Thursday, August 6, 2020

Playing with a Different Surface

Most of us water-media artists start with traditional watercolor paper and eventually find one they enjoy because they can trust the results when watercolor paint is applied. For me, I've always loved Arches 140 pound cold pressed, but I know other artists have different favorites. And then there are some surfaces that push the boundaries  of the traditional way to apply paint. Some of these interesting and challenging surfaces can be made at home.

A few years ago on a day when I just didn't have the inclination to paint,  I collaged strips of newspaper on a 300 lb. Arches watercolor paper. I then used gesso (a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these) to cause the words to fade leaving an interesting and rather unique surface to paint on. It does not take kindly to transparent watercolor, but both gouache and acrylic paints work well on top of the surface.

Having the news implied by this surface, I have used it to talk about more historical or newsworthy subjects. For this one, I had in mind the 100 Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Two years ago, I painted a similar one with the Suffragists in the background and a woman and child in bright colors in the front. 
Because Women Marched

But my idea for this one was to have a row of women of all ages and colors in front.

Suffragists on the March

It is quite a bit of work to paint these ghostly figures from the past.

Adding today's women

And then came the modern women as a front line. It came to mind that this is somewhat like Portland's Wall of Mothers. But creating it reminded me so much of my childhood making original outfits for my paper-dolls. 

As my frontline became complete, I realized that they needed to be grounded somehow. I had an inspiration to create shadows, not with paint, but with newsprint collage without the white gesso. (I often get these ideas that are super cool, but add complications to finishing a painting.)

Newspaper collaged on deli paper

And here is the finished painting: Carry It On.

Carry It On
15 x 20 inches, Mixed Media

1 comment:

Ruth Armitage said...

I love your finished piece!