On the washed off Terra Skin from the last post, I started putting thick paint on and letting it run. As it dried I gradually brought some flower shapes out and I lifted some out, too. When I was done, it seemed that the left side of the painting was too different from the right, so I cut it into two paintings -- what a deal! These floral fantasies really take advantage of the properties of this "stone paper" -- I hope you can see the amazing textures. However, it seemed in my first painting that the painting became paler and paler day after day as it dried, so I fear I may lose some of the vivid colors in these. We'll see.
My friend Carrol Wolf gave me a large (28 x 40) piece of Terra Skin, a new "paper" made out of stone (ground up calcium carbonate plus binders) that is supposed to save trees and be biodegradable. Today I tried watercolor painting on it. I never got the hang of Yupo, and this surface is a little like it, though it seems like the paint sticks to it a little better than to Yupo. I found I could easily glaze over other colors that had been allowed to dry completely, without disturbing the underlying color. It is easy to make fascinating textures on Terra Skin and to get hypnotized watching the colors mingle. It is extremely easy to lift color, even staining Prussian blue, down to the white. Masking tape stuck too well to the Terra Skin, and it was very difficult to remove, so if, like me, you like to tape your paper to a board, this may be a problem. Anyway, I didn't like the resulting painting, so I decided to wash all the paint off. Most of it came off under running water, and even staining colors came off with a soapy sponge and a little scrubbing. Even pencil marks washed off. I wondered whether washing with soap would affect the surface, but apparently not, since I did some tests with additional watercolors on it and it behaved the same as before. It would appear that one could paint for years without ever buying any more paper or Terra Skin at all!
After hearing a talk by Gerald Brommer on Saturday and seeing his slide show of his paintings of hill towns done with a variety of techniques, I came home once again inspired to try collage. This time I tried diluted Elmer's glue, as Brommer suggested as an alternate to matte medium. I cut up little squares of watercolor paper (his idea, only he cuts up 3 x 5 cards), slathered a piece of watercolor paper with diluted glue, and started sticking squares on. After it dried for 24 hours, I painted it on a slant, letting the colors run. The glue made for an interesting texture. I think it turned out OK and it was fun to do.
I decided I didn't like the painting in the last post. It looked too much like a Halloween witch and not enough like an anxious Grandma. So I took another painting I didn't care for ("Vessels of Memory 2") and made a watercolor collage out of them. I tore them into vague mountain shapes. I had a seascape in mind, and I had to paint some pieces I ended up needing. One of the really fun things about collage is that you can tear or cut out a shape you think you need and then lay it on the painting and see how it looks and move it somewhere else and see how it looks there and even change the shape. One of the really awful things about collage (at least for me, the neatnik) is the stuff you have to use to stick the pieces together or onto the mount. My pal Jessie and I went to Staples and investigated all the possibilities for adhesion they had. I bought a bunch and tried them all, but rejected most for being too messy (got all over me and all over my stuff) or too smelly (rubber cement) or too expensive (it required $7 worth of permanent glue tape to affix just a few pieces, though it adhered really well). I ended up sticking with good old glue stick. We will see if it really can permanently hold the big heavy pieces on.
Can you see the old painting in there? (Hint -- look at the right side of the old painting and then at the top of the collage.)
Today I saw a photo of a group of actors that caught my attention, and I decided to paint three of them. The painting turned out too tight, because I cared too much about my drawing. To loosen up, I used one of my granddaughter's creations as inspiration and just put paint to paper. If the goal of painting is to have fun, both did the trick.