Stone Coal Studio

Stone Coal Studio

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Art Technique for Works on Plaster

My last post on September 30, 2014 showcased two new works including the first of the "September at Snow Canyon" series.  The first three works of the series are now on display at Goose Creek Studio.

September at Snow Canyon
Mixed Media on Board
12 x 12 inches
by Judith F Lochbrunner

Today I will try to explain the process of creating a plaster-on-burlap surface in photos and a few short paragraphs.

I have tried to document the steps in a new (to me) technique using plaster on burlap.  This is by no means intended to be a complete discussion as sometimes I got so involved that I forget to stop and take a photo.  My hope is that it is enough to allow you to get a better idea of the process.

Step one is to gesso the wooden boxes.  I use at least three coats and then sanded them down. A strong support like wood is required for this technique.

Step two is first cutting the burlap to the size of your surface.  Any excess can be trimmed later.  No photos were taken of mixing the plaster and then pushing it into the burlap with a stiff spatula as it was so messy.  Notice that I am working on a couple plastic bags outside.   Allow the plaster to dry completely or when it no longer feels cool to the touch.   Roll up the plaster-covered burlap to create more cracks to add even more texture.  Finally, allow any extra plaster to dry and dispose in the trash.

Step three is gluing the plaster covered burlap onto the support.  I used PVA glue.  Cover the back of the burlap with glue and press firmly to attach.  Move it inside or under cover.  Then turn it upside down and place a heavy weight on it.   Leave the weight in place for at least 24-36 hours.

Step four requires a move back outside as the plaster covered burlap is very dusty.  A base color is applied with acrylic paint.  I watered the paint down to get it to completely cover and sink into the gaps.  Allow to completely dry.

Step five is a the very messy job of sanding.  Use a dust mask if necessary and sand the surface.  A good sanding by hand removes the excess plaster and dust to prepare it for the studio.

In the studio I applied preliminary layers of paint. The paint soaks into the plaster.  When the basic design is set, a layer of acrylic gel is brushed on to seal the surface.  This allows the final details to be added to complete the work.

I continue to work on this series.  Three more works are now on the work table in the studio.  

And I have the "assistance" of the kitties as I explore this new art technique.

Many thanks to Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise, authors of Plaster Studio  and to Vera Dickerson's class  at The Studio School  for guidance on how to proceed with this technique.