Sunday, July 3, 2011

Holiday Play Day

For me, holidays usually mean long, uninterrupted studio time, also known as a play day. This weekend I decided to work on something that I've been wanting to do for a while...something messy involving paint and paper. I have a big stash of paper that's been hanging around for, I don't know, maybe 20 years? It goes back to the days when I worked at a design firm and paper samples were plentiful and free. I've been slowly using it up over the years and most of what's left is dark with a linen or textured finish. It's too dark and rough to use for journals so I thought I could use it to make paper for collage or for artist books.

I also have a bunch of craft paint that I'd like to use up so I can trade up to Golden fluid acrylics. I need big girl paints!

I started off by using wax paper to make Rorschach monoprints. You simply blob some paint on the wax paper, fold it in half to make the design, then place your paper to be printed on top of the wax paper, and roll the back with a brayer. It's fun. It's random. It's instant gratification.

Check out this cool tool I found at the thrift store last week. It has a wooden brayer at each end and a handle in the middle. I have no idea what this tool is for, but I knew as soon as I saw it that it would make a handy studio tool.

I sometimes repeated the monoprint in different colors once the paper was dry. After that there was a lot of spraying, splattering, dripping, and stamping that went into each sheet of paper. It was a virtual free-for-all of good, clean (I mean messy) fun.

One technique that I really enjoyed is something that I read about somewhere--maybe in Cloth, Paper, Scissors--maybe not. I applied glue from a glue gun to the wooden roller above in random squiggles. Then, I inked it up with paint and rolled it over the monoprints. You can also do this with an old rolling pin. The best part is that the glue can be pulled off when you're done and you're ready to go with a brand new design or to use the original brayer. I really like the way it came out looking like some kind of a secret language.

The wax paper is good for a number of prints. You simply add more paint and start again. Afterward, it's pretty enough to be used in another project.

You can still see some of the original dark green paper that I started with. On this piece, I used black fabric paint to draw circles, then made a monoprint onto another piece of paper. I  put the second sheet on top of the first and used the brayer to flatten and transfer the image. I added the white and red circles by stamping with ordinary objects like plastic caps.

As usual, I'm not sure if any of these are finished or if I'll go back and work on them more. I still have a big stack "in process" that I'll most likely work on tonight and tomorrow while the studio is still a big huge mess. The results remind me of graffiti and I'm happy with the way they turned out. I hope you're having a fun-filled weekend wherever you are!

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