Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Mi Camino" (draft 2)

Today's quote is the same verse from yesterday. Even though I had hoped to post the final today, I made the decision to give myself some more time to work on the weight and placement of the versals. Psalm 119: 105 is written in Spanish (Spencerian Script). The versals will be in English.

Some mediums require the artist to finish the piece in one sitting such as working alla prima in oils. Being able to pause and allow some time to explore all the options is definitely an advantage with mixed media.

One of the most important processes for me...especially when writing in knowing how to protect the previous layer and prepare the surface to receive more layers. In light of that, there are two products I simply cannot live without. One of them is Gel Matte Medium (Golden). The other one is Krylon Spray Acrylic Coating.

All mono printed rice papers must be sealed before adhering to your support. If there is an exceptionally heavy area of ink, I would spray it 3x and dry in between with a hair dryer. One coat is quite sufficient for lighter applications of ink.

After adhering all of the rice papers and other collage elements, you will need to spray your piece with spray acrylic coating again. This act will cause the rice papers to become translucent where there is little or no ink and will also bring out the patina of old text pages or images.

If you are a lettering artist or if you want to add a drawing directly on your piece with pen and ink (or gouache), you will need to prepare your surface for lettering. Rice paper is very porous and the spray acrylic coating resolves that issue, but then you have the dilemma of trying to write on slick paper. Gouache and ink will not adhere to this type of surface.

You will need to mix up (1) part gel matte medium to (2) parts water by mixing in the water a little bit at a time with a palette knife on a disposable foam plate. You will then brush this over your piece by holding a hair dryer in your left hand and a foam brush in your right hand. This has to be a simultaneously activity (at least for the first coat). The gel medium will not attach to the slick surface without heat...especially if there has been a heavy application of ink or paint in the first layers.

So that is what I did to this piece this morning. After it was prepared for my pointed pen and bleedproof white gouache, I marked my base line in the black area with a sharpened white charcoal pencil. This is the best way to get your guidelines onto a dark surface. When your lettering is totally dry, the charcoal lines can be easily removed with a stiff brush or a kneaded eraser.

One other thing I added this morning was some of the background stamp printed with white Speedball Printing Ink in the black area. To make it more integrated and not so overpowering, I blotted part of the print with a kleenex dipped in a small amount of water. This is much more subtle and creates an echo of that image. The neat thing about trying this is that you will be able to completely wipe it off with water if it doesn't please you.

I ended up my work today by spraying this entire piece with spray acrylic coating (2x) and drying in between. This will ensure that when I prepare it for the remaining lettering, I will be able to completely remove any letters that don't turn out well without disturbing the previous layer. I hope this makes sense. Knowing how to seal a surface and prepare it for the next layer is absolutely critical information for the mixed media artist. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

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