Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Too Much?

Life has become more chaotic between Twitter, Facebook, several blogs, enewsletter & keeping my website current. Instead of being so scattered and painting a little, doing social media a little - I realized that if I can't carve out a solid block of time to paint my work will not improve. So now I am setting dedicated time to paint & to do social media.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tips on Adding a Textured Border to Painting

Since I paint very flat I like to add dimension to my art with Creative Paperclay® elements. Sometimes it is a cast object, a raised circle or a border. I love the texture and depth that I get plus it pushes my art to a new level. This one was finished with paint and gold rub (my favorite thing on earth).

Creative Paperclay®
Vintage wallpaper
Wax paper

I started by marking my art and laying down some tape so I would get a clean edge. I laid a thick rope of Creative Paperclay® on a slightly dampened surface and kneaded it down to spread it out a bit.

Next I laid wax paper over the paper clay and brayered it flat. The wax paper keeps the Creative Paperclay® from sticking to the brayer and lifting up while I am flattening it out. When flat, I removed the wax paper.

I have a collection of vintage wallpaper that I use as texture plates. I picked one and laid it over the clay
and brayered the texture into it.

With an exacto knife I scored the edge of the tape then lifted the tape off. It leaves a nice straight edge.

The last thing I do before letting the clay dry is to smooth out the edges. I dip my fingers in water and rub the edges to give it a nice edge. When the clay is dry, it is time to paint.

Take time off today to play.

—Darlene Olivia McElroy

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Take an old book from a thrift store and turn it into a journal for yourself or for a gift. Simple and easy.

Old book
Creative Paperclay®
Collage elements

I started by painting gesso on the interior pages. This adds a little weight to the pages as well as give you a great surface for journaling on. I let some of the text show through for interest.

Next, I added Creative Paperclay® on the cover of the old book and added texture and pattern by brayering stamping and stencils on the clay.

I added paint, metallic rubs and then glued on collage elements.

This is a great gift for all ages.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reclaim Your Art

Sometimes you have unfinished paintings or you have grown as an artist since you did the piece or there may be a million other reasons you don't like a piece. Or perhaps trade with a friend. So let's add paper clay. It may turn out great and/or be a wonderful learning experience.
Creative Paperclay®
Acrylic paints
Gold rub
Old painting or background

Find an old painting finished or not that you have hidden in your studio. Look at it and think about how you can improve upon it with Creative Paperclay®.
Roll out the paper clay onto your art. I like to dampen the surface slightly. I loved the fact that the piece has curved edges so it was easy to wrap the paper clay around the edge.
Stamp or brayer a texture plate onto the paper clay.
Add other embellishments made from the paper clay. Let dry. When dry, paint and add gold rub.

It will feel great to add life to an old painting. Have fun.

Darlene Olivia McElroy

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Grunge Surface Tip with Creative Paperclay

 As a fine artist I am always trying to find ways to add texture to my art and usually practice on one of the many old pieces of art that are laying around the studio. I love the grunge line quality I got and the results even surprised me.

Creative Paperclay®
Acrylic paint
Wax paper
Painted Panel (old)
 Matte medium
I started by mixing a navy blue acrylic paint into a slurry of Creative Paperclay® with my palette knife until it was well mixed. Since my surface was mainly orange and brown I decided to make my slurry color a cool color.

I roughly spread the colored slurry onto an old painting (on a panel) then laid wax paper over it and brayered it flat. I left the wax paper on until the slurry was almost dry then I made lines by scraping with my finger nail (because I am lazy). Finished it with a coat of matte medium. I will definitely be using this technique in a painting soon.

Darlene Olivia McElroy

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hands Up!

I wanted to make an organic looking hand. It is actually a little creepy but I was thinking of New Orleans and all the voodoo shops when I was creating it.


Creative Paperclay®
Aluminum foil
Wood skewers
Encaustic Was
Raw umber acrylic paint

The easy part was to gather all the pieces for my armature as they were all in my kitchen.  I started with making a wad of aluminum foil for the palm area of the hand.

Next I pushed the trimmed skewers into the foil. I found that I had to trim the skewers a little more than I had originally.

Paper clay was applied to my armature. I did this in several steps. I would do one side, let it dry and do the other side. It made it easier to control plus it worked great as the new clay adheres to the dry clay well.

Finally I added a wash of raw umber paint. When dry I coated it with encaustic was.

Darlene Olivia McElroy

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Image Transfers on Creative Paperclay®

I love transfers, wrote a book on transfers (Image Transfer Workshop) and it is my favorite thing to do so I had to try it on Creative Paperclay®. It works great!!! The texture is porous enough to take the transfer well. Just make sure that the clay is thoroughly dry and fairly flat. The one I did here has rough edges which is my preference but you can spend more time and get a more perfect transfer. Great for shrines, mobiles or ???
You can draw or paint on top of the finished transfer or even sand it back in areas.


Black & white or color toner image
(must have good contrast-soft prints won't work well)
Chartpak colorless blender
Creative Paperclay®
Colored pencils (if desired)

 Step 1 - Lay your toner image face down on your flat disk of Creative Paperclay® and apply the Chartpak colorless blender to it liberally. Best to do this process in small areas at a time.
Step 2 - Burnish in all directions, apply the blender & burnish again. Continue steps 1 and 2 until you have done the whole area.

If you burnish only in one direction, the strokes will show. I use the end of my blender pen to burnish as it is already in my hand and ready to go.
Check periodically to see how it is transfering.

Try it and post your projects to the blog. We would love to see them.

Have fun!

Darlene Olivia McElroy