Out of all the papers I tried the only one that gave really unsatisfactory results (for my purposes) was the tracing paper. It is not absorbent so the paint just sits on the surface and as it dries the paper curls. So I tried scrunching a sheet up – tracing paper is quite sharp and hard to scrunch – it made my hands sore very quickly. It is quite brittle – some pieces broke off near the edges and several holes appeared as it seems to crack rather than crease when scrunched. It was impossible to flatten out again. I won’t be using this paper in collage – which is a pity because I rather liked the idea of a semi-transparent or translucent paper partially obscuring an image or giving the appearance of looking through a mist at another colour. The experiment is recorded for posterity here before I chuck these 2 pieces in the bin. 🙂
It all started with a tube of Turners Yellow. I noticed that the cap was breaking up but there was still viable paint left in the tube. I succumbed to this distraction and went through the whole box – there were a few others with small amounts of paint left. I have been doing some collage lately and I decided this was serendipitous, as I could have fun making some papers for collage and cull my paint collection at the same time. So I collected a pile of different papers together on the basis of “if it’s acid free I’d be happy to use it in an artwork”. The papers I had on hand were: tissue, handmade Chinese, bank layout, light cartridge, tracing, light engineering, bond (80 and 70gsm), calligraphy and brown Kraft paper. I didn’t include the heavy weight art papers as I was looking to find strong but thin papers so that there wasn’t a distinct “step” which would throw a shadow once assembled. I wanted the papers to be absorbent so that the colour traveled through the paper and there wasn’t a distinct white edge when they were cut. For this reason I thinned the paint a lot. Some of the papers I scrunched up a few times and then flattened them out so they had a bit of texture and the paint could penetrate whatever coating was on the paper. It was great fun experimenting and later I started layering colours over previous colours. As I worked I kept coming up with different ways to put the paint on, sometimes I used a spritzer to wet the paper before adding paint, sometimes the paper was dry. Sometimes I sprizted water after painting. Some papers cockled a lot, the handmade Chinese paper absorbed a huge amount of colour and was as flat after painting as it was beforehand. It is also very strong for such a thin paper. These are the papers I have created over the past week or so.