Saturday, December 05, 2009

Rocky the Crow

Relief printing is the third medium that I've tried using the Terraskin paper and Rocky the Crow is the result of the experiment.

I found a small piece of soft cut block which is heaven to carve and doesn't hurt my hand.  I then sketched a crow sillouette and branch onto the block.  Using Amie Roman's advice about carving out the crow and tree instead of leaving them as the relief worked beautifully on black paper, but of course on the off white surface of the Terraskin, it becomes reversed with an albino crow.

Terraskin doesn't absorb ink the same way as regular paper would and with its slicker surface, burnishing blurred the image.  I found more success with saturating the block with ink then plopping it onto the terraskin and using the pressure of my hand only, leaning into it to apply the image to the surface.  Even then, I can't get a crisp image with the block.

With the first blurred image, I thought I would try washing the ink off the surface, as can be done with Yupo.  A lot of the ink did wash away, but there is a shadow left that makes the piece unusable unless gessoed....another element for another experiment perhaps.

So I did a quick print on black paper to get the desired effect of black crow.  I didn't test first to get a really good print, but the general idea is there.  I will work more on some good prints of this image.

The results of this experiment?  Terraskin isn't going to work well for printing from what I've seen so far.  However, I think it is worth playing with more to see what other effects can be achieved with it in the print world.  Never say never.

Friday, December 04, 2009

They're here

...but may not be for long, as they're going fast.

I received the cards and prints of the Merry Christmas Hares and Purity Kisses back from the printer today and they are up in my Etsy shop for sale now. 

In addition to packs of three cards, you can also buy the cards singly.  I have produced limited numbers of 8 x 10 prints in both the hares and kisses and some 12 x 18 prints of the kisses.

I have no time tonight to play with my rock paper so it will have to wait til tomorrow sometime.  I have a board meeting in the morning, but Sunday looks like it will be a snow day 10 - 30cm forecast!  Perfect for some painting and digging out Christmas decorations.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Rocky the Puppy

This is my second experiment using different media on the TerraSkin paper. This sketch is the start of a puppy using coloured pencils - Derwent Coloursoft in this case.  I suppose I should really use the same subject for each test, but that never appeals much so I'm varying them.  After all, its about the paper's reaction to media, not subject or colour values.

So what's the verdict?  The pencils apply smoothly to the surface of the paper and I'm using a light pressure to avoid applying too much pigment to the surface and overloading it.  I think that TerraSkin acts similarly to drafting film but with a bit more tooth to it but opaque, not translucent.  I will still be careful in what colours I apply and how they are applied, as I know I can easily reach saturation point without achieve the depth that I want.

As with drafting film, you can erase coloured pencil down to the white again  on this paper without damaging the surface - always a bonus in cp work! 

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Rocky the Snowman

My TerraSkin paper arrived yesterday and I cut up one of the sheets to give it a little test run without committing myself to a large painting.  This is the resulting image, perhaps another Christmas card in the making?  What else could he be called but Rocky??

This paper is created from >75% mineral powder with <25% non toxic resin to hold it together. This produces an environmentally friendly paper. It is reported to be multimedia paper and similar to 385lb watercolour paper.   I bought half a dozen half sheets to play with as I didn't know if I'd like it or not.  However, it was very economically priced compared to what I usually pay for 300lb Arches.

The paper is substantially and feels like 300lb paper in terms of weight but has the smooth surface of Yupo and behaves similarly to that support but not as slippery.  TerraSkin is exquisite to draw on and erases beautifully without marking the surface.  The manufacturer claims that because it is fibreless it doesn't absorb ink as traditional paper does, therefore using 25% to 30% less ink when printing or drawing and doesn't bleed.

My test on this paper wasn't thorough or scientific.  I simply sketched out my subject and then used watercolour to build layers.  The resulting impressionistic image works for me and I do find the characteristics of TerraSkin similar to a subdued Yupo.   I will try a graphite drawing on it next and then some pen and ink, as well as coloured pencil to see how it performs before I give it a thumbs up or down.

From a purely environmental perspective, I think its a superb product and after reading about some of the woes of the paper industry, it may well be a support of the future.  MOMA uses TerraSkin for their consumer packaging now, leading the way into the future.

Design and Source say:
TerraSkin has 2 end of life options available, it is infinitely recyclable(with proper infrastructure or take-back programs) as well as degradable,when left out in nature for approximately three to nine months.
 TerraSkin is very versatile and can be used in multiple paper and paperboard applications as well as thermoformed items.It can be embossed or hot-stamped and is also FDA approved for direct food contact.
 In 2007 TerraSkin was awarded the Silver Cradle to Cradle certification by MBDC.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Its time to create another lino print and this may be it.  I have played around with an image of a crow and tree, breaking it down to its simplest components, yet still have it recognizable.  I was inspired by one of Amie Roman's prints of a crow and thought I'd try my hand at  producing something along the same lines.

With a piece of soft-kut I will try carving this.  Regular 'battleship grey' lino even when heated seems to cause problems with my forefinger so the soft kut should be easier to carve with less pressure on my hand.

Oh the joys of getting older...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Indecision and decision


Well my dears, indecision still grips me in some ways, even with your help at hand.  A couple of weeks ago I posted a number of paintings that I wanted to turn into greeting cards and have decided on some but  demands on my time has put a slow down on the process.

For now I can't give a final decision on which will be printed, however, initially the fish appeal to me and the water.  Local demand bent to Purity Kisses and the Merry Christmas Hares for the immediate print process, however, I have done some test prints of other cards on my current printer.

I have a new printer on order - and Epson Artisan 810 which should allow me to print higher quality images for small volume card numbers.

So, to be fair, I have decided to send my first pick of three as well as on of the Christmas Hare cards to a randomly chosen person who posted on the previous thread.  I used a random number generator and, excluding my own name in the posts, was given the number 16, which translates into Amie Roman. of Burnishings.  Just email me your mailing address Amie and I'll send the cards to you as soon as possible.

To everyone else, thank you so much for participating.  Using this blog as a sounding board and receiving input is so vital to me.  I know what appeals to people and why through conversations and feedback.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


A Christmas parade prevented me from getting back to the churchyard to get more photos today, so I'll save that for another time.

Meanwhile I've been experimenting with an image for another seasonal card, both in sketch form and digitally.  I'm considering animal themes, especially those indigenous to the island and putting a twist into them, part fantasy, part reality.

Here's the sketch of an idea that I have so far and then a digital version above.  I am considering a lino print of it as well and see what works out best. I like being able to play digitally as it provides so many possibilities and ideas that I can move forward with.