Brass covered nail project part 2



Project coming to form

The nail project is gaining momentum an now I have a representation of the larger finished peace.  There a few interesting design elements here.  There is a elongated rectangular form that strangly resembles a picket fence.  There is a different square and reactanguler pattern made by joining nail heads to the side of a perpendicular nail.  Then there are the fork tine design which really draw attention to the horizontal plane of the art work.  I am conetmplating a crown of verticle forks to really offset the piece.


Getting the brass to lay down smooth takes some practice.  You must not overheat the nails as this will cause the zinc in the brass to boil away and also will cause extensive oxidation to the nails as well.

An Appreciation of Cobalt Blue Glass

Cobalt Blue glass for decor or gifts

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One of my favorite types of glass is cobalt blue glass. The blue is dark yet vibrant with a hint of purple. Cobalt Blue glass is found in wine bottles, goblets, dining ware, and sun catchers just to name a few. With this lense I will be presenting cobalt glass from various sources. My aim is to inspire people so that new and interesting cobalt blue creations can be made.

Cobalt Blue bowl


Blue Coral BowlHere I feel is one of the most eye catching glassware items I have seen on Etsy, This bowl would make a wonderfull accent to any modern table and would be great for holding fruit, candy, or other snacks.


Cobalt blue vase


Cobalt Blue Glass VaseThis is a good vase for catching the sun. The swirls are quite eye catching as you can see in the photo. You can see the item at this listing on eBay


Cobalt blue dropper oil storage bottles


Cobalt Blue eyedropper BottlesAside from the decorating aspects of cobalt blue glass, there are some practical applications as well. The cobalt glass dropper bottles shown here are a perfect example of this. The cobalt blue glass helps block some of the harmful UV rays. Occasionally, you will find wine and liquor bottles in cobalt blue glass.


Abstract Metal Room Decor Project



A few weeks ago, I was inspired to create a simple yet elegant piece.  I wanted to apply a slightly curved bend to 3/16 inch steel rods and cut them to various lengths and weld them together in the random web like pattern shown above.  What I have come up with thus far is a piece 52 inches long and 9 inches wide.  A long slender work designed to adorn a wall over a sofa or sectional.  Perhaps it can also work over a fireplace as well.

This is the sculpture in white primer ready to be painted.

I have been making metal art for about three years now and it is no longer just a whimsical passtime.  My skills that i have picked up are being used to create works with deeper meaning and purpose.  When I finally get around to cleaning this sculpture up, I will braze some mounting hooks and apply a coat of white primer.  Then I will follow with a brilliant and cool metallic acrylic topcoat sealed in oil based clear coat to preserve the finish.  Right now, I am contemplating mixing a little blue with silver to get a metallic ice blue or maybe just bright silver with a transparent turquiose glaze over it for depth.  Feel free to chime in on your thoughts of color.

Brass covered nail project


One of my creative outlets in metal art is creating braze welded nail sculpture.  I braze the cut nails together with an oxyacetylene torch and bare bronze filler rod.  I tend to do pieces with geometric patterns that where popular during the mid century era of the 20th century. 

Recently, I was contacted by a customer in my Etsy Shop to create a custom nail sculpture.   He stated that he wanted a golden finish yet I usually leave the nails their natural steel grey color with the bronze joints polished and shiny for contrast.  After much contemplation, I came up with the idea of overlaying the entire nail pattern with the bronze fill metal.  I made the piece featured in the photo above to see if that is the look the customer was going for.  Here is closeup of the piece with a variating texture to the finish. 


Even though the customer stated they preferred a smoother finish, this demonstrates the variable effects one can obtain working in this media.

Acrylic Paint Mediums

Versatility of Acrylic

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Acrylic paints are by far the most versatile artist medium available. There are numerous mediums available that can change the properties of acrylic paints for different affects. These can add strength, increase transparency, opacity, viscosity, or texture for more dimensional work. There are even medium for thining paints for airbrushing.There are many useful properties with acrylic paints and mediums. Acrylic polymer emulsions make excellent glues. This property allows for mixed media paintings. Acrylics dry faster than oils but additives can be used to extend working time. These paints can be easily cleaned up with soap and water.


Gloss gel medium


Gloss Gel mediumGloss Gel medium is a very useful and versatile medium. It has the same consistency as heavy body paints and it is typically used as an extender. It increases transparency of paint without thinning it. When paint is blended one to one with gel medium one can aquire the depth and richness of oil paints. For more uses and information, you can visit Liquitex page describing gloss gel medium.

Modeling paste


This is a thick pasty medium. The coarse modeling paste featured in the photo is from Golden. It is translucent up to 1/8″ thick. It dries with a granulated matt finish. It can easily take paint and varnish and the paste mixes well with both fluid acrylics and heavy body paints.

