DecoArt TOPCOAT Review

A picture is worth a thousand words… it is NOT supposed to dry to a crackle finish, so pour at your own risk.

Since I carefully followed the directions, I expected what the label promised. Here’s a direct quote, reading right off the back of the bottle: “Create a high end finish with this one-step pouring topcoat. Dries to a lacquer-like, high gloss finish. Ideal for canvases, wood panels, or other flat art surfaces.”

It did NOT crackle on the wooden crosses, but I was having problems getting it to flow evenly over the layered surfaces with all those side edges, too. I only bought two bottles, didn’t want to waste it, so I used a cheap disposable paint brush to help coat the sides and played with it so much that my brush strokes were retained, even after it dried. That’s okay… I will try pouring this stuff on simple shapes, like square or round wooden panels.

The third test was just a curiosity experiment. I dredged a little piece of scrap paper (cut from a acrylic pour on watercolor paper) through a thin layer of TOPCOAT that was left on my drip tray after pouring the excess back into the bottle, pretty much just to wet it with a thin layer of glaze without trying to smooth it or anything. It dried retaining the initial texture of application,, but did not crackle.

Is there anyway to thin this stuff?

I feel like it went on too thick… that one or two thinner layers would have much better results, would flow easier, and may even result in a smoother surface finish. As for the ruined canvas, I’m debating if I should try to fix it, maybe pour on another layer, or just let it go… call it Halloween Art, as if the crackles were intentional.

Hey, at least it wasn’t my best work. Here’s what “Crone’s Pass” looked like BEFORE pouring on that DecoArt TOPCOAT acrylic finish.

Maybe the clear glitter (sprinkled lightly over the surface here and there when the paint was wet 4 months ago, hard to see it in the photo) encouraged it to crackle? Does the brand/tightness of the canvas make a difference?

Can it be thinned? If so, with what? Did I purchase old stock? Maybe it’s not supposed to be that thick. Why did Blick ship it wrapped in what looked like food storage plastic wrap? Why wasn’t there some kind of seal under the lid?

Has anyone had any good experiences with pouring this stuff on canvas?

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Sunday Pour

They’re still wet… I was going for a marble effect via pour on purchased wooden cross plaques. Both used the same color mixes, but not in the same ratios. One cross has more white and silver and the other has more delft blue. Making two to gift one to a friend… not sure which one he will choose.

I did a little test drizzle on paper first and decided to omit the lighter blue because adding a liquid white to delft blue from an old little tube was a bad mix that just didn’t want to stir up completely smooth. I don’t know if you can tell from this next photo, but there’s like a zillion little micro lumps in that little cup of lighter blue.

Colors from top: silver, white, black, 2 cups of delft blue, and a bad mix of delft blue and white.

Mixing up paint for pouring is, when you stop and think about it, pretty much just a little home chemistry experiment. Just poured or drizzled over each other resulted in a few micro lumps, more evident when dry. Not a lot, just enough to add a little texture, if considered a happy accident. I’m thinking of buying a bottle of that gloss top coat, the type you pour on… that might give it a smooth surface. I’m going to order online because that stuff is like $20 locally for a 16 oz. bottle… cheaper at Dick Blick. Here’s what the crosses look dry, without a clear coat. I do like the way the blues came out darker.

A part of me can’t help but ask myself: why am I playing home chemistry with acrylic paints, mixing stuff up and adding drops of oils and all that? Why not just play with resins? Or, try some alcohol inks?

Inks might be interesting… never tried alcohol inks, used to draw with inks like 20 or 30 years ago… maybe I should buy some watercolor paint? I’ve got plenty of pencils, don’t really feel into colored pencils right now… brushes? Do I need a new brush? Do I have enough art papers?

Okay, am I the only one who goes through this “what do I need” thing just to rack the total up high enough to qualify for free shipping when ordering online?

What I need is a couple good sized or several smaller glass mirrors, cracked or broken would be perfect because I’m going to cut them up into mosaic tiles. The only requirement is they need to be ye about the same thickness as stained glass or it will be a royal pain rising one or the other (can do it, just work upside down). The obelisk project is on hold until I find some old mirrors. I thought I had a box of mirror shards, but guess that’s long gone, maybe given away on a move years ago. I could buy a couple glass door mirrors, that would do, but buying new kind of defeats the recycle aspect.

So, words on the wind… if anyone local has any old mirrors they’re willing to part with, drop me a note or message me on Facebook. Thank you!.

