Paper, paints and crayons.
Unit 9 is a design exercise using paper instead of canvas and paints and crayons instead of threads and yarns. I used oil pastels and watercolour paints on various papers from photocopy paper to handmade wrapping paper and textured mulberry papers af varying weights. I also had nice tissue paper but it was too thin to hold the mediums I was working with. It did come in handy for blotting paint though!
I looked carefully at my earlier colour studies (units 3) and based my colours around a combination of the watercolour study and the oil pastel study where the colours are bright and the marks more prominent. I had a good selection of mulberry papers which I thought would be great for this project. There are lots of fibres showing through and there was a bit of variety in the colour, thickness and fibres. They were really good to work with although the thinner one was very delicate when it was wet.
Once the paper dried it was easy to work with. I continued marking and painting in a variety of colours, mixing colours as and when I needed to. It was great experimenting with the paints as well as the oils. I got quite carried away!
At one point I noticed the brush was not holding the paint. This was very odd! It was happening because the oils were adhering to the brush fibres as it ran over them. This was quickly remedied by washing the brush with hot soapy water which I had to do a few times.
I had recently been on a trip to a tapestry exhibition in the Dovecot Gallery in Edinburgh. The exhibition was incredible. The tapestries dated back 100 years and had initially been commissioned by Lord Somebody(!) to hang in his stately home. Quite a lot of the tapestries were designed by famous artists including Paul Gauguin, and David Hockney and some of the tapestries were massive. They must have taken years to complete even though there would be several artisans working on it at the same time. The 3rd floor of the gallery allowed you to look down into the studio of the artists who are working on tapestries at the moment. Unfortunately there was no one working on anything at the time I was there but you could see work on frames and lots of yarns stacked on shelves too. Articles about the exhibition can be found in craft magazines as well as Country Life and House & Garden Summer issues. Anyway I digress! The main point of telling you that snippet of useless information is because the centre is near Greyfriars Art shop. (Which is next to Greyfriars Church yard, which I won’t explain the significance of here and assume you know already!) I went in for a look around as you do and saw some water-soluble wax crayons. They were far more expensive than my bargain £1 Asda pack which was a false economy because they ended up in the bin! I bought them and used them on one of my pieces. I marked some horizontal lines in a rainbow selection of colours. I wondered how they would react to the watercolour paint. I expected them to blend in and disappear but they didn’t. The marks softened and spread out a little but they can still be clearly seen. This work is the long vertical strip on the RHS of the above photograph. I had crumpled the paper up to add texture here too.
I thought some of the backs of the painted papers could be useful too, especially for making subtle tonal alterations.
Weaving the paper.
I referred back to my watercolour study to look at the top row of the stones in my wall. This helped in deciding on the colours and widths of papers I was going to start with. Looking at my finished piece now, I can see I was concentrating more on the order of colours and textures and not enough on the shapes of the stones. The first row is too uniform and should portray just the opposite. However I did give more thought to the shapes and positions of the stones as the weaving progressed. Most of the papers were torn as the ragged edges suited the design of the wall. I also experimented with wrapping one paper around another (2nd row) before weaving it into the design. This had an interesting effect where it subtly changed the colours just like using threads to make another colour in unit 8. Apart from the top part I like this weaving very much.
I am now thinking about which part I will translate onto canvas and how I will do that. Exciting stuff!
In part (ii) I will look at translating a section of the weaving (above) into a canvas sample.