Enchantment Version 2

Version 2: Softcut Block A4

I sketched the same scene onto softcut, rather than risk cutting the first one and regretting it- I wanted to try approaching it with more open space, leaving outlines in relief. This would leave more potential for introducing colour in various ways, such as through monoprinting, or chine colle.

This is it with a bit of scratching into the ink.

Chine Colle

I went a bit silly with the tissue paper at first, layering it in strips in the open space, the area where the narrative takes place and which was meant to evoke a magical feeling. The strips of tissue work ok, but they create areas of relief themselves which stop the ink going on smoothly where they end, so the result is messy. I’ve already been through this kind of over-complicated approach to using tissue paper in my experiments with the Gauguin still life, and my conclusion there was that less is more, something I seem to have forgotten momentarily…

So I went back to just using one colour of tissue that would shine through the open area and light it up in a different colour.

At the same time, I was wondering about adding text. I wanted something simple, suggesting a fairy tale, but not actually telling anything, so came up with “Once in a pool of light”. Having no verb, it doesn’t say anything about anything happening, nor does it mention any people: just the circumstances, with the rest left to be told by the picture. I felt it added a dreamy, timeless atmosphere, so added it at the bottom, in simple handwriting in a fine line, as if written with a pen.

I only have primary colours of tissue paper here, so chose to print it in yellow, to emphasize brightness and sun, and in blue, to echo the cool moonlight feel of the previous print. The tissue is delicate enough to pick up the writing clearly, and also creates interesting texture on its own, additional ripples on the water, and cracks in the colour where it has wrinkled. It looks like the cover of an old leather-bound book. This is simple but I like it.

I also have a selection of coloured tracing paper, one of which is silver, so I printed on that too. It has no wrinkles, being a firm paper, and it has the advantage that the colour, and hence the mood, can be changed by varying the colour of paper placed behind it. It’s also shiny, so changes according to the light source.

Here are some variations using different colours behind the print.

It was actually here that I first thought of combining the tissue paper and the tracing paper. This picture uses the same combination as the Facebook print- white ink on blue tissue, overlaid with rainbow-rolled (white – pale blue) ink on clear tracing paper. The wateriness of the colours and the depths suggested by the layers seem to suit the subject matter.

Lino- and mono-print

This version is a plain print in a single colour printed firstly on Chinese calligraphy paper and then on plain drawing paper. After the inking, the colours were added by brushing colour onto the plate. This has come out rather insipid. Perhaps it’s the water-based inks- they dry quickly in the heat.

Linoprint with inking

This version is on mulberry paper, very soft and absorbent. The colours have been added by painting on drawing inks with a brush. I diluted them so that they wouldn’t jar too much with the linocut. This is probably my favourite one of them all. It, again, has the look of a quite faded old comic book or children’s story book, and so fits the retro boy’s-own-adventure feel I was after. The absorbency of the paper creates a much softer  and more even finish than the dry brushed inks in the versions above, and so the atmosphere is gentler as a result.

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Chine Colle: Facebook

Facebook: Four faces

This is a large print, on roughly A1 paper. It is four versions of the self-portrait, as I did before, but I decided to try again and improve the quality of the chine colle finish by using a spray-on glue that could be used with water-based inks. As I said before, the water-based glues were just causing the tissue paper to disintegrate on contact. This is using a spray-on very strong bonding glue that I found in the hardware store- it’s not the mounting spray you get from art shops.

This is meant to be variations on a theme, using the primary colours of red, blue and green with white as a contrast. Each of the versions creates a different interplay between the colours, as well as the textures of the chine colleed print.  I was thinking of Facebook, of the different personas people construct online, each of them more or less artificial, geared to an audience. None of these faces is “realistic”, but makes a statement and forces the eye to look and read the image in different ways. It was also a nice way to experiment with different ways of using chine colle all in one image.

 

Top left

This is red ink on white papier de soie. I like how the print definition is so clear using this paper, and also like the tight wrinkles created in the non-inked paper. This one is inked in red and wiped, obliterating some of the face. The observer will still be able to “fill in” the missing parts however, so the effect is perhaps of a casual attitude or conscious mystery-making.

Bottom left

Below it is a jarring colour combination which confuses the eye due to the red and the blue being the same tones but contrasting in hue. (The photo is making the red look darker than it really is.) This is red ink on blue papier de soie, so again there are small wrinkles that compete with the fine lines in the inked colour. As mentioned before, the design of this print, portraying my own bleached white hair, confuses one about the positives and negatives already, so here, the eye is not sure what to bring forward and what to send back. This gives out a bold, even aggressive image.

Bottom Right

This one is printed on coloured tracing paper, so is rigid and has no creases. On the other hand, it plays with the eye because of the contrasts of the primary colours, and then has some movement created by the rainbow rolling of the blue and green colours. This has the effect of “changing” the colour of the red background as the eye moves over it, and the result is a very rich glowing colour that seems to have depth and fire to it.

Top right

This one is contrastingly cool. It is the most complex image, one that should have most depth as it has two paper layers. The first is white ink over blue tissue paper, then rainbow rolled white/ pale blue on grey tracing paper. The effect is a bit like an iced pond, as the eye can see down through it to the darker blue below.

The effect of the whole is a bit unsettling, I have to say!