Yes I do! The owner purchased 8 prints and hangs four on the wall at a time. I also hang a different original there each month. I have other art in some different places in the area but my coffee art is now exclusive to this cafe. I love the idea of people drinking coffee while surrounded by coffee art :)
Dianne, your coffee painting how-to is the mostly read and commented in our group! (about 500 views until now!) Do you have pictures of your coffee art in the local cafe? Imagine you are taking your coffee surrounded with coffee artworks – that must be a nice feeling!
“Spare me from these dreams” by Andrew Cain Mango, banana, beet, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi, and dye on utrecht printmaking paper.
What kind of butter do you use? The type of butter I used in my works is actually a vegan butter made by the brand earth balance, its consistency and resistance to melting makes it easy to keep out for long periods of time, and easy to mix with the pigments I use to create my own paint or ink substance.
How do you use the butter? I mix fabric dye into the butter to create a colored pigment for the butter and use the pure substance to block out water when I mix the dyes with water.
Do you take any special preparations? I usually just have a couple of disposable rags or old brushes to mix the pigment with the butter with some reused plastic containers from KFC or the grocery store.
Do you also purchase conventional art supplies? Which conventional materials do you usually mix or use together with butter? I go to the craft store to pick up some fabric dye. It’s cheaper than watercolor and gives a similar effect, with more vibrant colors.
When did you start using butter? Around January of 2012
How did the idea occur to you to use this material? Boycotting the purchase of expensive paints and tool I started using fabric dye to make washes and drawings, but not satisfied with the one layered dimensions of the wash, I thought about how paint is made, basically just a pigment and a vehicle, after using the butter as a blocking agent in the painting i decided to mix it with the butter to create my own type of paint at a very cheap scale, and so far it’s been working for me. The butter is made from a vegetable oil and soaks into the paintings after a few hours drying just like any other paint.
How original is this material? Are you the only one who uses butter have you seen other artwork painted with butter? I think many artists have done something similar to this but I have not met any who use the same methods i have so far.
What supports do you use? How do you apply the material on the support? I have been applying the mixture with a paper towel, and my hands as of yet, to get finer lines, i have tried using a brush but the material is best used for large backgrounds, I use carving tools to cut in lighter lines and details, using it more as a subtractive method, like ink on a lithographic stone.
Have you tried different kinds of supports? How does butter react when applied to different supports? As of yet have only tried this on paper.
Why did you choose this material? Mainly expense and experimentation.
Is this material related to your everyday life and habits and how? I work at a health foods grocery store which is how the idea for this particular butter came about. My girlfriend made vegan rice crispy treats for a co-worker and the butter was left out over night and when I was about to toss it in the rubbish bin noticed how it could be used as a vehicle in my art.
How is this material related to your creative process? (eg. What comes first: the idea or the material? Does the material define or influence the theme? Does the material inspire you?) Right now I think the material is influencing my work, I am an aggressive painter and drawer so this process slows me down and allows me to plan out the next step in my drawing.
What can you tell us about the conservation of this material? Have you noticed any changes in time (eg. hue, texture, intensity)? Do you store the artworks in particular conditions in order to conserve them better? When using the dyes they crystallize in the water, if the dye has not been fully saturated leaving a dust ( kind of like mixing plaster) which can be reconstituted in water or butter, or used as a charcoal like substance to smear and tone.
Why did you choose to paint with an uncommon material instead of using the old good watercolours? Budget restrictions, a box of dye is apprx, 1.49, four sticks of butter 4.69, a tube of water color that would give me the same amount of color and material would cost over $100, plus with the in-expense of the dye multiple colors can be mixed and used, so I have an arsenal of color and materials for much more reasonable price than traditional paints.
Does your material make a statement? That I’m cheap, smart and prolific.
What other uncommon materials do you use? Beer, Fruits and Vegetables, make for a good treat and tool when making art. I am always looking for different cheap effective ways to make art.
Do you ever say to yourself, “What the fuck am I doing?” If so, what do you do to get past it? I usually stop look at it and think what else can it be. If i can figure something out, I keep working. If not, I turn it over an start again.
