Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

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Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:25 pm

This has nothing to do with Burning Man. It has to do with me picking the brains of the largest compact mass of creative knowledge I have at my disposal. Yep: Again....!!!

Saturday I spent making an ear for a friend who has a beastie who lost one. I now have to paint this ear. Turns out that the whittling part was the easy part. I'm now completely lost as to how to get this done.

Here's what the ears look like now. Somehow my (brown) one has to look like the other (white/green/brown/red , etc., etc., one). This is not as easy as I'd hoped it would be.

Image

Image

Only thing I figured for sure was to stain it a ruddy hue for the small bits where the wood will be exposed. That's all I've got so far.


I haven't a clue what type of paint to use – let alone what kind of technique might be successful to this kind of finish. I've tried (on scraps) painting and wiping different layers of colour, but it's just not even close so far. (maybe I should be thinking more "taking away"? - red first then black then browns then white... and removing the upper echelons to expose various bits of the under?)

I really don't have any money to waste trying out different elements, so was hoping to pick your glorious brains for some direction before hitting the store.

Things I have already:
The usual arsenal acrylic, oil and water paints. (none appear to be the right thing -- maybe latex???)
Pots of earthtone powdered wood dyes (which I thought may work, lightly dusted on for the dirty finish???) I also have dirt. :-)

Figuring I'll be needing some kind of under and top coats. Of course I haven't a clue what's compatible with what. The finish is best described as satin, I guess. Definitely neither matte nor glossy


ANY direction would be greatly appreciated. I'm about ready to farm the job out to “someone who knows”, but I'd rather not have to. I truly thank anyone who can help me not have to go there.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:30 pm

I cant see much of the various hues you mention in the photos, but to me that ear looks like it has been whitewashed then possibly sanded a bit.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:32 pm

But wait!!! What looks stark white isn't really.

Freaking shapeshifting colour's driving me mad!!!

Image

It's obvious from these pictures (less so in real life, perhaps) just how much grain plays into the final result. All I had available to me within reason (both time and money) was balsa. It has similar grain and weight as the original, but all the wrong hues.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby Celery (Jamey) » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:36 pm

Pickle it
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:38 pm

Hey DB!!! (waving furiously and pointing to my man-nail!!!) :D

Yeah, I'd first thought whitewash as well. Then -- when it got around time to actually undertake that step I looked a bit closer and started to realize the THICKNESS of the "paint" in some spots.

My first test was a whitewash, and it was disastrously thin. I'd have to look further into the wash-prep (cutting with spirits, etc) and play with quantities I guess.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:39 pm

Celery (Jamey) wrote:Pickle it


Won't that just make the stoners hungry?

He's already lost this ear once. I'd hate to be an instrument in him having to relive this particular trauma again.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:46 pm

(googling pickling) 8)
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:55 pm

It seems you have picked the hardest way to make them match.

Instead of matching one to the other, paint them both with the same tecnique.

I think it's the only way to get a close match. 8)
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:00 pm

Doh. Trust Figjam. :roll: :lol: :P

That makes too much sense.... for someone with a modicum of talent!

I'd for sure have to farm it out was going to "destroy" the original. (not much faith in my ability when it comes to painting. That's for SURE)


Were I to be so bold, however.... what type of paint might you suggest?

(edited to add a heartfelt thankyou for opening my eyes to what should have been obvious! It's really one of those things you do best!!!)
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:17 pm

Not latex, sometimes doesn't sand well. Gesso to build the thick layer. Suggest acrylic. Acrylic uses a water base, so could smear a water color wash layer under - so best all acrylic. Do a ton of tests on the same scrap wood, recording your process until it matches, then do that to your final. Might be easier to make 2 new ears in the spirit of Mr Figjam's suggestion.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:23 pm

And..... another couple of photos. The second one, tho true, might appear darker than it really is. Ken brightened it up a tad for me for internet usage. (Thank you, honey!!!)

Image

Image

Notice how on the white surface it looks pretty brown in spots. On the brown table -- or across the room -- it looks white.

Truly messing with my head, this thing.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:31 pm

Huh.

TWO new ears!!! Of course!!!

I could make a BUNCH of them. Antlers and sloppy-lobed man-ears with hideous earrings and hearingaids and, and, and.....

Awesome!!!!


And they'd still have the original for when they want to get another made proper-like.

I LIKE IT!!!!!

(see why I come to you guys??? There's really no place else to go!!!)
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:35 pm

Re the Gesso. I have a can of Krylo gesso. It got tossed into the "nope" pile when I realized it was of the "bright white, non yellowing" variety.

