My New Favorite Mixed Media Tool

My newest favorite tool for mixed media use is Venetian Plaster. I'd never heard of it before II picked up a copy of "Surface Treatment Workshop" by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson. I have to admit that I hesitated to get this book. I am behind on my reviews of many great craft books and I wasn't sure that anything could be as good as my favorite book from these two authors "Image Transfer Workshop".

Happily this book is, indeed, as good. It's beautifully laid out, contains superlative instructions and has some amazingly terrific ideas. For some reason I was intrigued by the description of Venetian Plaster "...Venetian Plaster gives you a unique finish that cannot be replicated with any other medium...." Hummmmmmm. That's quite a big claim. I did some online research to learn a bit about this intriguing stuff and then went in search of a size smaller than a gallon. I wasn't sure that I could get this on or small island but thankfully the hardware store carried one brand - and they were able to order a quart of it for me. I ordered it on Wednesday and had it in hand last Friday. I couldn't wait to see what kind of surface this would provide on paper....and not even special paper at that! I am using an Aquabee Super Deluxe sketch book (one must wonder want a non super deluxe pad would be like!) The paper is 152gsm - what I think I would a mid weight paper. Certainly not as good as real watercolor paper but not as thin as many journals or sketchbooks either.

It really IS an unusual surface treatment and I am in love! It has a smoothness that is nothing like gesso - which is what I had anticipated it would be like. It also has the coolness of real marble - even on paper. I tried burnishing, tinting, and embossing it - all with great results. I bet I will be using this a lot...maybe more than gesso because it feels like silk on the pages and has a natural tactile feel. Very interesting stuff! I was so glad that I got this book!

This was my first trial of Venetian Plaster -building up layers; gently sanding in between and then adding wisps of color and other textures. You can double click for a closer look.
A couple of close ups of two different sections on the pages. I'm really looking forward to working through some more of the surface treatments from this excellent book. I've already chosen the next technique that I want to try. I know I'll be having some fun!


  1. Noooooo! I can't buy another book!! Can this be done on fabric, she wants to know.

  2. I have heard of Venetian Plaster in conjunction with walls. And your pages bring to mind old walls in a lovely old Italian villa.

  3. I actually took a class to learn to do venetian plaster..after spending three 8 hour sessions to achieve my 18"x18" birch panel which looked like copper, rich with green patina and an overlay of gold. Something out of a dream...

    I gave up the notion of finishing the walls of the guest bathroom with this technique calculating it would take maybe, a year.

  4. I received my copy yesterday and haven't had time to even pop the cover, but I know what I am doing this evening! Fantastic results. I bet this is a book you read with a shopping list going on the side. lol. Have a great week Marie!

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog Marie & for your comments.

    I am very intrigued by your venetian plaster pages. Thank you for your recommendation both of the plaster technique & the books.

    On my wishlist now ...

    daisy xx

  6. Another book I need, right? I've never heard of it either.

  7. I'm with Gerrie...I am overbooked!!!! And this one keeps coming up on my Amazon page...I swore it off thinking it was a rehashing of techniques I already have in other books. But I love your pages! Ummm,

  8. That looks like a great book...I'll have to order it. But, I really love what you've done with the Venetian Plaster. I've always wanted to do my small powder bathroom walls using this product and just haven't gotten around to it yet. I never dreamed of using it on paper...what a wonderful idea!! Anyway, your creation is just gorgeous!!

  9. This venetian plaster is fascinating -- and beautitful results! You have a gorgeous blog and happy to be following you! As to my weaving, wanted to say that if you're looking to get back to weaving, yes, the triangle loom is perfect for that. Sandra

  10. I am wondering what tool you used to spread the plaster? I am so happy to find your helpful hints about using this medium. Nancy


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