Give one last useful advice to artists you would like to experiment with butter! * Keep your tools and fingers clean this gets messy and if you work in a place were your fingers are constantly seen… wear gloves. * Try something new, after school and workshops, I have learned technique is useful as an artist but experimentation is what truly puts our creative sides to the test.
Try something new, after school and workshops. I have learned technique is useful as an artist but experimentation is what truly puts our creative sides to the test.
I am deeply touched that Andrew Cain replied to my request to write a how-to for our group, because I immensely admire his art. Andrew paints with butter, beer, fruit and some other stuff that I’m sure you are going to like! Andrew paints his soul. He paints anxieties, souls, life tales, tales of emotions, psychological conditions, but also religious themes as nobody has ever been able to express them. Two words come to my mouth when I see these images: human and truth. He paints the naked truth of human beings, and the humanity of gods.
When you deal with your inner conditions, this usually gets “messy” – and that’s what happens when painting with butter and beer too. Andrew is not afraid to mess either with souls or with butter. His human figures might seem tormented and fragile at a first glance, but there is a strength that emerges from them.
Please discover this artist. Take the time to look at his images and try to see behind them.
As I was pouring the juice off the beets we had for dinner one night, I noticed how beautiful & transparent the juice was. I thought to myself….“well, why not?” So here is the result of my experiment.
The juice was extremely transparent so it took several layers to reach the darkest areas you see here. I did use water mixed with the juice to get the lightest areas. Beet juice has staining qualities so after several weeks, it hasn’t lost any of its brilliance. I hope the same can be said a year from now. Only time will tell.
It was a lot of fun to experiment with an uncommon material and I hope someday down the road, I will get inspired again to try something else.
I feel honored to receive all the votes that made me a winner in this contest….thank you so very much.
NATURAL PIGMENTS (Fay Helfer interviewed by Ina Mar)
What exactly is this material? I gather and experiment with readily available fruit, vegetables, plants, and spices from around me. Anything natural and colourful such as blueberries, red cabbage, red onions, ivy leaves and berries, pomegranate, turmeric, beets…
How do you produce it? What preparations do you have to take before using the material? When I make dishes with foods like red onions, cabbage, and beets, I save the outer layers and skins (which tend to have the most colour) for later preparation. For blueberries, I’ve found that boiling only the skins produces the best result as well. I boil and simmer them (individually), for at least 30 minutes, or until a deep colour is achieved.
What can you tell us about the conservation of this material? Have you noticed any changes in time (eg. hue, texture, intensity)? I’ve been using vinegar and clove oil to preserve the pigments so they don’t grow mold. Although, I’ve noticed that the colours can change drastically over time, from batch to batch, wood to wood, and especially wet to dry. Red cabbage sometimes turns green, or pink when vinegar is added. It can look deep purple when wet, but then can dry a very light blue. For the most part, I do test strips on pieces of wood first, but a lot of times it’s more fun and interesting to have unexpected results.
When did you start using this material? About a year ago. It’s all an ongoing experimentation, and i’m excited to learn a lot more and hear ideas through this group!
What supports do you use? How do you apply the material on the support? I mostly use brushes on wood, smudge with my fingers a lot, and always keep a rag in hand to dab, wipe, or blend.
Do you also purchase conventional art supplies? Which conventional materials do you usually mix or use together with this material? I also use pyrography to achieve solid lines and a dark contrast to the pigment washes. Mine is a regular ‘wall lenk’ wood burning pen with standard nib. For white and other colours I can’t achieve, I grind up pastel and add water, painting with it so that it stains the wood, instead of just sitting on the surface. At the end, I use a fixatif and/or polyurethane to seal and protect the artwork, though I am now looking into other natural alternatives for that as well.
How did the idea occur to you to use this material? The idea developed over time through a combination of inspiration from the magic of childhood crafts, nature and sustainability, necessity and experimentation.
