Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Jane Davies here. In the spirit of this month's theme, trashed and so forth, I thought I'd dig into my archive of unfinished work and also my sketchbook experiments to see what kind of trashing I could do. This is such a freeing way to work because once a piece or a sketchbook page has been out of sight and mind for months, it has lost its preciousness. You forget how much time you spent on it and are unafraid to "ruin" it. I think this is my new method of making art!!! Make an overworked mess, let it sit for six months, then trash it!

Here is a sketchbook page I did in April for the Branching Out - Out on a Limb theme:

And here is what I have done to it:

Better? I don't know. But another step along the journey.

Here is a 10"x10" collage I did sometime last spring. I'd overworked it again and again, just having fun, and then finally put it away. This scan doesn't quite get the whole thing, but you get the idea. This is AFTER all the scrubbing and scraping (more on that below):

And here it is, in full, after I've gone back with paint and more collage:

Excavation Site 1

Now for the process. I began both of these make-overs by scrubbing the piece with rubbing alcohol, which dissolves acrylic paint to some extent. See my alcohol technique video. Interestingly, alcohol does not seem to dissolve gloss medium (but does dissolve matter medium), so once you scrub back the layers of paint and find some stuff you want to keep, you can coat it with gloss medium before proceeding.

Another technique I use for the "collage excavation" is sanding with ordinary sand paper. I also use a razor blade to scrape the paint.

To add paint back to the piece I use a lot of my brayer technique. I love the brayer, and use it for applying paint, but also for lifting paint. See the Brayer Technique Video on my blog.

I hope you are having as much fun with this theme as I am!


  1. I absolutely love these! You have really given me some much needed inspiration. Thank you so much!

  2. Wow, that's super interesting with great effects! I was very into collage for a while, as well as acrylics, but never heard of this alcohol effect. If I can ever take a break from my looms (tapestry now has replaced my collage) I would like to try this. Will look at your videos.