WIP: Mosaic Obelisk (update #1)

It doesn’t look like much, but that is the substrate for my latest project, a mosaic obelisk. It is made of recycled Styrofoam covered with tarp-like plastic (recycled packaging from huge bags of outdoor formula cat food), hard board (to stiffen it up a bit) sealed with duct tape, and the latest layer: wire mesh window screen glued tight to the surface with a thin layer of multi-purpose ceramic tile adhesive.

The angles are not precisely perfect but eh, it’s yard art… for MY yard (not for sale). Plan is to mosaic it with a mix of sea glass, stained glass, broken mirrors, and odd elements leftover from previous projects.

The top is flat instead of pyramid shape because I plan to top it with a glass bowl shaped solar light that I picked up at the dollar store. I bought two. The other is out in the future strawberry patch on top of a remodeled Spore.

I can’t toss broken art out, if something about it can be salvaged… that was my tallest Spore. It didn’t survive the harsh winds of a last winter storm. Of course, it had already been busted and repaired a few times, thanks to a big dog and two rowdy little boys. Here’s what it looked like years ago, with the other two when freshly grouted.

Mosaic Yard Spores, 2007

Thanks for viewing my art!

Opportunity

Opportunity, 11 x 14 inches, fluid acrylics on canvas, 2019

When a door closes, look for a window of opportunity. Awe, but no one mentions that there are, shall we say, birds of prey watching you struggle, waiting for a sign of weakness, an opportunity to pluck the flesh right off your bones.

Opportunity is wired, ready for hanging, no framing required. Here’s a view on an angle so you can see that the sides are painted.

Thank you for viewing my art!

May Day 2019

This is May Day 2019, an acrylic pour on a 10 x 10 inch wooden plaque. The painting flows over the 3/4 inch sides, so no framing required. My sister sees the black silhouette of a woman atop a cliff casting off people and things that are not good for her… perhaps because she knows me. I didn’t see that until until she pointed it out. That’s one thing I love about abstracts. The painting reveals different things to different people.

Here’s how I finished the back and how it looks on a blue wall.

It’s a good painting for my second post because it has already been posted on my other blog and I’ve yet to make this blog public.

I recently rejoined EBSQ as an artist member so I can offer their digital COA registry, but have yet to rebuild my portfolio there. All in due time. I’m slow as molasses, living life in Slo-Mo with ye 14 different things going on and weeds growing faster than grass in Ohio rainy season. It’s a nice day so I need to go out and tend some flower beds. Thanks for looking… which seems weird to say as this blog isn’t live yet, but will be soon.

One Cat Pass

One Cat Pass, 9 x 12 inches, colored pencil on heavy paper, 2016.

Since this is the first post on an art blog called mice4mars, I should explain the name… Mice for Mars, who is Mars?

Mars was Mr. Marsberry Cat, who passed in 2016 at the ripe old age of 18. He was a house cat, a studio cat, who thought he was my guardian. He spent many a day curled up at my feet while I was zoned into making art.

After he died, I told myself that’s it, no more cats… I’m too old for pets, don’t have another 18 years left in me to take in another cat. So what am I doing now? Feeding feral cats. The first was KiKi.

Oh, I tried to adopt her after a neighbor gave me a sad-sob story about a poor abandoned and abused little kitty, a female gath ddu (black cat). I agreed to take her, sight unseen… yeah, that poor little kitty turned out to be a 20 pound alpha female, the local Queen of Cats. She absolutely hated being trapped indoors. After a week, I let her go… then we developed a relationship on her terms. All she wants from me is food and fresh water, enough set outside for her and her feral friends. Even when temps dropped below zero, I could not lure her in so my neighbor set her up with an outdoor shelter. I know KiKi’s the alpha female because I watched how other cats behave around her. She controls who eats here and which strays are allowed to cross my yard.

Then came Max, as in Maxwell Storm. I adopted him when a young girl knocked on my door with a gray tiger kitten in her arms. Would I please take her Stormy, their landlord said he had to go… should say that I took him in and KiKi adopted Max as she started coming into the house just to mother on him. I call her Mama now. And Max? He answers to Baby Boo.

So, I officially have ONE cat (Max) and feed the Queen, who allows select feral cats to share her dishes. They come in the night. Most totally avoid humans, so I rarely see them. Ye gads, Mars passed and I’ve become a cat lady.

Thanks for reading!