Today I have decided to experiment with a nicho. A nicho is an object of Latin American folk art. Nichos are made from mixed media and traditionally combine elements from Roman Catholicism, mestizo spirituality, and popular culture.
Nicho art originated as a popular adaptation of the Roman Catholic retablo tradition of painting patron saints on wood or tin. Unlike the large, flat panels of retablo, nichos are small and built in shadow box style. Within the box there is a key object or central figure for whose honor or memory the nicho has been created. Nichos are usually painted with striking colors, often contrasting bright and dark, and tend towards garish. What I love the most is that nichos are made of objects that can be easily purchased or scavenged in the home or community.
Here's an example of a real nicho...and here's my Paperartsy Sardine Can Nicho:
So here's the step by step to create your own Paperartsy nicho.
First your 2 main ingredients - a sardine can thoroughly cleaned and dried, complete with the ring pull, and Darcy mini No7.
Next give the can a coat or 2 of gesso to get a good coverage. I heat set the gesso onto the can just to make sure that it will stick.
To finish the elements of the nicho, I added some rusty nails by hammering them through the sides of the tin. (I have a container of rusty stuff in my craft room, and I periodically rust a heap of things and add them into my stash for use later). Don't worry if you don't have pre-rusted nails, use normal nails but sand them before you hammer them in so that the paint finishes will really "stick".
Next, stamp your image into transparency with black archival ink & heat set.
Cut the image out leaving a good edge all the way around (say 1cm). Go to the kitchen and "liberate" your butane torch (they are not just for creme brulee you know) and burn the edges of your transparency. The heat from the torch will create a fantastic edge (if it catches on fire just blow it out quickly), and the image will warp beautifully! If you don't have a butane torch, a lighter of some description will work too.
Flip the transparency over and paint key elements of the house. I used Chutney for the roof, Zesty Zing for the window frames and London Bus for the door.
So, my base wash was a mixture of Yellow Submarine, Chartreuse (in equal parts) and a touch of Little Black Dress to dull this down. I add at least 50% water to the paint mix.
Add a wash of the same onto the back of the house transparency, and put to one side to dry.
Then add a wash of 2 parts Tikka, 1/2 part black and 2 parts water.
Then I added a wash of Blood Orange (equal parts paint to water) onto elements of my nicho - the transistor in the middle and spots on the jewellery findings at the top. This was to stop the entire of the nicho looking "samey".
At this point the main elements of colour are done. Time to add your painted and crumpled transparency into the nicho. I secured it with Matte Accents, but glossy accents would work just as well.
Coat the entire piece with a gloss varnish to seal. Using a gloss varnish will really make the texture on the nicho pop, but if you only have a matte seal (like matte medium) that will be fine.
Viola - a finished nicho, made with love from a sardine tin.
I hope you give this project a try. It's great fun to play and create a 3D mixed media piece of art!
'Till next time!