Pietra dura polymer

The UK’s Fiona Abel-Smith created this polymer box with its decorative panels using an ancient inlay technique called pietra dura. Fiona watched Sue Heaser demo the technique in November and she was smitten.

The box is 5 1/2 inches (13 1/2 cm) square and 4 1/2 inches (11 cm) high with decorative panels of birds on each side and the top. Fiona details the her successes and failures (cracks during baking) with this technique and shows how she began with inlay and added minute dabs of polymer from fine extruded strings. Adding these flecks of color for the feather details gives the piece a more painterly feel.

This ancient technique may not be for everyone and Fiona admits that the box took 120 hours of work. See more pictures on her Flickr site. The link came to us from another polymer painter, Cate Van Alphen.

Polymer plein air

Kate van Aphen submitted this polymer painting for a recent virtual paintout (VPO). “What’s that,” you ask?

It’s a virtual painting trip. The theme and location are chosen and the artists travel via Google Street View to find a scene they like and screencapture it. Kentucky’s Bill Guffey started the clever exercise when he wanted to paint outdoors but could only paint at home at night.

Kate is from South Africa and now lives in England. She has a background in computer arts and was drawn to polymer by its tactile nature and vivid colors. Her Sisters Beach, Tasmania polymer painting is 10cm x 10cm and is drawn from a Google view.

Pittsburgh’s Rebecca Watkins participates in VPOs when she can and she sent Kate’s link along.

Back to school polymer

Back to school

Denise Graham’s polymer painting put a smile on my face and seemed appropriate as we approach fall and head back to school. Her fish swim onto the canvas and layer themselves over the polymer water.

Grahams rivers

In her recent Pittsburgh-based paintings she stacks bridges and buildings around the rivers that flow through the city. It’s no surprise that she started out as a watercolorist.

Denise is an expert on water and waves in polymer and you can catch some of her tricks from her CraftArtEdu classes.

Painting with polymer

The World Series may be over for 2011, but when you combine a love of baseball and a stellar artistic talent with polymer clay, the game never ends.

Using polymer, Marisol Ross creates three dimensional baseball paintings that will have you believing you’re in the stadium craving hot dogs and Cracker Jacks.

Each sculptural painting captures a different aspect of the game, from famous players and infamous fans to vendors and exuberant action scenes. But Marisol doesn’t limit herself to the baseball diamond, these diners captured my imagination as well.

guest post from Alice Stroppel

Painting by the slice

Each brush stroke on these 12×16 canvases by Joan Israel is a slice of a polymer cane. You must see the larger photos to get the full 3-D impact (left, center and right).

The vision, the patience, the number of canes…all mind-boggling! Some have a Henri Rousseau tropical feel. I marvel at their composition and energy. See more of Joan’s lush polymer paintings on the New York Guild’s site.

My husband’s cold is trying to catch me so I’m off to bed to dodge it. Not to worry, I’m good at avoiding bugs and I had a perfectly lovely birthday thanks to all of you. (I’d been saving Jen Dott’s polymer tissue box cover from the Pikes Peak Guild site to share with you on just such an occasion.)

Catching up with Zilliacus

Catching up with Carol Zilliacus was a bonus from my clean up, catch up first weekend of 2011. As I added missing names and dusted off links on the list of artists who have been featured on PCDaily, I was reacquainted with art and artists I’d lost track of.

Carol was one of the first polymer artists to paint and weave and collage with polymer clay. This recent story about her made me feel like we are back in touch. Always optimistic, Carol improvises when obstacles appear. Her story is particularly appropriate as we start a new year.

The featured links page contains over 500 artists. If you find errors, omissions or dead links there, please let me know so that I can keep this resource current. You can add your own site to the readers page. (I have to approve each link so it may take a while for your name to appear.)

Kulakova’s polymer canvases

Russia’s Mariya Kulakova (pterdaktell) doesn’t just take a painterly approach to her beads, she uses polymer clay as her canvas!

The twenty year old produces polymer Picassos, Klimts, Warhols, Van Goghs and her own flowers and scenes on bead canvases.

Check out the Flickr site of this St. Petersburg artist’s dazzlingly bright colors sometimes mixed with caned spirals and traditional onion dome beads.

Graham’s polymer watercolors

In these two 8″x10″ polymer clay paintings, Pittsburgh’s Denise Graham says that, “Achieving a watercolor effect was a delightful challenge.”

Denise has been painting with polymer clay for years and was looking for a way to return to her roots as a watercolorist.

Alcohol inks and acrylic paints enhance the overall effect in Summer’s Fruit. In Spring Blossoms, she uses pastels and mica powders to create the subtle background hues.

See additional paintings on her Flickr site and read a bit more about her methods. Thanks to Carol Shelton for the reminder to take another look at this unusual use of polymer.

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