Why did you choose this material? I started doing pyrography 2 years ago, on a nostalgic whim, because it reminded me of a woodburning kit my grandparents gave me as a child. I‘ve always loved the permanence of burn marks on wood, it’s almost like a tattoo. I then started to add colour to my work, but quickly found that paints didn’t work for me. Besides just lying on top of the surface (and covering the burn marks), burning on top of paint is very toxic, which lead me to look for natural solutions in my kitchen and garden.
Can you explain more about your technique or procedure? After picking out a piece of wood, I consider the grain and any designs naturally found in it. I like to have reference and inspiration around me to draw out the composition in pencil first. I then burn in a light line drawing with the woodburner, and erase (and sand smooth) any pencil marks. I then layer washes of the different hues, waiting for it to dry between layers. Another pass of pyrography comes next, burning in all the darkest darks, and finally, I usually end with white highlight touches.
First pass of burning with reference and materials used.
Adding colour. I like re-using food containers as paint palettes (this was Mochi ice-cream)
For this piece, I wanted to use the 3 primary colours and only mixes of them. From left to right (bottom): Turmeric (yellow), Beet and pomegranate blend (red), Moroccan pigment (blue). The top row is orange, green, and purple (secondary colours made from mixing the bottom three)
(Process) Asparagus Heart, at stages of completion.
(Final) Asparagus Heart, pyrography, natural pigments, and pastel on cradled Birch panel ~ 10” x 22”
What other uncommon materials would you like to experiment with? I’d like to keep on experimenting and finding new pigments from uncommon materials such as walnut husks and avocado skins, and also include more minerals, natural earth and ocher pigments.
Do you ever say to yourself, “What the fuck am I doing?” If so, what do you do to get past it? On a daily basis! Especially while doing something like spitting out blueberry skins to later boil and paint with. I’ve had many failed attempts, but knowing what doesn’t work only helps to assess what will. It’s always a fun and interesting process, win or fail, and what keeps me going is the excitement of trying new things with unexpected results.
When did you start painting with rust? How did the idea occur to you to use rust? I started rusting my wire drawings around 1998. In order to rust the wire, I had to lay the drawings onto a surface…usually just butcher paper. For years, I would use the butcher paper in collage or assemblage work, while ignoring its own intrinsic beauty.
Do you buy articles in garage sales in order to use the rust for painting or do you use found objects? The garage sale items that are being shown are from my most recent installation…that was appropriately called “Garage Sale”. These items were all purchased at local garage sales where I also gathered stories about the objects. I spent several years on the project, collecting the objects and stories, doing the wire drawings, and finally finishing up the wire paintings. What kinds of objects are these? Objects with a history, with stories to be shared.
How to you gather the rust? The rusting process is actually divided into two parts. First, the wire drawings (which is first and foremost what I am rusting) is coated with a Modern Options product called “Instant Iron”. This metallic paint is brushed on with a brush. The surface I work on is a sturdy water color paper. I’m quite intentional with my brush strokes, and work to make sure the wire stays in the same place throughout the process. The second part is called “Instant Rust”. This patina is a blue acid based liquid, and is brushed on after the first coat of the iron is dry. Applied liberally, I allow it to puddle or splatter knowing that where it puddles will create the brighter colors. Once both are dry, I remove the newly rusted wire, and it leaves the beautiful rust painting below.
Do you also purchase conventional art supplies? Not much of what I do is very conventional. After all, I draw three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional format with a three dimensional object. As long as I wash out my brushes well, I find quality brushes are best for making marks.
Are you the first one or only one who uses this material or have you seen other artwork painted with rust? I know that the Modern Option products are used quite often with assemblage artists and also many craft artists. There is a website that features rust painters…but I’ve been turned down because I use a commercial product to create the rust.
Why did you choose this material? I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The salt air is quite harsh on metals, and I remember many toys that were left outside overnight, not to mention the damage it does to automobiles. My first installation dealt with a days worth of laundry from our home, and it seemed appropriate when searching my past, that the wire clothing should be rusted. Since most of my work is autobiographical, the meaning of the rust was two fold…(1) a symbol of my childhood, and (2) a much more personal representation of depression. Credit given to Andrew Solomon in “The Noonday Demon.”
