Monday, 6 June 2011

Art Journal Every Day plus Strathmore Workshop 2 plus Dry Point Printing

This post is a real mix up because it uses lots of things I have been working with.

The inspiration is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's wonderful Art Journal Every Day.

Sadly I haven't - but I have done much more journalling than I otherwise would have done.

I have had a busy time lately as our daughter came to stay with her 3 children, 6, 4 and 2 - it was great fun but there was no time for anything apart from the paddling pool, water table, tree house and bouncy castle! (A tiny garden one!!)

When they went home I started to catch up with my e-mails and  amongst the links to the latest Balzer Designs  posts I saw this great idea of journalling a month of faces:

"I am trying an art journaling experiment for June.  Normally I do a very diary-like version of art journaling every day.  As long as I sit down for a few minutes and say something about my day, I can tick it off of my "to do" list.  For the month of June I've decided to do something a little different.  My big daily art journal has been sent away, as a spread in it is being published.  I was trying to figure out what to do about that.  And the idea hit me square in the face. 
I have drawn a grid of thirty boxes in one of my other smaller journals.  And every day this month I will art journal by drawing a face in one of the boxes.  Some days I may include text.  Some days not.  Some days the faces may be colored.  Other days, just scribbly pencil marks. "  

- see -

This really hit me as I realised that I had some grids which I did for the Strathmore workshop 2 and had never used  - see first image - and also that I had a load of faces.

I have been doing an Edgar Allan Poe swap on so I had been drawing Aubrey Beardsley-like images for that.

THEN I went to my monthly Practice Your Printing Workshop at Unique Cottage  Studio. I hadn't had time to do anything new and was planning to play with plates I had already done.

When I got there - doh! - I found I had forgotten  my plates.

 But I did have my sketch book full of the Poe drawings.

So I used one of my swap drawings and etched it onto an acetate plate to use at the workshop.

It is a shameless plagiarism of Beardsley's  "Of a Neophyte and How the Black Art was Revealed unto him by the fiend Asomuel" .

I liked this as an image of the usher twins, Roderick and Madeline, and their impending doom.

The first image is the original drawing and the second is the first print off the etched plate (this reverses the image).

I wanted to try À la poupée, adding coloured backgrounds and chine-collée again
À la poupée

À la poupée describes the technique of using cotton buds to add printing ink to particular areas of the prepared plate, so I played with red ink. First time I did the twins with red lips and gave Madeline a red scarf and the second time gave Madeline a blue scarf and red hair/turban/ whatever it is!

It is - as you can see!- quite hard to make an accurate mark but I like the effect and will try this again

Another way of adding colour is to roll a second colour onto the prepared plate - again the experiment was not too successful!

The colour I used was much too dark to really see the printed image, so once more I shall try this again.


I also had another go at  chine-collée  -  and once more the image was too pale again BUT we had no scrim available and the scrim does seem particularly important to force the ink into the etched lines as several of us had problems with under-inked prints....

I prepared the plate and added chocolate wrappers right side down plus a wonderful quote I found in an old Dumas book which was so appropriate "I depart, my brother, and nothing retains me here, I presume".
The wrong side of the collage papers faces up and has to be coated with Pritt Stick.

The print goes onto newsprint paper on the press and the damped printing paper goes face down on top of this and the collage is sandwiched together with the ink from the plate forcing through.

I came home with my prints and when I saw Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's faces prompt I decided they were an ideal chance to catch up with the Art Journal Every Day project as I could do a 5 day spread of faces and then carry on from 7th June doing a face a day (- which means I have one to do tomorrow!)

So I cut out my drawing and the prints and added them to the journal spread. The white of the faces looked very stark against the background so I tinted them with Pentel Aquash watercolour crayons (thanks again to Strathmore Workshops for putting me on to these!) - I love these because the pigment is intense, plus you can add the marks exactly where you want them, then use water to turn them into as subtle or intense an effect as you want.

I used image transfers for labelling and added a description of what I was trying to do in sepia artists' pens. 

So  - I have a double page spread that starts me on my month of faces, uses my Strathmore pages, and gives me a record of my printing experiments so that I can try to learn from past errors during the Printing Workshop on July 16th!

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