Friday, July 10, 2009

Settling In

Yesterday was day three back in my studio. I did a lot of experimentation and thinking that boiled down to leaving with a longer list of to-dos than I had when I arrived. First I decided to apply gold leaf over the rest of the rectangular gessoed frame that I didn't use when I cropped and put "Lists", the new piece -- see the previous post -- on a square frame instead.

If it's oriented vertically, it has the feel of an ancient bronze artifact.

When it's oriented horizontally, it almost looks like an open book! Either way, it offers a lot of possibilities.

This piece is one of those happy accidents. The original gold metallic leaf I applied was from Dick Blick. When it ran out I bought a different brand from Michaels -- and the different brands have a slight variation in the gold color.

My plan for this one -- if the Muse smiles on me -- is to do another layer of glaze, this time copper rather than black, then layer on some gessoed, painted papers and some tinted rice papers. I hope to exaggerate the "cracks" that some of the black ground that shows through the metallic leaf suggest and then complete it with hand painted Etruscan-style letter forms. So it's a variation of my Australian piece but using totally different materials.

Speaking of that Australian piece -- check here to refresh your memory of what that piece looks like -- part of my day was spent reviewing my image files of the development of that work. Seeing the images brought back the details of the techniques I used to develop that -- all the more reason to document the development of your work, folks.

Today a new length of silk goes on the print table and work on the first layer will begin, building on the style and imagery of that piece.

In planning for new pieces in this same vein, I'm seriously considering making silkscreens for 26 large and 26 small drawn and painted Etruscan letters with thermofax stencils. That would take time and a LOT of materials, but also would give me a way to easily lay down letters with dye, resist or discharge paste without direct painting every letter. One offers spontaneity and is more gestural and the other method offers predictability and more control. I'm guessing a combination of techniques will be most interesting, since I work with a variety of improvisational screen printing methods as well. I'll make several screens today and try them out before I get myself up to my eyeballs in designing and taping screens so I can evaluate just how useful they will be.

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