This is a detail shot of my latest completed collage (the 7th I think). I used some of the papers I have been painting over the last few weeks (3 out of 100’s – grin). I had carved a couple of lino-cuts just before Christmas and used one of them for this piece. I printed the lino cut with Derivan Block Ink and later worked into the piece with Derwent coloured pencil, Pitt Indian Ink Artist pen and Rembrandt soft pastel. I will give it a few coats of fixative because of the pastel and pencil before storing it. This series of collages are all 20cm W by 30cm H.
This is Chinese paper which is sold by Jacksons Art Supplies. The only bit I can read on the label says “Xue Shan” which I presume to be the company which makes it. The paper is very absorbent, has a shiny side and a dull side and has a vague stripe running through it (guidelines for their calligraphy?). I placed a piece on plastic on a slight slope. I dampened the paper and put very dilute blue paint along the top edge and watched it slowly make it’s way down the slope. Once this was dry I turned the bottom edge to the top and did the same with red. I really like the blending and the following of creases, I also like the way the paint went around air bubbles. The top photo shows the front (the side I painted) and
the lower photo shows the back. I think I actually like the back better.
Recently I picked out some of the less interesting previously painted papers and added more paint as well as creating some new papers. This photo shows all the papers painted that day.
This photo shows 4 uninteresting papers chosen for overpainting.
This is the result of overpainting the uninteresting papers. They are starting to become a lot more interesting now.
There is a tube of Burnt Umber that needs using too so after using it as is, I had a go at some other earthy colours by adding orange to the Burnt Umber. I need to create some more blues and purples to go with these too.
I’m starting to love the process of creating painted papers! – if I’m not careful I will fill the house as I have lots of paper and lots of paint! I am learning a lot about the qualities of the various papers. How absorbent they are, how strong they are when wet, what they are like to “scrunch”, how the paint spreads or pools. It is definitely a fun activity.
The Turners Yellow isn’t finished yet! I started with Turners Yellow and gradually added a different colour as I changed papers. The colour added is a mystery (might be iron oxide – it’s a sort of russet or rusty red) as it has lost it’s label. Which doesn’t stop me mixing colours with it of course. I think I’ve got enough reds/oranges to actually start forming a composition now. I think I need to create more blues/purples though to set them off.
This is an experiment in using Binder Medium to pick up paint that has already dried on the plastic protecting the desk. I painted one sheet with full strength medium, laid it over the dry paint and used a brayer to press it down. On another sheet I painted the Binder medium over the dried paint and pressed the paper onto it. I also experimented with diluting the binder medium to see what difference that made.
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.