Try this simple paper-cutting idea to make your own unique nature-inspired artwork.
YOU WILL NEED
newspaper pencil 1 sheet of grey/warm grey 50cm x 70cm Ingres paper 8 sheets of A4 cartridge paper extra sheets of scrap paper scissors scalpel/craft knife and cutting mat System 3 acrylic paint in lemon yellow, cobalt blue, crimson and white acrylic retarder gel, available from Hobbycraft (hobbycraft.co.uk) small paintbrush flat medium wide-area hog-hair brush, available from Royal & Langnickel (artuk.royalbrushstore.com) kebab stick PVA glue or glue stick old plate (for mixing paint)
Cover a flat worksurface with several layers of newspaper. Draw and cut out a bird shape (a thrush works well) from cartridge paper. Mix red, yellow and a small amount of blue acrylic paint to create a red brown, and add a blob of gel retarder (scoop a bit onto the end of the small paintbrush). The gel retarder will allow you to work with the paint for longer without it drying too quickly. Load a wide-area brush with colour and practise brushstrokes on a piece of scrap paper. Make one half of the brushstroke lighter by adding more pressure to one half of the paintbrush. When you are happy with the strokes, position the brush so that it is on half of the bird’s body and paint one side of the bird in this way – with the lighter brushstroke towards the centre of the bird. Using light brushstrokes, apply paint colour to the bird’s feet. Add more blue to the mixed paint so it becomes a dark brown/blue black. Using the small brush, practise making diagonal broken strokes. When you feel you have perfected this technique, paint the thrush’s breast in this way. Paint a dot for the bird’s eye and fill in the beak. To make the painted papers for cutting out the leaves and acorn shapes, create a selection of autumn colours by mixing varying proportions of yellow and blue to make different shades of green; red and yellow to give oranges and bright reds; red and blue for dark reds and purples; red, yellow and a little blue and a little white to create various shades of brown. Add a small blob of gel retarder to each of the mixed paint colours. Paint horizontally or vertically – and loosely – in a chosen colour onto a sheet of cartridge with the wide-area brush so that the brushstrokes show (you can introduce other colours so that the paint is graduated). While the paint is wet, draw fluid oak-leaf designs into the paint with the end of the kebab stick or paintbrush. For the acorn texture, make cross-hatch marks on a light-brown painted piece of cartridge paper. Allow the papers to dry. Once dry, cut out the leaves and acorn shapes. Cut small semi-circles (cups) from the cross-hatched piece of paper and stick in place on top of the acorns. Arrange all the different components in place on the Ingres paper and, when you are happy with the design, secure in place with glue. Finally, find a toning wooden frame.