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The Creative Process – ‘I Can’t Wait to See You Again, Either?’

Follow a fascinating creative process, starting with a blank wood panel, to the finished piece. See the art develop and reveal itself step by step.

Artist Spotlight: ‘I Can’t Wait to See You Again, Either?’

I thought it was about time to document one of my paintings, so you could see how I go about my artwork, from conception to completion.

This piece was kickstarted by my friends at ArtResin. It all came about after I filled in a survey, and then out of the blue, I received an invitation to produce something creative with their product.

I was delighted to be told I would be sent a complementary 32oz High Gloss Epoxy Resin Kit. I have used other brands of resin before, but I was very excited to try this product out.  I have never used ArtResin before, so I wanted to see if it was any good?

I am going to share with you my creative process and the steps I followed to complete the challenge. I hope you find it interesting, and that it may inspire you to try something different.

The Creative Process Methodology | Contents

The Creative Process Methodology

1. Obligatory PANIC!
Adrian Reynolds look of panic!
THIS IS PANIC - Allegedly...

Wife: Your getting what for free? What are you going to do?

Ren: Commence fighting off the impostor syndrome.

Wife: That’s great, but don’t forget the following jobs…..

Ren: Exit stage left.

2. Received ArtResin
  • True to their word and as promised the ArtResin arrived.  Trust me, you do not want this stuff to leak in transit, so it was great to see such quality sturdy packaging.
  • The kit comes in two 16 oz bottles, one is the Resin itself, and the other is the hardener.
  • For those of us that are metric, the 32 fl oz kit is equivalent to 946 ml. To find out how much you might need to coat your project check out ArtResin’s very useful calculator.
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1. Box of ArtResin 32 fl oz
3. Prep Wood Painting Panel
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2. Ready, Set Square, Go!
  • I have experimented with Resin on Canvas in the past, but I find you get a better finish by using a solid substrate. 

  • For this piece I selected a 40 x 30cm (15.7 x 11.8′) Wood Painting Panel. This is made from a Basswood panel cradled with a solid Pine wood frame to prevent warping.

  • After a some light sanding, I used a set square and pencil to create some guide lines for the border and lightly marked up the centre lines.
4. Layout Border Design
  • I decided I would try my hand at a Baroque style design for the border area. There are plenty of resources on the internet, and reference books available.

  • If you have time you can create your design freehand. For this piece, I transferred the design using Saral Transfer Paperwhich is ideal for precision tracing on any surface. 

Ren’s Top Tips

  • Use quality low tack masking tape to hold your design down, this will avoid any gum residue.

  • Keep the pencil sharp, and do use too much pressure, let the transfer paper make the mark. 
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3. Transfer Paper
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4. Trace Baroque Design
5. Pyrography - Writing with Fire
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5. Border Design
  • Once I have a rough outline of the transferred design – I bring you FIRE!

  • Pyrography or Pyrogravure, is the free handed art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks.

Ren’s Top Tips

  • Just use a medium pressure when transferring you design, you can always go over lightly with a pencil if needs be afterwards.
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6. Pyrography Pen
  • As you can see the tip gets very hot. The Pyrography pen has temperature adjustment from 450°C to 750°C (842°F to 1382°F), and will work for most wood burning needs. You can also use this tool on other various materials, such as wood, leather or gourd.

Ren’s Top Tips

  • Don’t press the red button! Don’t press the red button! SERIOUSLY don’t touch the tip to see how hot it is!

  • Use in a location with good ventilation, as these panels tend to use laminated wood which contain glue.
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7. 50% Burnt
  • This is one of my new tools, and to be honest, it’s been a while since I did any wood burning. To reacquaint myself, I invested in a hobbyist model, although professional kits are available.

  • It’s a really great technique, and a great tool for so many types of projects. 

  • A variety of lines can be produced with different tips, and a range of tones can be achieved by varying the temperature.

