Friday, January 17, 2014

Promise To Myself

I promised myself several things for 2014, and I'm following through, so far. It pleases me. Working every day- check! Blogging more frequently- check! Staying focused- check!

And so, inspired by the left-hand page in the lost-and-then-found art journal I told you about last week...


... I set to work trying to evoke that same composition (intentionally almost Notan-like) and movement.


I feel like I mostly succeeded on this 18" x 24" cradled panel, though I'm pretty sure the piece isn't finished, yet. I started with a background of paint and, as with the original page in my journal, created the two design elements with painted paper.

Now, lemme tell you about that amazing paper. Come closer, because if you're as obsessive about paper as I am, you're going to want to hear every word of what I say. I was introduced to this stuff through a former teacher, Pat Thomas, from whom I took an incredible paper marbling class a few years ago. I believe it was on her Facebook page where she mentioned having just purchased more "waterproof paper". Yupo? I wondered. No, something else, something different...something called Texoprint. I immediately scrambled over to Hollander's (the Mecca of paper products and bookbinding supplies and classes) and ordered twenty sheets.

Now, I always get excited when I order more art supplies, but that excitement was nothing compared with how anxious and restless I felt until the precious pages of this miracle "waterproof" paper arrived, wrapped around a sturdy cardboard tube. I immediately set out to determine what this paper could do and what it couldn't do, and I'm happy to report that it's really lovely stuff.

You can't tear it, but it cuts easily. It's waterproof, but it accepts all manner of water media beautifully and without shedding any color once it's dried on the surface. I haven't tried it, but I can imagine that even with many layers of acrylic paint on the surface, it would still stitch like butter. It's incredibly lightweight, but doesn't crinkle, fold or cockle even when soaking wet, and can it collage? Oh yeah, baby, it collages like a dream come true, always lying down perfectly flat on your substrate without wrinkling or tearing; squeegeeing air bubbles out is a breeze. Truly, I've never used a collage paper that laid so flat and smooth that it looked like it was part of the substrate!

So, um, yeah. I like it. You might, too.

Also this week, I've been playing with my large gelli plate, making papers for a future stitched book using a technique I've altered from one originally posted by the fabulous Ms. Joan Bess, over on the Gelli site.

I love the hugeness of one of their newest additions to the family, the 12" x 14" gel plate. It allows me to use my usual deli and copy paper sizes and get a "bleed" print, one that goes all the way to the edge of the paper.

This will most likely be the cover of the new book...


And these will be some of the signatures...




Let me tell you quickly about the last two photos above, because they're created using a bastardized version of a technique Ms. Joan developed a while back for printing on packing tape. In this technique video, Joan demonstrates how she applies many layers of paint to the gel plate, allowing each layer to dry in between, and then lifts all the layers off at once with packing tape.

I altered the technique slightly by using paper to lift the print, rather than packing tape. After I've applied all my layers of paint and let each of them dry, I slather the whole plate in textile paint, which has a gel-like consistency and tends to stay wet a little longer than most acrylic paints. I then let the textile paint sit on the plate for a minute or two, softening up the dried layers of paint beneath it. Then I burnish paper (in this case, 140# hot press water color paper) onto the gel plate, allow the paper to sit for another couple of minutes to really absorb all the paint, and then finally, I pull my print. Usually, this technique is a true one-off, because all the paint transfers to the paper and there's nothing left on the plate to take a ghost print. But with the two prints above, I misjudged how wet I had gotten the textile paint. You'd think, by looking at the two prints side by side, that the almost-completely yellow print was the ghost print- or the print that was taken last- but it's not!

After spending time burnishing the paper to the gel plate with a burnishing tool, and letting the paper sit and soak up all the paint, I pulled by print and was kind of amazed that almost none of the dried paint layers came up! I immediately slapped down another sheet of paper, burnished, waited, burnished, waited, said a little prayer to the gelli gods, and pulled my print. Fortunately, the second attempt at the plate had the desired effect, and pulled all the dried paint layers up.

Anyway, while you're over at the gelli site checking out Ms. Joan's work, please take a minute to watch her newest video. This is, in my humble opinion, is the best of the batch, and demonstrates layering color in a painterly fashion. Go. Watch!

Until next time, create with fun!
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