Saturday, June 16, 2012

What I Would Have Done Differently

Today was a gloomy-skied Saturday, so I decided to spend it painting the egg-carton-stone fireplace.
Immediately I realized that a sunny day would have been better, as it was difficult to really see my colours as they would appear in regular daylight.  So next time:  wait for a sunny day.

A good reading light would probably be just as good, but my eco-friendly husband does not believe in those.  :-(  Like someone a century ago, I do most of my reading with the natural light from the window.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by how the fireplace turned out, though I definitely did make a few mistakes.  The next one will be better.  (You knew there would be a next one, didn't you?)

This one was probably obvious to everyone else a long time ago, but using a green egg-carton was really making things a lot harder than they needed to be.  Covering up the green without saturating the stones (and losing their " stony" contours in the process) was probably the most fiddly part of the whole operation.  So next time -- a more neutral tone of egg carton, please!

Secondly, I think I should have first given the styrofoam backing a coat of some masonry-coloured paint.  Grey or even ivory would have looked better than the stark white I had.  (And which again presented me with challenges in coverage.)

But you know, painting the fireplace was a lot of fun!  I approached it as a learning experience and hence felt free to just play.  I experimented with painting technique, starting first on the side of the fireplace that would not really be "seen" once it was installed.  What I finally decided worked best was to begin with a mid-tone and middle consistency to lightly cover up the egg-carton.  Then, when the paint was no longer wet, I dry-brushed a darker colour (in my case, a dark grey) on the contours of the stones, to bring them out visually.  I finished by adding accents in lighter, brighter colours (in my case a kind of pale sandstone and a medium umber).  And yes, there were still some greenish tinges, which will just have to represent a dusting of moss, I guess.  I wanted to hate it, but somehow I couldn't.  It is probably more suitable to a family of mice than a family of Tudors, but it's rather sweet, and I like it.

Next time I think I may try using artist's pastel crayons instead of paint, to eliminate some of the "muddiness" of the colours.  This time out I used only colours of acrylic paint that I had on hand.  They were:  Soft Sand, Burnt Umber and True Grey by Aleene's and Rain Grey by Delta Ceramcoat (imported for me from Canada by Jeff!)

Note  the Don Enrico Jalapeno Chiles bottle which I used to hold the water to dip my brush into.  :-)  Don Enrico is the first brand I have bought here in Germany that actually tastes like Mexican food back home in California.  We actually had excellent tacos for lunch today!

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