Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Marbled Paper Part 2: Process (Now this is more like it!)

I gave the marbling another go. This time I loved the results. I only did four rounds for a total of 6 papers (two whole sheets, and four half sheets). The above oranges were from the same pull, as with the pinks (not sure if 'pull' is the right word, but it sounds good to me - I'm referring to laying the paper down on the paint and lifting it back up). Everything I got around to doing had been alumed (I used the regular amount this time: 1/2 TBSP to 1/2 cup water, which was enough to sponge alum onto 10-12 pieces of paper, plus some liquid left over - no use making up more solution than necessary). I didn't get around to using a bunch of other alumed papers, not to mention the papers without alum that I was going to use as a control. This time each one took me much longer because I was careful not to put down too much paint. I took a lot more time and by the time I had done these 6 sheets, it was time to call it a day.

This time I used several wonderful fibrousy Japanese papers (available at Utrecht Art Supply). The top photo includes: top left (orange): Masa White (the smooth side) w/alum; top right (orange): Masa White (the rough side) w/alum; bottom left (pink): Kitakata Natural w/alum; bottom right (pink): Okawara Natural w/ alum. Results/thoughts: I definitely prefer the smooth feel of the Masa white to the rough side (the paper has a rough side and a smooth side. I don't see much difference in how the paint bonded. Further experimentation is necessary. I love the thin lightweight feel of the Kitakata Natural. It also has a decidedly rough side vs. smooth side now that I'm looking at it but for this round I used the rough side. The paint does have a slightly rough feel to it. Next time I would try the smoother side. The paint on the Okawara also has a rough feel. Of all four of the above, the Masa White has the smoothest loveliest feel to it.

Here is one on sketch paper with alum. This is right after I pulled it and rinsed it so it's got a bit of shine to it which dried off after 20 minutes. I was really pleased with the color intensity. I used a bit of black this time.
Now as to technique this time: I used these hot drink straws that are found in any local cafe or you can buy a bag of 100 for about $2 at the grocery store. I put a bit of paint (Golden Fluid Acrylics) into a tray and tapped the end of the straw gently into the paint, then moved it over the size and blew gently on the other end of the straw so the paint released onto the size as a tiny drop. This made all the difference. Most of the paints spread easily onto the size using this method even without diluting with ox gall or airbrush medium.
Also, I used a bit of Liquitex Professional Acrylic Ink (quinacridone magenta) which is beautiful but smells awful (like a skunk) - fortunately the smell goes away after it dries. It is suspended in a liquid solution that must contain its own dispersant since it spread wonderfully without the addition of ox gall or airbrush medium. I also used some Daler Rowney FW Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic (Macaw Green) that I had on hand. It also spread wonderfully on its own and left such a beautiful pearlescent sheen on the paper after rinsing and drying. Both the liquid acrylics come in bottles with droppers which eliminate the need to use straws or separate droppers. I plan to acquire some orange pearlescent liquid acrylic at my earliest convenience.

Isn't this a beautiful photo of the size with paint on it? Look at that nice, clean clear size! It stayed much cleaner this time because I was putting on much smaller amounts of paint. The colors were much more vibrant because I did not dilute them with water. If anything, I diluted them directly with the ox gall or airbrush medium. 
I also used eye droppers and little plastic cups to mix a bit of either ox gall OR acrylic medium (both seemed to have about the same effect on the paint). I made the little pink and gold circles that you can see in some of the photos after manipulating the rest of the paint with a nail (dragging it in rows up and down to create the swirls). I took a bit of paint on the end of a straw and blew a small bubble (about 1/2" in diameter to 1" in diameter) and touched it to the size. After awhile it popped on its own (or I popped it gently with the straw).

This was the first one I did in this round. I don't like the shapes or colors very much, but because I hesitated in several places when laying the paper on the size, I think I have the most basic understanding of how the Spanish style is done with what appear to be dark and light waves or lines.
I will say there was a slight issue with some of the paint not adhering entirely to the paper (this was an issue across papers). I wonder if it had to do with the dispersing agent (i.e. ox gall vs. airbrush medium). It's not like that all over each paper, just in some spots. I have been using an ox gall made for watercolor but I read somewhere there is an ox gall made specifically for marbling. I'm wondering if that made a difference in the suspension of the paint particulate, resulting in the failure to adhere in places..

I had fun with this. My favorites of course were the pinks and oranges at the top of this post for their bright lovely colors. I have several other papers to experiment with, including a medium blue Strathmore charcoal paper. And my size has been sitting in the refrigerator for several days now so I'll see how long it can last in there and still be useable!

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