Liquitex String gel


Liquidtex gel is a unique acrylic medium. It is a thick gel that you can mix with acrylic paints to make them stringy. It not only makes paint more viscous but decidingly more stringy. It is a gloss medium and will increase the transparency of the paint mixed in.



There is another facet to acrylic medium versatility.  I use the gloss polymer medium I bought from Dick Blick in the place of at least three types of acrylic medium.  I use it full strength to make paint with powdered micas and minerals, I thin 50/50 to prepare a glaze/wash medium.  Also I thin with less water and it makes for a nice varnish over paintings.  At just under $20 for half a gallon, it is the best purchase I have made yet!

Hammered copper in art and jewelry


Hammered copper has texture

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This article is about hammered copper and its use in art and jewelry When copper is hammered,( especially by the round part of a ball peen hammer), The dents reflect light different and give more dimension. The look is attractive and it has a primitive appeal to it as well. A hammered finish would make a patina vastly more intense and significant.

Necessary steps to hammer copper


Annealing copperTo get the hammered look on copper, you have to anneal the copper first. Annealing copper is heating it until it is red hot. In this condition copper is soft and easily formed. It is this condition that makes hammering copper easier. It should be noted that copper increases in hardness and brittleness when cold working. Too much bending and hammering after the copper stiffens can cause it to crack. When the copper stiffens and you still need to work the metal, it is best to anneal it again. Annealing is best done with a gas torch sweeping back and forth to evenly distribute heat.


Hammered Copper Cuff


Hammered cuffThis is an example how hammering copper really brings brilliance to copper jewelry. This cuff shimmers in the light and is very simular
cuffs worn by ancient Egyptians!


Hammered Copper Sculpture


Copper ArtThe artist who created this beautiful work really took advantage of the dimensional qualities of hammered copper, The twisting form accentuates the bumpy texture.


Embossing Copper sheet


Copper embossed with chicken wireWe have seen the steps to hammering copper for a textured surface. Given that just heating the copper sheet to red heat significantly softens the metal, there are numerous options available. Virtually any material harder that copper can be used to emboss the copper sheet. Check out the cool grid pattern from the chicken wire that was hammered into the copper.


Copper Backsplashes


Hammered Copper BacksplashHammered copper has such a great appeal both in jewelry and decor as well. It is very popular with backsplashes. These are available in a variety of finishes and types. Take the brick pattern backsplash shown in the photo below. It will add a sophisticated glow to any kitchen. Will look its best with stained wood cabinets.


Hammered copper accents on metal wall decor


Hammered Copper Wall ArtWhat got me all excited about hammered copper was making this piece. I used a welding torch to braze steel square cut nails together with bronze. Then to really set the piece off, I hammered copper strips and brazed them on some steel supports to add to their dimensional quality. You can purchase this item in my Etsy shop.


Phthalocyanine Blue Artist Pigment


An Intense Blue Pigment

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Phthalocyanine blue is an organic pigment that has intense tinting strength. It is insoluble in common liquids except concentrated sulfuric acid. It is stable, nontoxic, and light fast. It is used to color virtually all artists medium such as oil paints,acrylics, and inks. Being a high volume produced pigment, it is prevalent in industry as well. It is also used in house paints, industrial coatings, and plastics.

Accidental Discovery


ICI LogoJust like so many new products and inventions, phthalocyanine blue was discovered by accident. During the 1930’s the Imperial Chemical Industries Inc. was having problems with blue contamination of their phthalimide product. It was determined that this blue coloration was caused by a byproduct formed by interaction of phthalimide with traces of iron from the metal reactor they used at the plant. Later, they where able to substitute copper for the iron to make copper phthalocyanine. With this they where able to make a usable pigment that was stable in all media.


phthalo blue acrylics


phthalo blue acrylic paintOne of the most common mediums for phthalocyanine blue is acrylic paints. The acrylic paint featured in the photo is a student grade phthalo blue paint from Liquitex. Quality acrylics with phthalocyanine blue are intensely pigmented but transparent in thin layers. Also, they can be mixed with clear gel and glazing mediums for even more transparency in painting.


acrylic inks


acrylic inkSometimes you need a super fluid medium that is also highly pigmented. This is where acrylic inks come to play. They are very fluid with very finely ground pigments. They are ideal for stamping and color blocking. There is no need to thin or dilute them for airbrushing or calligraphy. Liquitex has professional grade inks in 30 different colors.


Different Shades


phthalo blue red shadePhthalocyanine blue usually is supplied as the green shade. For color mixing this is important especially if you are blending with greens or yellows to make teals and turquois colors. Some lines of artists acrylics and oils come with a phthalo blue that is red shade. This would be a warmer blue for making various violets and purples in color mixing. .