Is there such a beast as Dull Ivory Gesso?
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:50 pm

White/bright white doesn't matter. Use brushes, not sprays. If you don't have acrylic gesso, just mix talcum powder with the acrylic paint. You could throw in a little playa dust too.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:34 pm

You could also add some yellow to some gesso.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby knowmad » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:07 pm

don't paint it. try to artificially age it. Hydrogen peroxide will weather wood. dry it in the oven. repeat.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby Mojojita » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:11 pm

I would distress them a little, then basecoat in something like a moldy green, brownish or charcoal. Then topcoat with an antique off white and rub off some of the white while it is still wet. Maybe even reverse that as it looks as if the white is sitting in the high spots. So at the end, put some white on your finger and just barely touch the most raised parts.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:32 pm

You people just Rock! Walk away for a couple of hours and return to some most EXCELLENT suggestions.

I won't be able to experiment until next weekend, but plan to just as soon as I can -- and if any of my test swatches are worth showing I certainly will do just that.



You all give me hope. THANK YOU!!!!
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby EspressoDude » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:48 am

random thought: where, what, who created that? looks like Mexican or Phillipine hand carved mahogany or monkey-pod. The carvers did not do much in the way of finish work and probably carved the wood somewhat green/wet. A problem with PI carvings brought back to the states was cracking due to drying and shrinkage. That would mean that the wood was somewhat wet when painted white with inexpensive paint. The brown tones in the paint would be tannins from the wood sucked/leached into the paint over time. This will not happen with oil base paints. suggest cheap latex, not whitewash. try on scraps, possibly wet the wood first. Thin coat, possibly off white first then lighter then sand partway through the lighter colored top coat.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:23 am

The big problem is the second ear is made out of different wood.

It won't react the same to any finish, making it tough or impossible to match. :(

I once saw a travel mug painted to look like a carved wooden mug.

He painted it black, and after that was dry, painted over that with brown.

While the brown was still tacky, he gently draged a comb over the surface to create the grain affect.

Looked very realistic.
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Re: Paint (faux finish?) experts needed

Postby delle » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:55 pm

EspressoDude wrote:random thought: where, what, who created that? looks like Mexican or Phillipine hand carved mahogany or monkey-pod. The carvers did not do much in the way of finish work and probably carved the wood somewhat green/wet. A problem with PI carvings brought back to the states was cracking due to drying and shrinkage. That would mean that the wood was somewhat wet when painted white with inexpensive paint. The brown tones in the paint would be tannins from the wood sucked/leached into the paint over time. This will not happen with oil base paints. suggest cheap latex, not whitewash. try on scraps, possibly wet the wood first. Thin coat, possibly off white first then lighter then sand partway through the lighter colored top coat.


This makes a whole lot of sense to me.

The beastie belongs to some friends. They (or at least he) seemed to think it was a very old antique. One look at what really goes on with the paint wiped that idea right out for me.... but I haven't the heart to point out the obviously intentional distressing -- on the ear at least. On the body, the paint has "crackled" and the wood separated. To my mind it's the state of the body that made them (or at least him) think that it was very old. I don't think he's ever looked upclose and personal at the ear he gave me. She may have - hence her differing view. (fact is tho that she just loves him too damned much to make him sad over so little)

My original thought was that it came from Bali. The ONLY thing I'm basing that on is the wood itself - which is extremely light, as much of my Balinese stuff is. The style is anything BUT Balinese. The painting is uninspired and uniform.

I think that your hypothesis is probably spot on about the tannin bleeding.

Which brings us to Figjam's latest obviousity (a word I've made up JUST to refer to Figjamisms) that the new ear being of a different wood couldn't possibly give me the proper result where leaching is a necessity.

The grain is similar. The colours within the elements of the grain are not. Balsa is pretty pale throughout. Whatever was used appears to have dark spots within.

So I'm thinking.... perhaps Mojo's "reverse" technique, using some of the most appropriately hued earthpowder rubbed hard into the grain then sanded off, hopefully leaving the soft spots impregnated the darker colour before restaining and applying (and removing) layers of cheap ivory paint and highlights of a brighter white... and finishing the oeuvre with a light dusting of playa dust. :lol:

(gotta get that playa dust in there. Madame was the one my husband invited to burning man in my stead last year, but ended up having to decline to care for her mother (who passed shortly after). Now she's battling a pretty horrendous bout of cancer and this year is most likely out for her as well. This might be the closest she ever gets to the playa)

Anyhow, lots to go on now. I'm feeling somewhat empowered (Thank you, Thank you, Thank you). Knowledge enough to experiment with is a VERY good start!

:D
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