Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Back to Being an Artist

Staying just as cold as it's been, but at least it's not snowing, and all my fall semester stuff is officially done, so I can devote at least some of my break between classes to going back to being an artist.

When several attempts to print my holiday card directly on a stiff card stock did not work well, I started thinking about an alternative strategy.  I did eventually get one complete proof, but in the week since then, I've had time to work on other ideas.  With school done for a little while, and a need for several more completed cards, today I decided to explore a new option.

Last week I started that process, pulling 8 proofs of my card image on some student-grade Okawara, a tissue thin Japanese mulberry paper.  As long as one is careful not to rub the print so hard as to tear the paper, always prints very clearly and easily.  However, it's way too thin to be considered a "card", so the prints would have to be mounted on something else.  Decided to use more of the bristol board type paper I had tried to print on before, so this afternoon I found a rolled sheet and began the process of straightening it out flat.  Once that was satisfactory, I cut off a piece, and cut that into smaller pieces to be turned into the cards.  I decided that the printed pieces were dry enough to experiment on.

I know that watercolor works well over the oil based ink, and that with care one can hand color this type of paper.  I suppose that I could have just colored those 8 proofs, but then I wondered about mounting them and if it could be done without damaging the watercolor.  Figured it would be safer to mount them first, and color after.  So I took two of my new card stock pieces and thinly spread some Polyvinyl Acetate over the place where the woodcut would go.  PVA is basically a fancy white glue, but a pH neutral one that is used for art purposes like bookbinding, etc.  It certainly sticks paper to paper, so I carefully placed my proofs on top of the cards and pressed them down.

None of the PVA seemed to seep through the paper, so for now I will assume that I can color the surface as I would expect to.  Going to let it all dry overnight and try coloring tomorrow morning.  It doesn't take long, and once the watercolor is dry I should be able to fold, trim, and write out these latest ones.  If it all works, I have materials to make six more, a good activity if I'm trapped at home by a blizzard on Thursday, which the news thinks could be a possibility.  More than enough for the people I still owe them to, and if I need more than that, I could always print them on a nicer day than the ones we're expecting.


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