Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hot Tamales! The Muse Visits

Order of the day yesterday, more experimentation. Another cheapie synthetic scarf got sacrificed to the heat gun to create a strong finishing layer for this 12" x 12" piece, "Notations 9." A few touches of red and golden yellow accents completed it.

Then the day took a surprising turn. I decided to apply gold leaf to a canvas wrapped stretcher frame. You'll find this and other great finishing techniques in Jane Dunnewold's DVD, "Finish It" which you can buy from Art Cloth Studios. Just click the link.

Since finishing a frame this way was an "experiment," I grabbed an old 10" square frame that I had painted with black on the side and then for some unknown reason, an eye popping golden yellow on top.

I applied the gold leaf as per Jane's instructions. While it was drying, I decided to glue some rice paper down to the yellow area to keep it from showing through any textile I might apply over it. While working with the rice paper, I tried to lift it off the surface and reposition it and it began to rip in interesting ways. Intrigued by the ripped edges, I created some more. Rationale? They would disappear when I applied a textile over the surface, anyway, so I felt free to try anything.

Once the gold leaf and ripped rice papers dried, I brushed off the excess leaf and began working brown Setacolor paint in over the sides. As usual, my brush started to wander with a life of its own and reached the rice paper. Almost magically, the surface appeared to age. The golden yellow could be muted or allowed to glow through from beneath the rice paper.

Depth, dimension, visual interest, the appearance of age and deterioration -- lovely. I added a few more colors and some marbled foils for the blue green areas.

With the addition of a few distinct letterforms, this small work will be complete. The question that remains is, how do I want to add them? Painting, printing, collaging? More play and experimentation lie ahead.

It is my first piece totally outside the realm of textiles. Yes, I've seen mixed media works with rice paper, read books about these techniques and seen them in other people's work. I've wanted to try them (obviously, since I have three kinds of rice paper at my studio) but somehow couldn't give myself permission to take that step into another medium. Why? Who knows? When the time is right to take a new creative step, it seems to just happen. I back into discoveries -- or rear end them. Seldom do I hurtle forward in a vintage Corvette convertible at high speeds.

All I do know is that with five boxes of 12" x 12" frames sitting in my studio (5 x 6 = 30!), I'll be able to continue to experiment for quite a while!


  1. Jeanne, this piece is so rich in texture. I'm looking forward to seeing more of these beautiful experiments.

  2. Vicki, me too! Working on stretched canvas opens up new possibilities for creating textural surfaces and complements the fabric work -- just another way of expressing the concept.