Friday, January 22, 2010

Masa poppy in progress

I have done some preparation with Masa paper to put it through its paces and see if I can achieve something that resembles what I envision in my head.

I started by roughly sketching my idea on the shiny side of the masa, crumpling and soaking the paper briefly then smoothing it onto a drawing board.  I added loose washes of pigment onto the rough side of the masa, letting colours mingle and flow into the fibres and creases.  The work is done on the smooth side of the paper and has a more subtle patterning than the rough side.

The still damp reverse side before it is mounted and rolled.   The top side is a much paler version of the reverse.

I left it to dry overnight and early  this morning used a wash of white glue and water on the back of the masa to mount it on a piece of 140lb watercolour paper.  I went to work and let it dry all day so it would be ready for me tonight.

So now I'm starting to gently add layers of watercolour to my paper.  Masa becomes pretty fragile when wet, so I can't manipulate paint as I could on regular watercolour paper.  That has good and bad aspects.  I need to think about colour, value and placement before I put down a brushstroke and if I need to change anything I wait til my layer is dry before going back over it.

I used a couple of different references for this piece, the main one being a lovely old fashioned poppy that I grew.  I love the crumpled tissue like texture of poppy petals and this paper and technique seemed like a good choice for rendering it.  I want the overall image to be fairly pastel, making you look more closely to see the image.

So why a flower, when they are the objects that I paint the least?  Because the pattern and colours simply said floral to me.  It could be nothing else. Its still in very early stages, but so far, so good.


Elizabeth Seaver said...

I do like the batik look to the masa paper. I have done some paintings on masa with exactly the technique you describe. I had the same reaction--it looked like a flower needed to go on that paper, even though I don't usually paint flowers!

This looks lovely, and I look forward to seeing the progress.

Margaret Ryall said...

A flower!! I'm holding my breath for the final result. And a poppy. What could be better.

I've tried this technique and it is so inspirational. You are drawn to the spontaneous rhythms and patterns created. I love the unpredictable aspect of it.

A Brush with Color said...

Oooh, can't wait, Jeanette! Starting out looking great.

Jeanette said...

I hadn't used this paper before Elizabeth and am quite enjoying it. It does seem to dictate what it wants you to paint, doesn't it?

Flowers usually terrify me to paint Margaret. I should be made to paint them for a month solid to get over it.

This paper makes the process less painful. :)

Its slowing coming together Chris. And if I screw it up, there's always another piece of paper to work on. Its an interesting support and I have a few other kinds of more textured Japanese paper to play with as well.

Gary said...

OK, so ultimately what side are you working on? the fuzzy side or the smooth side. I've only used Masa for woodcut prints and rubbings for collage. I've never attempted it for watercolor so your whole process here is intriguing. I attempt flowers two or three times a year and always am disappointed - I think I don't have the patience for them - but your process here does indeed look like something that I could get into no matter what the subject. Fascinating.

Jeanette said...

Gary, I'm working on the smooth side for the final painting. I create the background on the fuzzy side, then flip it and paste it onto watercolour paper then go from there.

I'm no flower painter by ANY stretch of the imagination but this just called for it. There are so many options with this!

Gary said...

OK, so that is what you precisely wrote above - sorry, I just didn't think that you were allowed to use the smooth side:).