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Fall Wreath - Acrylics non-fire: Article or Project

Suitable Bisque item fired to cone 03-05 - Shown: Scioto Fall Wreath
Selected stains to included (browns, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, black, white, purple)
Assorted flat stiff white bristled brushes
Water
Sponge
Palette
Matte Spray Fixative
Gloss brush-on sealer

More Details

This project takes a lot of time and patience in order to make sure the detailing shows up effectively, but it is well worth the effort. You will be finishing this piece in a technique know as reverse dry brushing. Please refer to article on this website on how to dry brush.

This project is completed with non-fired stains/paints with a wide selection of oranges, reds, yellows, greens and browns. Most of the colors I used were by Ceramichrome (Now Mayco). Because many of the colors are no longer produced, you will need to substitute those mentioned below. PLEASE avoid using Apple Barrel brand on ceramics. They contain too much acrylic and they do not bond well with ceramic bisque or some of their colors are too thin and they drybrush well.

To begin your project, have a prepared piece of bisque fired to cone 03-05. Wipe it down well with a damp sponge and use a brush to make sure all the detailing is free of dust particles. Let it dry thoroughly. The wreath pictured is by Scioto Ceramic Mold Company.

First step is to base coat the entire piece with black stain. You may need to add a small amount of water to your brush occasionally to allow the paint to flow into the deep crevices. Scrub paint into the design and then smooth it out so there are no brush strokes. You may need a second coat or at least touch ups because when any bubbles pop, you will see missed spots in the crevices. Let the base coat dry.

You will notice several varieties of leaves. Pick one variety and one of your shades of green. Dry brush the entire leaf that color of green. Repeat this process with all leaves of that variety. After doing one coat, go back and add a second, third or even fourth or fifth coat until your leaves are sufficiently green. Use care to leave crevices black.

Pick another green and another variety of leaves and repeat the above process. DO NOT wash your brush when you change colors. Just add the next choice of green and begin dry brushing.

Repeat this process with all of the leaves.


Repeat this process on all varieties of leaves, using different greens. You can lighten any green with white, yellow, or another shade of green. You will only apply 1-3 coats of the lighter colors just to give good contrast.

Now you are going to add the fall colors to the leaves. Study some pictures of fall foliage for examples. Add as much or little 'color' as suits your fancy. As you see by the example, the artist stayed away from too much of the reds, oranges and yellows on the leaves because of the other items on the wreath. Consider doing only the edges and partial leaves in the brighter colors, just a hint of shading. Again, DO NOT wash your brush between colors. Use the picture as suggested example.

Now we begin with the pumpkins. Use the darkest orange first, Melon is a good choice. Dry brush as many light coats as needed to make them a good orange. Work a lighter orange like Pumpkin Pie into your brush and go over the pumpkins, then add highlights of Carrot Cake to accent some of the details.

Still dry brushing, apply the following colors:

Deep Purple to the back berries. Highlight them with a small amount of burgundy worked into the purple bristles creating a slight reddish hue.

Dark brown on the caps of the acorns. Use a medium brown on the nut portion of the acorns and highlight the caps. Lighten the brown with a light beige and dry brush the nuts, making the tips lighter than the area next to the caps. Add another light color (white or flesh or ivory) to the beige to add further highlights.



Use Golden Rod by Duncan to dry brush the gourds and squash (or a similar yellow/gold/brown). Using the sample picture, only put the color on the top half of the gourds. Highlight the crook-neck squash with some orange tones and eh other squash with contrasting oranges. These are smoother in design, so you may have to 'pounce' the color on the items rather than drag the brush across them.(See How to Dry Brush #2). Patience prevails - make application of color slow and don't be tempted to rush.

Grass Green or similar color is to be dry brushed on the bottom half of the two gourds.

Using a deep off yellow, dry brush your corn. You do not want the corn to be a bright yellow, but rather a dried out dull looking. Don't worry if color gets on the husks. That will be addressed later. Just get a good even coverage on all the kernels.

Touch up the husks if needed with black stain as well as any other areas that may need it, let dry.

Use a beige or flesh color to dry brush the corn husks.

The seed pods are dry brushed with a dark brown, then a medium brown and finally highlighted with a light brown.

Using a detail brush or a short liner, paint white lines on the gourds as pictured in the example.
Also, paint a few of the corn kernels with a rust, reddish brown, melon, orange and/or any other colors to give an Indian corn look. Refer to photo for example.

Paint the small berries with a medium orange like Pumpkin Pie, dry brush them with darker orange like Melon and then highlight them with a dab of red.

To finish your wreath, spray lightly with two coats of matte spray fixative. Use a small brush and apply a high gloss, brush-on sealer to the acorns to give them some added contrast.

Hang your wreath and enjoy!

Note: most color references are for Ceramichrome now Mayco. Colors may have been discontinued. Photo shown is a sampling and colors vary from this technique sheet.

 

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