I’ve got some materials what I’ve been wanting to try out… so here’s my chance:
I’m not sure what I’ve got because it seems black sand can be more than one thing but it is small grains (like grains of sugar) that are hard a black, a bit like glass. It could be volcanic in nature.
I’ve tried two experiments with this… the forst was to paint it into a floor for a stageset I was working on. It created a textured surface as the grains did not dissolve – they became stuck fast in the paint and made patterns how they were brushed.
I’ve also put these on my sample board for this exercise mixed with Gesso which made them clump even more and they will build up in height.
I first tried this to make a sign – I was trying to stop the surface looking like the wood sheet that it was and more like metal. I painted sawdust in with the black paint before spraying silver and the effect was very good – the sign took on an appearance like it was pitted and uneven, perhaps like beaten metal might look.
On my sample board, it behaved the same. It looks a little like wood-chip wallpaper. The bumps are smoother than black sand and it would certainly work well on scenic models to create a natural soil or even grass surface, depending on colour finish.
This is a cheap, common material which is used all over the place in make-up, for example, but when mixed in with gesso produces excellent results. The mixture is sculptable and builds up in clumps, and can be shaped more as it dries.
This seems a lot like Fuller’s Earth but behaves differently, not making much of a roughness. It seems to add bulk to an area but also allows the properties of the gesso to come through rather than turning into another kind of paste. It also turns the mixture into a pale beige colour.
This is bedding for horses or small animals and looks a little like coarse saw-dust. It’s highly absorbent but when mixed with gesso produces a bold build-up of straw-like shapes but in miniature.
Since it was handy I tried painting with gesso and hay. This was quite unmanagable but I think it might work well on a larger scale… pouring the paint over the hay and pressing it down with a broom perhaps!
Still it does work, I just didn’t make a big area of it so the effect is hard to judge.