Sunday, January 17, 2010

Masa experiments

On Saturday I gave a private lesson in watercolour basics and used an orange for a demo.  That piece stayed with the individual to study, but I liked the colours and wanted to try it again at home.  I used a clementine and put down loose washes of colour, letting some hard edges form and losing other edges within the shape.  I think oranges or their cousins, tend to be one of the nicest still life forms to paint.

On to the experiments...last week my order of paper from my art supplier arrived, but I haven't had a chance to experiment with it until today.  I had ordered some Masa paper, as well as three other Japanese papers in addition to my regular supplies of watercolour and drawing paper.  I have been reading about using Masa paper to create batik-like effects, as well as its use for prints, and wanted to play around with it.

I tore up a small sheet to see what I could produce with it.  Masa has a smooth side and a rougher side, apparently the smooth side is the side to use for painting.   I crumpled a piece of the paper and put it in warm water for perhaps 20-30 seconds.  I gently squeezed the water out of it, then smoothed it over a wooden drawing board.  While it was still wet, I dropped pigment into it and watched as it spread out, intensifying in the creases and mingling with other colours that I dropped on the paper.

Masa is quite strong paper, but very flimsy when wet.  I did a quick relief print of the little seastar that I had found last month on the beach and the paper takes the print cleanly and very well.  The painted background of the paper can be used on either side it seems.  The side I dropped pigment on is bright and clear, but when I reverse it, the colours come through as pastel and muted.  It is recommended to backpaint on the rougher side, let it dry, then paint on the smooth side.

I think I could have smoothed my paper more or crumpled it less but the effect is interesting all the same. There are a lot of possibilities with this paper and I will be exploring it more in the next week.  I am considering its potential for a future larger project.  As the paper is inexpensive, I don't mind if a few sheets don't work as I want.  Sacrifice in the name of art!

As an update on my Ebay art auction to raise funds for the Haiti disaster, I was interviewed by a local radio station, and the information placed on their website.  When I last looked there were 20 bids and the amount being raised for Haiti very encouraging.  Thank you to everyone who has bid to date.   There are four more days left before the auction finishes.  Please circulate this information to your networks and consider bidding.  The winning bidder receives a beautiful print and knows that the funds will go to a very worthwhile cause.  I will donate all funds from this to Doctors Without Borders.


Chris Beck said...

Lovely clementine and interesting experiments with the masa.

Jennifer Rose said...

interesting paper to try, very neat effect with the pigment pooling in the creases