What can you tell us about the conservation of this material? There is a third part to the rusting process. Modern Options provides a sealer that is intended to keep the rust from continuing the rust process, or to save its color. I have found the product provides a heavy rubber feel, which is not the look or feel of what I am wanting. Have you noticed any changes in time (eg. hue, texture, intensity)? I’ve been using the product for over 12 years now, and most of the change is due to layering of dust. The paintings, when put behind glass don’t have that problem.
Do you store the artworks in particular conditions in order to conserve them better? When not being shown, I keep the rusted wire pieces in boxes to prevent exposure to dust.
Why did you choose to paint with an uncommon material / with a recycled material? The rust paintings came as part of the process, so maybe you can say it chose me.
What is the resonance of your uncommon material to other artists / to the public / to your family and friends… I would say that audiences come away pleasantly surprised, especially since they are able to see two pieces of artwork that depend on the other in their creation.
Have you already had any exhibitions with rust artworks or any publications? I have had quite a few installations and showing of my rusted wire. It was in 2007 that I first showed the paintings as part of an installation. You can see my installations, several in video format on my website. I have several books published that also feature the work and are available on Blurb.com: Garage Sale, and WIRED!. Both feature my installations.
Give one last useful advice to artists you would like to experiment with rust! Don’t go into it thinking that you can control the process, or the look. Every brushstroke is unpredictable as to how it will react to the instant rust. Enjoy the mystery and process.
This month’s How-To is about painting with rust. We are proud to count Joel Armstrong among the members of the Uncommon Materials to draw or paint with group and invite you to visit his wired and rusted universe, to learn about his fascinating creative process, but above all to get inspired by this artist’s Mind.
Artist Joel Armstrong was raised in Corpus Christi, TX, where he grew to love fishing, salt air, humidity and rust. He attended Texas Tech University, and spent over 20 years as both an illustrator and graphic designer. While art director of Group, a magazine for youth ministers, at the age of 39, Joel returned to College to receive his MFA in drawing from Colorado State University (2001). At CSU, Joel began to work in wire, and then became interested in installation art. He has continued to do wire installation 10 years after graduation. He uses baler wire, and has been rusting the wire since he first began bending and twisting the medium. He currently teaches drawing and illustration at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He is married, and is father of 3.
What exactly is food colouring? What type of food colouring do you use? Food colouring is used in baking to colour icing or cakes in different colours.
Do you buy food colouring especially in order to use it for art, or are you “upcycling” old material? I buy it especially for art.
Do you also purchase conventional art supplies? Which conventional materials do you usually mix or use together with food colouring? Yes I buy pigment ink and acrylic ink.
When did you start using food colouring? I started using it a course in 2011.
How did the idea occur to you to use food colouring? The course instructor supplied a variety of mediums to experiment with.
How do you apply the material on the support? I use brushes, calligraphy pen, and dripping.
What supports do you use? I mostly use recycled paper, book pages and cotton paper.
Have you tried different kinds of supports? How does the material react when applied to different supports? Yes, the recycled paper I use is not very absorbent and can stand a lot of water and colouring. This allows for distortion of forms by adding water on the image to let it morph and flow. Cotton paper allow for excellent dripping and pooling and water can also be washed over to bleed the colouring.
How much time do the materials take to dry? It depends on how much water I added on the image, absorbent paper such as cotton paper takes a while to dry.
Why did you choose this material? I chose it for it for symbolic use as well as the brightness of the red achieved. Traditional ink do not offer that. I also use it because it is way cheaper than other materials.
Your themes are symbolic, critical towards society and express a search of a female identity. Does your material make a statement too? For instance, you often paint witches, priestesses, dismembered female figures, fashion themes and nude women personifying a very unconventional ideal of beauty – in which way is food colouring related to the symbolism of your themes? I think food colouring refers to traditional views of women as homemaker and caretaker, baking for kids and so forth.