Ren’s Top Tips

  • Stay away from cheap ‘Soldering Iron’ type models, I recommend a Pyrography Kit with a voltage regulator and built in transformer.
6. Prime and Basecoat
  • Before I prepped the painting surface, its time to get the masking tape out. I have carefully masked off the border, as I don’t want any paint in this area.

  • I then prepped the surface with two light coats of Gesso, which primes the surface and provides bite for the paint. No harm giving this a light sanding. I use a high grade grit wet and dry sandpaper.

Ren’s Top Tips

  • For a more professional looking job, I suggest masking off the underneath/bottom edge of the frame. Masking can be time consuming, but you will be glad you did in the end.

  • Once masked off, I also push some notice board pins in. This lifts the painting up, stops it sticking to your work area, and allows you to scrape paint or resin drips off.
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8. Mask Off Border

Ren’s Top Tips

  • Stay away from very cheap beginners airbrushes, particularly ones that use tins of propellant, they will break both your heart and your wallet.

     

  • I recommend any good ‘reversed engineered’ dual action airbrush, and a small compressor to start out with.

     

  • IMPORTANT! Spray in a location with good ventilation, wear a mask or use a small spray booth with an extractor fan.
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9. Grey Basecoat (Grisaille)
  • I recommend a variety of light beverages whilst I work, usually Barry’s Tea.

     

  • Beer or other products, tend to make you venture into the realm of Surrealism.

Ren’s Top Tips

  • I learnt both the Art of Japanese Tea Ceremonies, and the technique of Raku by studying Ceramics. Learn to make your tea properly, boiling water ONLY!

     

  • Don’t spray your airbrush into your beverage!
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10. Mind your Cupán Tae
7. Texture and Image Stencils
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11. Dot Fade Template
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12. Stencil First Pass
  • I like to create some textures to paint on top of, as it makes things more interesting. Here is a dot fade template made from Mylar (BoPET). I spray an off white colour through the template, and use a net curtain, to create more texture.
  • Next, I used my homemade four part stencil of a nurse wearing a facemask. I had used this stencil previously, but I wanted to use it again to create a mirror image. You might be able to see I have also started a design on the edge of the frame.
  • I have used a range of grey tones to build up the image. Just go with the flow. At this stage I am trying to build up layers, and thinking about the illusion of depth.

Ren’s Top Tips

  • Rather than use various paint bottles to hold your stencils in place, invest in some Airbrush Stencil Weights.
8. Texture Detailing & Light and Dark
  • The next stage is to build up more layers and depth, as I find this provides a much more interesting background to work on. Sometimes it is gradually lost, but often it subtly remains.
  • I have used a combination of stencils and an old ‘skool’ custom paint technique called Lacing, by airbrushing through some net curtain.

Ren’s Top Tips

    • Remember, light layers of paint, build it up slowly and keep the airbrush moving.

       

    • Start to think where the light is coming from, for this piece I decided it would be coming from the right.

       

    • I purposely left areas of the wood panel exposed, as I love the way the grain will be enhanced by the resin.
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13. Stencil in Place
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14. Tone Work
9. Foiled Again
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15. Imitation Leaf
  • Often referred to as Gilding, Burnishing or Leafing, I thought I would add some Gold, Rose Gold, Silver Leaf embellishment to further compliment Baroque border. This will really pop in the light, and look fantastic under the glossiness of the Resin. You can find leaf used on all manner of things, from Buddhist Statues to antique picture frames and furniture.

  • You can add even more value to you work by buying actual Karat Gold or Silver leaf. Obviously, its more expensive, and you don’t want to waste it as you don’t get many sheets in a pack.

  • An acrylic adhesive called Size is used to stick the leaf down. Size has an extended open time for bonding metal leaf and foils to a variety of surfaces.

Ren’s Top Tips

    • I find that a make up blusher brush works really well at gently removing excess leaf.

    • Tell your wife that you are using her make up brush first.

    • Engine Turning or Jewelling is another technique that can be applied to leaf, I think it looks fantastic.
10. Resin & Mica Detailing
  • I’m not giving you all my secrets, but in this step I mixed a small batch of Resin with Mica powder. This should add a subtle metallic sheen.

