Creative How-To: Making the appearance of footprints in sand

 I recently received this question via Email and thought I'd share it with not just this artist, but anyone who may have the same query....

Here's the question :

"I happened to chat with an Opus friend of yours in the downtown store yesterday.  I only found this out when I mentioned how much I enjoyed your demos and wish I had remembered more from them. hehehehehe  I had called their store for information on what product to use on an acrylic painting to make it look like a sand/gravel texture.  Like at the beach!  And how to also make a raised effect.  She suggested I send you a quick email for your opinion.  I would like the overall painting to have a random sand texture and want to end up adding a raised design in it that would give the impression of a print (foot?) within the sand.  Hope that makes sense.  I am feeling that the print should be raised and I am not sure what to do to accomplish that."

Dear Adrien,

Thanks for writing.

There are two products I can think of off hand that would work for this project. 

The first is GOLDEN coarse pumice gel. This has already got a sandy texture and is thick so give you raised effects. You could then imprint or sculpt the effect of footprints into it. AFterwards you could give it some washes or paint over it to get the sandy colour your desire.
This is GOLDEN pumice gel all dry. See that you can shape it and then if you want to create a sandy effecd yoiu could wash over it with sandy colours such as trasnparent yellow iron oxide , titan buff, etc.

HEre's a video which will shed some light on the pumice gel:

Also, for your reference, here is a blog I wrote a while back on putting sand, salt, sugar and other things into your mixed media paintings:

The other option would be to use Light Modeling paste ( GOLDEN and Liquitex make it) and either mix sand in it and then make and shape it into your desired foot print look or sprinkle sand on it afterwards. This is one of my favourite products as it holds shape better than any other gel or medium that I've worked with.

Also, if you are going to collect sand from the beach, be sure to clean it and cook it in the oven to get all the little bacteriesa and other dirt and nasties from it. I'm pretty sure, if you don't feel like going through all that effort, you can go to the hardware store and buy pre-sterlized sand!

Light modeling paste holds textures, imprints and formations really well. GOLDEN and Liquitex make these products and they are comparable. Look for the best deal!

Good luck with your project and I hope this helps.

Sunday March 28th 2-4 pm: free acrylics demo in Vancouver

Deb Chaney is mixing liquid Golden Acrylics with Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish and applying this
in many thin layers to create translucent glazing effects you see in many of her Emerging Series works.

On Sunday March 28th from 2-4 pm I will be doing a live in store demonstration on acrylics & acrylic mediums at OPUS Framing and Art Supply on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC. This demo is open to the public, first come for limited seating. Look for me at the back of the store in the paper room.

I will be discussing and demonstrating the following:

  • What are acrylics and how do they compare to watercolour paints and oil paints?
  • What different types of acrylics exist?
  • Health and safety concerns when using acrylics.
  • Making sense of the Medium aisle at the art supply store
  • Mediums and Additives used with acrylics - the fun begins!
  • Varnishing your painting - what to use and why.
  • Painting substrates and must have accessories
  • Cleaning up

Opus Framing & Art Supplies
1360 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S1(604) 736-7028

DATE & TIME: Sunday March 28th, 2010 2- 4 pm

it's free! first come first seating available.