Tuesday, August 23, 2011


For years, I've searched for new and unusual substrates for my painting and collage work. My main requirement, my "dream surface", would be rigid, lightweight, would tolerate both wet and thick mediums, and would be impermeable to liquids.

Enter aluminum flashing, purchased in long rolls at a big box hardware store.

(WARNING: This stuff is wickedly dangerous when it first comes out of its packaging. It usually comes rolled very tightly... if you're not wearing protective clothing, gloves and eyewear as you cut it free of its shrink wrap, you risk seriously hurting yourself because it wants to unspool instantly and is all sharp, thin, metal edges. Even after releasing it from it's wrapping, I wear heavy gloves when handling it. You've been warned!!)

I experimented on two small pieces before deciding to tackle the rest of the roll as one piece.

I hammered both sides of each piece so that they would lay flat, and then sanded each side with a heavy grit sandpaper to give it good tooth.

One piece got collage elements...

... while the other got several layers of Stacked and Monoprinted Journaling in coordinating paint colors...

Happy with the results of both tests, I set on the roll of flashing like a mad woman, sanding both sides with my power sander. It was a loud proposition, so I had to use hearing protection, but the sander made the job fun, fast and easy.

I began to realize, though, that I would never be able to fully remove the curl that was a result of having been wound so tightly at the factory. Instead, I decided to embrace it, and even enhance it- instead of trying to hammer the piece flat so that it would stretch across the wall like a painting, I would tighten the curl and allow it to stand on a surface as a 3-D sculpture. I will paint and collage both sides so that when standing over the piece (as it might sit on a coffee or console table), you will see both the inside and the outside interacting with one another in a large curled shape. 

Ok, so maybe that only makes sense to me, but once it's complete and I can get some good photos of it, it will become more clear!

Anyway, here's one side of the roll of sanded and manipulated flashing as I added layers of monoprinted Stacked Journaling with paint. I wrote my Journaling on deli paper that I will later paint and stain, and use as my collage elements for this piece. 

After spending so much time this morning reinforcing the curl in the metal (I did this by rolling the sheet, a few inches at a time, against the metal edge of a shelf), it required a little maneuvering to make the sheet lay flat while I applied the monoprinted SJ.

I used a dictionary to tame one end of the curl, and my heavy iron to tame the other end.

I'm digging the industrial look of SJ on brushed metal. I'll continue working both sides of this piece until it's complete and then I'll see if I can get a good shot of it sitting on my coffee table.

Happy experimenting!


Gina said...

Love your experiment - what a great idea and yes, it makes perfect sense how you described it sitting displayed on a coffee table! Great idea, I look forward to seeing a finished one displayed!

Jill said...

Very impressive - you 3D idea sounds like a great project.

Robbie said...

Happy Experimenting? Yikes!!! Love these pieces!! Why not screw them into boards when you done then hang on the wall! These are great!!!!

Unknown said...

This is a really cool idea. I can picture it clearly. Do you need special paint for the metal, or will any acrylic work?

Deb H said...

These look fab, Judi! I love how you seem to view everything through an "artist usefulness" filter.
I'm looking forward to the next pictures.