This week we had a paste paper day. It was the first for over two years, and we had to get back in the swing of it. Julia came, and Annie, and we each made some paste at home the night before. It was a first for Julia. Annie and I had done it many times before but neither of us could remember which recipe we used to cook the paste. Both of us used a different recipe and got different results. Julia used a third method.
My aim for the day was to make some good ‘pulled’ paste papers. This is done by putting two wet pieces of paste paper face together and pressing them down with your hands so that the paint transferred from each one to the other. Somehow we had a bit of trouble with getting interesting ones, whereas , beginners’ luck, we used to get wonderful ones in the past. The first pair of papers here are done this way, but the results weren’t the wonderful mossy marks we are used to getting. Maybe the paste was a little thin.
Later in the day, Annie made a great one by using a slightly larger sheet and folding it back on itself, giving the intricate patterns seen in the green-and-red and the blue-and-yellow-and green. These are my papers, made using this method. We were using slightly thicker paste by this time.
The last job of the day for me, late in the day given it is winter, was a final coat of silver on top of many coats on a paper I wasn’t happy with. Looking good. now!
One thing we learnt from the day,was that the papers done on thicker paper seemed to work out the best. It can’t be too thick, because it then can’t be used to cover book boards. Watercolour paper is both too thick and too absorbent. We used a lot of different papers including 110gsm cartridge paper. The very best paper, we got from a paper warehouse that has since closed down and of course we can’t get it any more.
Just before I went to Bali recently, I made two tiny notebooks. One for Broni, one for me. They were for writing down things like phone numbers, exchange rates, things like that. They were so useful that we pretty much filled them up. Well, when you’re working in millions of rupiah, all those zeros take up a lot of space.
We decided that we would need new ones for Europe, and that they would need to be a bit bigger. We will have train times to write down, a few more hotel phone numbers, and besides that, the trip goes on a lot longer. So, these new ones are A6 size, and the structure is a concertina with a signature sewn into each valley fold. They are stitched with pamphlet stitch, and a band of paper has been threaded through the stitching on the spine and glued into the cover to stop the concertina unfolding. The covers and endpapers are made from credit card papers.
We will be off at the end of the month…….Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Thailand. Send me a message if you want to catch up.
These are the papers I use to collage my sketchbook pages. I buy them from Artwise the Amazing Paper Shop. You can click on any of these images to get a better look!
I lay them on the sketchbook (in this case, a Stillman & Birn Delta series……nice and robust for this sort of work….pages don’t curl) and work out which pieces I will use. I always tear the papers rather than cut them.
I use Matisse Gel Medium, though other mediums would also be fine. Then I glue them against the pages of one of our local papers, the Inner West Courier, which has glossy paper so the newsprint doesn’t come off. One by one, I paint the medium onto the kozo paper, out past the edges, so any loose fibres will stick down. Then I place them on the sketchbook page and press them down.
I could go right ahead and put watercolour paint on now, but unless I am pressed for time I put waxed paper between the pages and let it dry overnight. In the morning I slosh on some watercolour paint. Sometimes I just use what is on my palette but if I think I am going to be painting sandstone I use some yellow ochre or raw sienna.
This page was used for the Sydney University archway sketch, and the one on the left in the picture of the sketchbook was for the tower and roof.
Though I haven’t been sketching much lately, I have been making cards with my Gelli prints. Many of the ones I’ve made previously have been on top of recycled etchings or other types of fine art prints. I made quite a number framed by white and cream (the eco dyed ones for example) so I decided I needed more brights. As it happens, the ones I chose to photograph this time are Gelli printed only.
The first one has been printed with a capsicum (green pepper) and some sewing cotton. It has some glorious colours in there, and of course I don’t have a clue what colours I used. Perhaps some Matisse Primary Red which is quite a blue-red.
The second one is with a commercially available stencil and another layer with some sewing cotton. There is a layer of yellow, some red, then some blue. I’ve noticed that I often use the three primary colours for Gelli printing. This one has some yellow, a warmer red, and some blue. I often use Matisse Southern Ocean Blue. I love that colour.
The third card uses the same colours, but could it be more different? It’s a combination of fruit and vegetable bags from the greengrocer.
Number four with the purple border is just gorgeous ‘in the flesh’. There’s some orange there, some magenta, and a colour that could be Australian Yellow Green. (All these colours are Matisse Flow, used about 50/50 with Matisse Open Medium.) This one is capsicum again, with I think lemons in a pale colour underneath. There are some filmy capsicums in iridescent on top.
The final one is a yellow first layer with sewing cotton, then lemons with green, followed by a stamp with a capsicum in Southern Ocean Blue.
They all have colour coordinated envelopes in brights that contrast with the main colour of the card.
Here’s another video for you to watch. I may have mentioned David from Matisse Derivan. He now calls himself Derivan Dave. I thought you might like to see his video too. He’s not normally so serious.
This is a little peg doll Christmas tree ornament that I made a long time ago. A friend and I made a lot of them to put in with Christmas presents. I had a stash of small pieces of the most luxurious fabrics given to me by a friend who made theatrical costumes for a living. I still have four or five of them and I wish I hadn’t chosen this one to draw. It was the gold netting over-skirt that gave me the trouble – and the gold wings. The rest is watercolour but I used gold acrylic, and some white highlight, because gold is quite transparent and it wasn’t showing up.
EdiM is going through a stressful patch because there is just so much on. We’ve had the opening of our exhibition, and tomorrow I have to mind the exhibition. Today I hoped to stay home, catch up on EDiM and prepare for my workshop at Balmain Library next week. Then my mobile phone died so I’ll have to go into the city to take it for repairs.
This weekend is the Writers Festival, so that will take up all of Saturday. Art Along the Boardwalk and the Pyrmont Art Prize are both on the same day this weekend. I normally take part in both of these, or at very least attend. The Sydney Sketch Club is going to the Powerhouse Museum. I’d planned to go to that till I found out the date. On top of that one of my cats got very sick, – many trips to the vet and about $1k so far. A friend turned up from out of town…and then the phone. Still hoping to catch up a little today.