Friday, May 13, 2011

Mr. Seahorse

This is the result of a failed experiment. But yes, I like it. I see some possibilities for it.

Gouache & white pastel pencil on gampi, sandwiched between 4 sheets of gampi glued together with GAC 500. So there are 5 layers of gampi all together. Shot on a window.

In my previous experiment, I played with using Chinese mulberry paper to paint/draw on, and then attaching it to a gouache/acrylic surface. The mulberry paper is thin, but only slightly transparent (as you can see in this entry; it was also really easy to handle, and it dampened very easily and evenly.

So today, I tried doing the same thing with a gampi paper that is known as 'Japanese silk tissue.' It's not silk, it's a gampi fiber made into a super thin, fairly transparent paper. it's often used in conservation work.

So first, I made 2 sets of 2 swatches, one of the Koh-i-noor watercolor pencils and another of the gouache (I didn't bother with the pastel pencils this time). Attached it to a gouache/acrylic scrap using the spritz & dust method using wheat paste. For the most part, it's really hard to see where the swatches even are! And it was very difficult to dampen the paper evenly; the paper was also harder to handle after dampening. And with the paper unevenly dampened, it's not uniformly transparent throughout. It's pretty much impossible to see the Koh-i-noor swatch (on the left).

While the swatches were drying, I also started the seahorse with gouache. The paper puckered and stayed puckered. I started with a very watered down black+brown pigment and finished it with a white pastel for highlights. This is shot attached to newsprint.

At this point, looking at the swatches drying, I decided to not bother collaging the seahorse onto another drawing/painting. Instead, I decided to sandwich it between more layers of gampi, and the result is the top image.

I can definitely see some possibilities for this, maybe in a book, or in a sculptural work.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ms. Potato Head

My friend and fellow artist Catherine Alice Michaelis of May Day Press planted some potatoes. And she said that if it was true that you are what you eat, then she would be a potato. So this is the kind of potato that I think she might be:

Gouache & watercolor pencils on Chinese mulberry paper.

It's actually an Ernst Haeckel image that I've shaped into more of a potato shape. It's part of a new experiment that I'm trying. So here it is, earlier in the night, when it's mostly just sketched in with the gouache and I've just started to draw the 'blooms.'

Remember that drawing of a peony that I didn't use for the the 27th & 29th panels? I used it here. The larger drawing was a doodle I made a few weeks back in gouache.

I spritzed the back side of the peony nice and wet (it's done in koh-i-noor watercolor pencils and it did not run when I spritzed it), dusted it with dry wheatpaste powder, flipped it over and pasted it down on the larger drawing. Since the larger drawing was not dampened, it is now slightly warped. The exercise was to see if the spritzing and wheatpaste powder would work as a glue for collage on gouache painted surface when I can't or don't want to brush on the glue. This was a trick Jane Pagliarulo of Atelier Meridian taught me for chine colle, and it works really well here too!

(If I were doing this for real, this would be on a board, or I would've dampened the substrate so it wouldn't warp.)

The experiment started with this -- I made 2 sets of 3 swatches with pastel pencils, koh-i-noor watercolor pencils and gouache. I pasted 1 set onto a scrap (painted w/ gouache & acrylic) using the spritz & dust method, and compared the result to the control set. None of the mediums had problems with being spritzed on the back side, even on the thin mulberry paper. The pastel pencils did rub off easily, but the water caused no damage that I could detect.