Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Let the dance begin

The next challenge has been announced at the Cubby Hole. The theme for June is "Let the dance begin", and I have given the honour of creating the inspiration piece.

This has been inspired by Yo-Yo Ma's version of "Libertango", and the fact that I find the Tango probably the most amazing dance form to watch. Libertango has been one of the ideas floating around in my inspiration book for quite a while, just looking for an idea to take shape.

The canvas is 8x8 and was layered with gesso and then a couple of layers of deep red acrylic.
The main image has been applied using gesso transfer (see below). Many thanks to Sue Allan for instructions.
Once the process was complete, the background was shaded with distress inks, poster image applied, and lettering added using stained grungepaper.

The challenge is open to all, not just Cubby Hole regulars and the creations will be displayed on the Cubby Hole blog at the start of July.

*Gesso transfer.
This is an easy technique, but needs a bit of trial and error.
Find an image from a magazine, or print out using laser printer (ink jet print isn't waterproof). The image will be reversed when applied.
Apply a layer of gesso to canvas, card or fabric. Experiment to find how thick you need the gesso.
Apply the image face-down in the gesso and ensure it is in contact all over, removing air-pockets. Allow to dry completely.
When dry, rub the paper with fingertips soaked in water. Remove some of the paper without rubbing through the image, or getting the work too wet. Allow to dry.
When dry again, work over the surface with a reasonably stiff paintbrush to remove more of the paper. Allow to dry. Repeat until satisfied with results.


  1. Wonderful inspiration Nigel! looking forward to seeing it in the "flesh" :)

  2. Nigel, This is beautiful. I love the movement. You can almost hear the music.
    The Tango is the only ballroom dance I have "mastered" and I say that lightly.
    Have you read "Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home" by Maria Finn ? It's a story about love and loss and life and Tango.

  3. Thanks for the 'tutorial' Nigel!!! I do gel medium transfers, but never tried a gesso one... in fact - it's too long since I made a tranfer anyway. I wish I had more time, I'm inspired to go make transfers right NOW... (but it's almost midnight *teehee* - I guess I dream about it then....)

  4. Oh Nigel! This is lovely! It's interesting and exciting and even a little sexy! Awesome!

    Thank you, too, for the tutorial! I've wanted to try this, but all of the prior instruction I've seen makes the whole thing sound SO COMPLICATED! Your tutorial is simple, easy to follow and, best of all for me, a written rather than video tutorial (video tutorials make me impatient)!

    Sheesh ... sort of sounds like EVERYTHING makes me inpatient, doesn't it? :) ha ha

  5. I am with Cuddly Bunny ...not the most patient of characters so agree your simple articulate tutorial is FAB AND I think I am going to say that this is your best ever work!!!!!! Love it! It will be on Cubby Hole Blog real soon...
    "That Woman"
    PS>......One word ......WORDS! LOL

  6. That image transfer looks great, love the slightly faded look to it! Like the video too :)

  7. Hi, Nigel the Angel ! =)

    I thank you very much for leaving the comment on my story today =) I know just what you mean when we can't find the right words, oh believe me, I know ! But you did leave me words and you don't know how much it means to me !!! I really appreciate it and BIG HUGS to you ! =)

    Regina with big xoxoxo