Friday, December 27, 2013

Unintentional "Crackle Finish" - Yikes!

Hello Everyone! 

I know it's been a while since I've posted, I didn't realize just how long it had been! I thought it was a good opportunity to let some of you know what happened to these 2 little 10x10" pieces I posted on the page earlier in the month. I was working on these for a holiday commission and had to make due with finishing a larger piece that I had been working on earlier this year, so thankful that my client was flexible! <3

These 2 pieces forced me into experimentation (which I don't particularly enjoy when deadlines are looming!) Something happened to the ink when it dried that I'd never had happen to me before...I liked the effect but it made the pieces very fragile and the surfaces not mission has become how to use them still without destroying or removing the dried ink...

Below are some pics to show what happened:
In the first image as I was brushing off the surface, the ink flaked right off, only the sepia ink though thankfully...still took the ink beneath it as well though.

In this second piece you can see the sort of "crackle" effect happening, which I liked (never have any luck with crackle finishes so it was kinda interesting having it happen like this by accident lol)

I can't think of what could have caused this to happen, the ink is relatively new and I use it often. I like the fact that it doesn't run as easily as the others, it just stays put as though it's thicker than the other inks. Perhaps that has something to do with why the cracking happened, and I suspect the use of a space heater in the studio may have played a part, or the cold overnight, who knows! 

So now that I have some time on my hands after the Christmas season, I've put a thick coat of Golden's "self leveling clear gel" over both pieces. The cracked, sepia parts are now protected and the pieces have a nice shiny gloss on them, however they were meant as backgrounds for mandalas, not abstract pieces. Sooo....I need to find a way to prepare the surface so that it has some tooth to it to soak up/retain media. Decisions, decisions! Any feedback or ideas are greatly appreciated! I'm thinking a light sanding or a layer of clear gesso. Then I'll be putting another coat of the gel (or epoxy resin) over top of the finished piece.  Wish me luck! I may need it! ;) Hopefully everything goes well, if not, it'll be a good learning experience and it can always be painted over! ;) 

Happy Holidays to you and Happy Creating! 


  1. Have you tried Golden Silverpoint/Drawing Ground?

    1. Off to go check that out right now! Thank you! :) <3

  2. Epoxy resin sounds like a good idea but then will your pens, or ink be able to stick to it when you draw over the top. mmmm will keep thinking about it. I think the clear gel, gesso, gel sounds like a safer thing to try first. Do you have a test piece that you can try different things on?

    1. Hi Lee! :) You're right, the pens and ink won't work with either gel or resin, neither will the other media I like to use...I just used the layer of gel to seal in the cracked parts - didn't require a brush or anything really so it was the most suitable thing I could think of at the time. I'm going to give the clear gesso a go over top of the gel and then design the mandala on that layer. Then possibly a resin coating on top of that to finish the piece off. I thought it might hide any roughness or inconsistencies but we'll see! I may just go with another coating of the clear gel instead, much easier and less of a mess ;) Thanks so much for giving it some thought! If you come up with any other solutions or products to try, let me know :) much appreciated! <3

  3. Hi! This is sacredpics from instagram :-) I checked out your blog to see what happened with your pieces that crackles. I have a question for you? After creating your background do you put something on as a sealer or coating before designing your Mandala?

    1. Hi Emma! :) Good to hear from you over here! ;) I usually don't put a sealer on before I start, I haven't had any problems unless I've overworked an area. Once dried, the inks don't mix/run very easily, especially on wood I find - canvas can be a different story. I've actually had bad experiences using sealants over backgrounds, last time I tried one, none of the ink I put down would take, just kept beading up on the surface. May have been the type of sealant though as well ;) I know there are some "workable fixatives" out there that would work pretty well...
      Thanks for popping by the blog Emma! I appreciate the visit! :)


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