Leading up to my deadline, exploring different ways of enhancing the work I have been producing was important and I knew I wanted to create a tactility and texture within my work but wasn’t sure how to achieve this.

The link between women and the earth runs deeply through my paintings therefore I knew that keeping to this natural weather process was key. Mentioned in a tutorial I had a few weeks back was the idea of using a natural process in my work, like using charcoal or ash etc. However, after purchasing the ‘rust’ coloured alcohol ink and using that frequently in my larger pieces and my experimental ones, trying to create rust on my work struck me as an exciting challenge!

I researched thoroughly into the best ways to create rust using fewer toxic chemicals as I wanted to stick to using the weather and nature in the most harmless way possible. Eventually I found that mixing two parts bleach to one part vinegar was my best bet, I also went to the metal workshop to collect some scrap offcuts of metal (copper, tin etc) to see which would work better. I also got lots of smaller rectangular MDF boards to experiment with this on before I attempted on my final pieces.

As you can see in the photos attached below, I continued with the same technique of priming my boards, then a layer of the acrylic I had chosen, then using the wind to control the alcohol ink on top. After the pieces had somewhat dried, I sprayed one side of the metal pieces with the mixture of bleach and vinegar. I flipped that over onto the board and then slightly sprayed around the edges to make sure the metal would suction itself to the MDF.

I again tested a few different coloured acrylic backgrounds to see how the rust would show up, white, black, grey, brown etc. Leaving the metal on the pieces for about 6 hours seemed to work best, the longer it was left on, the more rust was created so for my final boards I will leave them on for around 12 hours each. There were only 2 pieces of metal however out of the approx. 10 I picked up that created the rust effect I was after; I think this was due to the type of metal it was. Below are the images of most of the experiments I created and a couple close-ups of the rust:

Overall, I think creating the rust worked really well – it has worked even better than I had imagined and adds the texture that I was aiming for. I will definitely be using this on my final pieces and being able to create a ‘natural’ process just amplifies the important of using the weather/nature in my work. I can’t wait to start creating my final pieces and using all the techniques I have experimented with since the start of my project!