A big trend for 2012 is semi-precious stones and gems. The concentric, marbleized patterns, and the deep vibrant colours of stones like agate or malachite are popping up all over.
Feature on malachite as a trend in January 2012 Style at Home Magazine
Malachite patterned roman shades. Photograph by Simon Upton for Elle Decor
Agate sconces. Lauren Stern Design.
But for me, it’s not the easiest trend to incorporate - it’s pretty in-your-face, hard to find, and potentially pretty expensive. But the other day I was painting with watercolours with Little M (watercolours, by the way, are another big trend right now), and figured they’d be the perfect combination for some pretty and trendy art.
- heavy-weight watercolour paper
- watercolour paints
- water in a dish
- paint brush
- paper towel
- painter’s tape
TIP: In my opinion you need to splurge on the paper with watercolours. Go to an art supply store and get some pretty heavy stuff, or your paper will warp, tear, peel, and be a general mess of gross-ness. As far as paints go it depends on how saturated you want your colours. A cheaper paint set will generally give you paler colours, and a more expensive set will give deeper colours because it will have more concentrated pigment. That being said, mine was a middle-of-the-road set from DeSerres.
Tape your paper down to your table, or to a large, smooth board. This not only gives you a nice clean border, but keep the paper taped down until the painting is dry and it will prevent some warping.
I did a few versions of this to try some different techniques…
I’ll share what I thought worked best:
TIP: Pick a colour scheme of harmonious colours - greens and yellows, or reds and oranges, etc. This is typical of the stones, and it will look better if your colours overlap or bleed into one another. If you specifically want the malachite look use shades of green.
I found it worked best to put water on the paper first, then get the brush filled with paint and trace along the edge of the water. The colour bleeds into the water and creates the wavy patterns you want.
While still wet I added some other colours at times. Other times I waited until the rings dried then did another puddle.
If the paper is ever too wet and creates more pooling than you want, just use the edge of a piece of paper towel to soak some of it up.
Sometimes if my lines looked too much like a brush stroke I would go over them again with just water to blur the edges.
It’s a pretty random process, so have fun with it and experiment. It may not look exactly like a chunk of agate, but that’s OK - it can still look interesting and pretty.
And there you go! A relaxing morning of painting, and a pretty and easy way to incorporate a trend. And cheap art for your walls!
***UPDATE: See my malachite-inspired art here.