Well this months challenge is turning into a lot of fun. Last week after I posted and went in and setup my cutting table for painting. I mixed up a very dark gray to start and painted the bottom of my muslin. The size I started out with was approximately 14 x 20". Then I added more white and painted up a little higher, added more white and so on. After I painted about 1/2 of the fabric I threw some kosher salt and let it sit over night. I forgot to take a picture of that part by itself, but I got the back so you can get an idea of what it looked like. Also in some of the other pictures you see part of the bottom.
Then I spent a couple of days thinking about how to get the red part of Mars. when I first thought about doing the project, I was planning on using painted and distressed tyvek for the red part, but in a comment last week from MixPix (thanks so much) I got a site that had picture of Mars. I knew that the tyvek would be too hard to give the effect I wanted, so I decided to paint up a group of old dryer sheets.
For those not familiar with using dryer sheets (the white ones) after you use them, save them up and when you have a bunch, put them in a small mesh bag (I use a bra bag), throw them in the wash with your clothes and then in the dryer. I usually give them a quick press with the iron on low heat and then store them in a plastic bag till I want to use some. They paint up with regular fabric paint or watered acrylic paint. I usually use a spray bottle to apply the paint. I used a russet and then also mixed up a blend of raw sienna and yellow for some others. I didn't want the sheets to be uniform so on some of them I sprinkled some salt to see what the effect would be. On a couple I used a few splotches of a metallic copper or bronze to give more texture. You can see how adding different layers over each other changes the color of a section.
I started to lay out the dryer sheets on the top of the shaded muslin that I had painted earlier. I found that I had to tear the edges of the dryer sheets so that there would not be a straight line where the sheets covered each other or were on the top of the stack. As you can see in this picture I did cover some of the shaded gray areas so that the gray would show through in various sections. I also took the shreds of the dryer sheets that I had pulled off to make the edges ragged and just randomly placed them on the red sections. When I was pleased with the color and coverage of the dryer sheets, I sprinkled some BoNash powder under the sheets and fused everything down to the muslin. The dryer sheets are so sheer that I didn't need to put it beween each layer.
Then I got brave and decided to cut Mars out of the base fabric. After I cut out the circle, which has an approximate 12" diameter, I really got excited. I don't think there is anything better that having an idea turn out just the way you invisioned it. I've still got a little more work on the planet itself, and then I need to finish the rest of the piece, but here is my Mars! This has really been a fun challenge this month.
Here is a picture of Mars that I downloaded off the Hubble site, just so you can see what the original looks like.
For my friends that read my blog, that are interested in seeing the more prosaic projects I am working on and done this past year, I'm going to start another blog, with just regular projects. You can find this blog at