For me, the fact that food colouring is edible indirectly refers to bulimia/anorexia and by painting unconventional beauties with this material you are criticizing the narrow ideal of external beauty perpetuated by the mass media. Had you already thought of that? Did you choose food colouring for that reason? Yes I have and I thin food colouring refers to baking cakes, it comments on women’s obsession with slenderness and the taboo of sweet things.
Is the material related to your everyday life and habits and how? For instance do you like cooking? Yes I do like cooking but I don’t think that that its related to my everyday life.
What can you tell us about the conservation of this material? Have you noticed any changes in time (eg. hue, texture, intensity)? Do you store the artworks in particular conditions in order to conserve them better? I use liquid glue, wax and clear varnish or modge podge to conserve the work and have not seen any changes.
Why did you choose to paint with an uncommon material? I like experimenting with different mediums and it offers effects not found in other materials. For instance, bleach changes the colour to a rusted yellow and it also allows for removal and changing the image.
What other uncommon materials do you use? I use wax, old book pages, dress pattern tissue paper and dress pattern instructions.
What is the resonance of your uncommon material to other artists? Artists seem to be intrigued by it and interested.
Have you already had any exhibitions with food colouring artworks or any publications? I have been exhibiting the works only recently and have had some sales. I also started the sketchbook project and used material extensively in the sketcbook.
Give one last useful advice to artists who would like to experiment with this material! It works excellently with white and acrylic ink and can be mixed with other inks.
as the contributor of the monthly How-To of our Uncommon Materials to draw or paint with group!
I am interested in the female form and the objectification and dismemberment of women. I try to make sense of this dismemberment by the very act of dismembering. I am subverting the traditional role of men, not taking control of the body myself and fragmenting and dismembering it – more often than not, the artworks manifest themselves through the female gaze. Through this process I create my own phantasmagoric world of women.
Throughout my work I aim to portray the masks women use in order to be accepted by contemporary society. These masks become an alternative ‘skin’, distorting one’s identity. By constantly using masks we lose ourselves in the process and our identity and sense of self becomes trapped in the mask. The mask conceals that which we don’t want others to see, thus deceiving others and distorting our concept of self. Masking is a form of ‘Othering’. To place oneself as Other or as masked is already to position oneself in a resistive position, whereby difference is threatening to (the logical explanations, habitual practices and unquestioned assumptions of the established order and its defined categories.
This is the 2009 article of the Manly Daily about the “Make up Your Mind” workshop, where Midori Furze shared her techniques with over 70 mothers and daughters, who created wonderful artworks using old make up products,.
Thank you so much for your wonderful work, Ina!! I am happy to see the interview is up on RedBubble!! Thank you for Angela and Dianne for your comments. I also enjoyed reading your interview with Ina. Happy drawing!!
Angela, thank you so much for your supportive and encouraging words! It is always great to hear that one of our group members’ how-tos inspired someone! I think some experimented with wax too after your inspiring waxy recipe for a colorful collage !
I have tons of old lipstick that I can’t wear because (after menopause) I’ve acquired an allergy to orris root and break out terribly whenever I try to wear them, You are absolutely right, they were too expensive to just throw away so I have a box full. After reading your how-to, Midori, I think I’ll give lipstick and eye shadow creations a try.
Thank you so much for taking time to do this in so much detail, I really appreciate it! Thanks also to you, Ina… for helping your artists grow and experiment! :)
Thank you so much for this wonderful contribution! Thank you for this thorough description of your materials and procedure! Midori, you are absolutely right, you don’t have to buy art supplies to start creating art. Experimenting with everyday material may sometimes result to very interesting and original artwork. On top of that, recycling materials that are of no use any more gives us artists the lightness to create freely without the fear of spoiling expensive materials. As Dianne Ilka, our last contributor, has said: “I love the idea of using simple materials because you really have nothing to loose, yet you may just gain a wonderful artwork. I often find that with expensive materials, people are often less inclined to just experiment for the fun of it because they don’t want to waste their art supplies.” (The Uncommon Materials January 2012 How-To: Dianne Ilka – Painting with coffee)
I think that what you do with make-up products is called UPCYCLING rather than just recycling, because you give a new, better notion to an old object, you create a new use for a “useless” material.