  • I have also detailed the edges of the panel with an abstract surface pattern design.

Ren’s Top Tips

  • You can mix a small amount of Mica pigment into your paints, or even a clear varnish to highlight areas.
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16. Mica Powder
11. The Final Pour
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17. Warm the Resin
  • If your ArtResin is colder than room temperature, I recommend using a water bath to warm your resin prior to mixing.

  • Curing is accelerated by heat, so be aware that warming the resin in a water bath cuts down your 45 minute working time by about 10 minutes.

Ren’s Top Tips

    • While working with Resin, keep your workplace clean, free from dust and drafts.

    • I recommend wearing disposable gloves and an apron.  Epoxy resin is very sticky in its liquid form, so gloves will protect you from a mess, as well as skin irritation.

    • Clean your skin promptly with soap and water if it does come in contact with the product.

    • Don’t heat up your resin in a microwave. This will cause both a rapid acceleration of the chemical reaction and significantly reduce your working time and waste your resin.
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18. 50% Resin & 50% Hardener
  • To find out how much Resin you will need for a single coat, you can use ArtResin’s very useful calculator, which is in both cm and in.
  • As my panel is 30 x 40cm,  it recommends 190ml, which is 50% resin and 50% hardener.

Ren’s Top Tips

    • I recommend a good quality digital scale, get one that can measure liquids (ml or fl oz).
    • Cover the scale in a plastic bag, this will help to keep it clean of drips.
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19. Mix it Up!
  • You want to gently, but thoroughly stir the Resin for at least 3 minutes, and avoid creating unnecessary air bubbles. I use wooden craft sticks, but I must look at alternatives to plastic cups.

Ren’s Top Tips

    • Once the resin is mixed; and dependant on pre-warming/room temperature, you have approximately 45 minutes working time.
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20. You're So Pouring
  • So the moment of truth. Pour the resin in the centre of your artwork in a steady fashion. I usually pour it a lot closer to the surface to avoid creating any extra air bubbles, but here I was taking a photo at the same time.

  • The resin can be spread with a clean plastic scraper, or as I tactilely prefer, with clean powder free latex gloves.

  • You can rub the edges of the artwork with your fingers to ensure coverage.

  • Use a heat gun or kitchen gas blow torch to remove any air bubbles. (Do not use a hair dryer).

  • Scrape off drips of resin before letting it cure.

Ren’s Top Tips

    • Get you artwork as level as you can, you can use a spirit level, ArtResin is self levelling as it cures.

    • Have a heat gun or a small kitchen blow torch to hand, this will remove any air bubbles or bits of dust. Don’t hold the heat in any one spot, keep it moving.

    • Once poured, make sure to cover the artwork to protect any airborne particles drying on the surface. I know it is very temping to peek at it, but trust me just leave it for at least 24 hours. I find that it takes at least 72 hours to fully cure.

    • Don’t panic! You can actually sand back any mistakes or blemishes. A gentle sanding will remove blips and create a keyed surface for a re-pour. Mix up some more resin and pour on top and no one will ever know.
12. The Finished Piece - 'I Cant' Wait to See You Again, Either?'
I Can't Wait to See You Again, Either? Acrylic Painting by Adrian Reynolds
'I Can't Wait to See You Again, Either?'

So here is the finished piece, I am really pleased with it. I am very grateful to ArtResin for letting me try out their product.

Without sounding cliché, I have to say that compared to other resin products I have used, the glass like finish with ArtResin is very impressive. There is nothing worse than spending a considerable  amount of time on your artwork, only to be let down at the final stage with a sub-standard product.

I really hope that you have learnt something from this post, or at the very least, feel inspired to go off and make some great Art of your own! Remember, progress over perfection. If you have any questions you can reach out.

Finally, I have one last hidden surprise for you to see, but you will have to visit the product page for:  I Can’t Wait to See You Again, Either?to find out. You can also read about the inspiration and subject matter of the piece, and see if it’s still available to buy.

I Can't Wait to See You Again, Either?

A stunning and unique wall hanging.

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