a 25 mm or 1 inch inexpensive brush from a hardware store, or a sponge brush, apply an even coat, watching for drips or build-ups in corners or routed edges, which take a long time to dry. I never mind seeing brush strokes and don't become too particular about smoothness because I rather like the streaky look when antiqued.

When dry, sand the piece well and follow with a second coat of paint, and then when dry, sand again.


Notes of interest
Before you paint a design on your project you must prepare the surface. If you are using an old piece, you need to sand it really well to remove any chipped paint - or have it commercially stripped if you feel you can not do it yourself. Nail holes should be filled, but I never worry about dents, knots or imperfections in the timber itself because they add an interesting texture to the rustic type of paint.

Sand the piece lightly prior to painting with aluminium oxide paper of grade 180 if you can get it, otherwise, wet and dry sandpaper of the same grade works well too. Pay particular attention to routed edges or the edges of plywood, which sometimes are a bit uneven, using household (soapless) steel wool.

Notes of interest.

Notes of interest.
Today there is a revival of this colourful and rustic look in an effort to bring back individuality and to replace the soulessness of stark modern pieces with the warmth of handpainted treasures. The important thing for the present-day folk artist to consider is that there are no rules. If you are folk, then your interpretation of the rustic charm is all that matters. Newly created pieces inspired by the painters of old and attempting to capture their simplicity can still be classified as folk art.

Tea Bag tiles

There are various issues involved in putting accurate dates to Bauernmalerei. First, the changes in furniture painting did not correspond exactly to the major movements in painting, sculpture and architecture. Rural artists moved at their own pace, as the influences of the classical schools of art were confined to the cities. These rural artisan, having only limited contact with the outside world, preserved their traditions, while at the same time, added their own inventions and styles, which varied depending on geographical location. This makes it very difficult for historians to date the furniture as the changes were slow and the styles overlapped.
From the Book: Folk Art by Diana Brandt

Tea bag tiles in dark blue and yellow

Why or how the painted furniture know as Bauernmalerei began nobody seems sure, Perhaps it was just a trend. During the late Gothic period a strong folkloric influence began to appear alongside a definite religious content. Ecclesiastical painters were known for decorating the ceilings of rural churches and castles in the Middle Agen, and some furniture is believed to have been painted by them. These people would have been abole to execute the more artistic pieces (for example, armoirs with scenes of the four seasons) as they were familiar with painting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. This would have been so especially from the latter half of the eighteenth century, with the closure of the monasteries leaving monks looking for other forms of employment.

Painting furniture

The Germanic people were known for their interest in decorated furniture as far back as 2,000 years ago. There were various reasons for painting on wooden furniture: to protect it, to imitate the more expensive timbers and hide poor quality, and to decorate it by emulating carving and inlay. In the sixteenth century, the earliest techniques of decorating furniture were carving, followed by a combination of carving and painting. Very simple stencil designs were used initially in muted earth colours, and then inlay work that attempted to imitate the more expensive furnitures. The two main techniques used for this inlay work were: intarsia, in which the timber was chiselled out and the spaces filled with variously coloured pieces of wood or other materials such as ivory and mother-of-pearl: and marquetry, the glueing of different coloured small pieces of veneer onto the timber surfaces, which allowed for more detailed work that often included ivory, metal, mother-of-peartl, tortoiseshell, horn or sesmi-precious stones.

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Open your eyes

I would like to inspire you to open your eyes and start looking at colours, flowers, light and movement in a new way, and to appreciate the old designs in their simplicity. The prints above are old, but yet they are so delicate and pretty.

Folk Art

In older times, many house hold objects wer painted by individuals had no formal training, but simply too joy in decorating the things that surrounded them. The colours and patterns in these old objects seem to reflect simple patterns and designs. Folk art is for everybody. The technique is simple and there are no hard and fast rules. Just paint something pretty. Any folk magazines have lessons in a few basic techniques and they also have lots of designs and patters that you can copy. The key to success in doing fold art is your own individual style. While taking inspirating from the old designs, and colours, the charm of folk art is that you don't have to be perfect, in fact, it is preferable to keep the naivety with which you began. BOe creative without fear of failure.

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Tea bag tiles in soft colors.

Four tea bag tiles. I love these tiles. The colour themes are similar, not bright, but very nice. The tiles could be used to make a border, used for your tea bag folding, put on a decoupage project, used for collage, greeting cards or other paper crafts. The colours and dark red, navy blue, cream, gold and black.

Although I originall worked as a draftsman, I have alway been interested in arts and crafts. From plaster casting, knitting, crochet, oil and acrylic painting, folk art painting, making greeting cards, drawing, using pastelles and of course decoupage. I first discovered decoupage when looking through an "American Handicrafts" magizine. That magazine no longer exists, but it however, introduced me to decoupage. I have made dozens of decoupage pieces, some now probably at least 25 years old. One of the mistakes I made with my first decoupage pieces, which were done on timber, is that I did not varnish the back as I did the front. I left the back of the piece with the raw wood exposed and the pieces eventually bowed because of moisture in the air getting into the timber from the back.

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