Midori, I am really happy that you have had success, workshops, exhibitions and publications with your uncommon materials’ artworks. This gives us all the strength to continue experimenting and creating!
Artwork with make-up products by Midori Furze (Midori Furze interviewed by Ina Mar)
by Midori Furze
When we were little, we watched our mums putting make-up on their faces in front of the mirror. It looked very interesting, but we were not allowed to play with lipstick.
We may have memories of times when we played with make-up and our mums found out. Or perhaps the situation was reversed, and we were the mothers who terrified to see our children with expensive red lipstick on their hands.
You may have some old lipstick in your drawers. They’re too good to throw away, but the colours aren’t right for you any longer or they’re too old to put on your face….
Why don’t you use it in a different way and draw something with them?
Let’s up-cycle old make-up products and have fun with them!
QUESTIONS What kinds of different make-up products do you use? Mainly lipstick, eyeliners, eye shadows, blush. I also used nail polish, glitter, lip liners, mascara…I experiment with anything in a drawer.
Are these your own make-up products or do you buy them especially in order to use them for art? I started with my own old lipstick. After I did some workshops, I’ve got some donations from people who heard about my workshops and supported me.
When did you start using make-up products? 2008
How did the idea occur to you to use make-up products? In 2008, Creativemums Network contacted me and asked if I could run a workshop using lipsticks. I liked recycling conceptional projects. So I started drawing portraits with lipsticks. It was fun playing with them. Well, I wasn’t allowed to play with my mother’s make-ups when I was little. When I had my own lipstick, it was too expensive to waste it. Lipstick is similar to oil sticks but creamier and smells good.
Can you explain a little more about your technique or procedure? Lipstick is limited in colour range. So it is a tonal exercise drawing. Use white paper and add mid tones and dark tones. Or use light brown paper and add light tones and dark tones. Here is my example using white paper.
Why did you choose to make artworks with an uncommon material? I believe that you don’t have to have “Art materials” from the art supply shop to start creating artwork. Stepping out of the square box may release your spirit light and free and happy. Just look around you and think how to make artwork from something in front of you. You don’t draw on paper. You can draw picture with split milk or sugar on a table. Peel the orange to make some animal shapes.
Have you already had any exhibitions with make-up artworks or any publications? In 2009, the local newspaper, Manly Daily had interviewed me about my workshop. I made “Make up Your Mind” group on RedBubble with some RB artists, Angela and Geogie and organised a real exhibition in Manly during the Manly Arts Festival 09. We invited Some RB artists to the exhibition. The Art magazine, “Fine art & decorative Painting” contacted me and published my article. In 2010, I was selected Warringah Art Prize – Waste to Art section with “Lipstick Girl”.
Give one last useful advice to artists you would like to experiment with this material! You can’t fix the mistake but don’t be afraid. Simply enjoy drawing with it.
Midori Furze is a Japanese-born, currently residing in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She has been painting professionally for four years and has already had several solo exhibitions as well as participations in collective exhibitions. She creates origami artwork, oil and acrylic paintings, mixed media artwork, but also uses an uncommon material: make-up products! That way she upcycles old lipstick, maskara, eye-liner, foundation, eye shadows… In 2009, Midori and fellow artist Angela van Boxtel, organized workshops and an exhibition with make-up artwork (portraits). The project was called “Make up Your Mind – Lipstick Girls series”.
This month we are proud to welcome Midori as the contributor of the monthly How-To of our Uncommon Materials to draw or paint with group!
I’m so glad that you joined the group Liz! @ donnamalone – I think that a lot of people don’t give art a go because a lot of the materials can be quite expensive. I love the idea of using simple materials because you really have nothing to loose, yet you may just gain a wonderful artwork. I did the dribbly trees (like nescafe forest) at the nursing home and they came up with some wonderful artwork :) I often find that with expensive materials, people are often less inclined to just experiment for the fun of it because they don’t want to waste their art supplies.