Friday, July 09, 2010

More explorations

This is a glimpse into a piece I'm exploring using gyotaku.  This brook trout is my guinea pig for a variety of compositions, techniques and washi papers.  I will also be using some prints to test wet mounting.  This is the method of backing the painting with another similar sheet of paper to strengthen it in preparation for framing.  It also eliminates any wrinkles that occur during the printing and colouring process.  I will be using wheat paste as the 'glue' and am hoping that this won't disturb the print or watercolour on the painting.  If it does, I guess dry mounting will be the other option, though more expensive.

I'm experimenting with a variety of Japanese papers until I find the ones that best suit my need and the needs of gyotaku.  These papers are so different from the usual art papers.  They're light, with tissue-like qualities in some, denser in others.  Some are machine produced and some hand made. Some have sizing, some not.  They range from $1.25 a sheet to $15 a sheet.  (I haven't dared print the $15 sheet yet).  The most expensive sheet of paper I've seen is $190 for a 32" x 72" sheet.  It is gold Fusuma and  I don't think that's in my budget and even if it were, I'd be holding my breath the whole time I was using it, waiting for something to go wrong.

As I experiment, I find out more and more about the potential of gyotaku simply by the printing and enhancing process.  There are endless options available to me in terms of enhancement. and the print technique is like unveiling a new gift each time I peel it off the fish.

The prints stand alone without any additions except painting an eye. The paper can act as the showcase using the colour as part of the piece or natural paper can be used which allows for additional enhancement of colour, backgrounds, shadowing, etc.   Enhancing with watercolour on paper that is very lightweight is fraught with problems.  Water spreads out uncontrollably but I'm now able to get more control by knowing what mediums hold in the water, just how much pressure to use on the paper and where exactly it will spread.

I thought coloured pencils may be useful, but find a sharpened point is death to lightweight paper.  It pierces it easily or pills the surface if I rub a blunter pencil over it.  I think watercolour will be my medium of choice, and great care taken with it.  Pastel can work if very lightly applied as I want to print to show through clearly and have the colour tint it.

I am in the process of creating the content for a gyotaku workshop which will be held in March 2011 in St. John's.  More details on that once content and venue are finalized.  All I can tell you is that it will be a one day workshop that will enable participants to go home with a number of beautiful fish prints and a lot of knowledge.


Billie Crain said...

I like the sense of action in this one. That gold fusuma paper is a piece of art all by itself. I'd be tempted to just frame it as is. At $190 a sheet I'd be afraid to do anything else to it! I think you're getting some very exciting results with the various papers.

Anonymous said...

Another beauty. I didn't think it was possible to drymount a watercolour due to the temperature involved in the process. All the best with your experiments.

Stay inspired!
Brain Angles - Invisible Ink

Olivia said...

This result is purely magnificent Jeanette, up to this charming fishhook. We understand why the fish seems ti be so attracted by it!
Why to live so far in Jeanette, I would have so loved participated in this workshop of guytaku...

Julie Broom said...

This has to be one of my favourites so far. The combination of colour tints works beautifully. The jagged fin on the fish's back has come out brilliantly. The addition of the fish hook adds an interesting tension. Love it, Jeanette!

Jennifer Rose said...

i thought this was a real fish for a moment!

RHCarpenter said...

I like the upward thrust of this one and the story of it :)

Jeanette said...

I agree Billie. I don't think I could do anything else with paper at that price.

Michelle, the dry mount is ironed on and doesn't affect the watercolour.

Olivia, lots of time to save pennies between now and March and come to the workshop. :)

He's a cute little fellow Julie. Each print, even if the same fish, is entirely different depending on what I do with it.

Thanks Jennifer.

Rhonda, I've been playing around with composition for these prints and this seems to give some movement doesn't it?

Cynnie said...

I really like the placement of the fish and love the hook! Great piece!

sue said...

I always really like these--they're beautiful. Love the hook there.

Y said...

I so love this one, Jeanette! The way the fish swims in, the hook luring it, how the paper compliments colors in the fish - all is just right and could not be better.