Monday, May 1, 2023

Black, White and Friends

Today, I continue experimenting with black and white ... but I also branch out to near-black and near-white ... beige ... and even a bold yellow.

First up:  I started with India ink and near-white printmaking paper.  I used water to dilute the ink so it would spread randomly across the paper.  After the paper had dried, I returned with a bamboo markmaking tool to add a solid black squiggle. My final step had been to make a print with black acrylic paint using Bulbs and Banners s955.

(My go-to method of print-making is to use a sponge brayer loaded with heavy-body acrylic paint. Somewhat similar results can happen with Gelli Plate prints.  In the near future, one of my daily posts will go step-by-step thru an explanation of my favorite way of making prints with stencils and masks.) 

I liked the results, above, but my experimenting had only begun.

Next, I dug out some off-white watercolor papers that I'd spattered and splashed with inks and acrylic paints.  I cut the papers into irregular shapes and glued them to a solid black background, framing a print made using 6" x 6" Bulbs and Banners s955.

Above:  I like the print at the top of today's post but I feel more satisfied with this collage.

Below:  My 9" x 12" mask Kelp Forest L963 shows off in black and white, but with yellow added.  

This mask was stained yellow from an earlier project with acrylic paint; then, in another project, it was partially coated with black acrylic paint.  

That bright yellow-black-white combination piqued my interest, so I used the stained mask itself, as a potential (and large) collage piece, to cover the black-and-white print at the top of today's post.

Okay, not all experimenting brings lasting results.  But I love the fun adventure of trying new combinations, even when I don't end up marrying them.

Moving forward...

For years I've customized my stencils and masks with scissors, sometimes right out of the white cardboard mailer and other times after they've become stained with paint.

Below:  My new kelp-inspired masks have met the scissors.

6" x 6" Bulbs and Banners s955 and 4" x 4" Seabed Greens M339 have been changed only by removal of their outer frames.

However, my 9" x 12" mask, Kelp Forest L963, contains within its design three smaller designs, each with its own unique visual identity. These smaller designs begged for individual freedom from the bigger whole.  

In the rest of today's post, scissor-customized masks were used, starting with 4" x 4" Seabed Greens M339.

Above:  After cutting 4" x 4" Seabed Greens m339 free of its original square frame, I used it with heavy-body black and white acrylic paints to create the whimsical image above.  It's not finished yet, but I like the start, so I'm sharing it here since I'm happy with the stark contrast between white and black, along with a range of gray values fanning out from the two black-and-white prints.

Below:  I started with a once-white, now near-white, page from an old encyclopedia -- specifically chosen because of its illustration of peas and peapods.  The pods of giant kelp are of course completely different from the peas that spill across your dinner plate.  But here I was going for nothing beyond similarities in shape.  To create my black and gray embellishments around the illustration of peas and pods, I used my sponge brayer along with black and near-white acrylic paint and pieces of  Kelp Forest L963 (cut free from the original 9" x 12" frame.) 


Above:  On sturdy beige paper I've made two layers of prints with pieces cut from 9" x 12" Kelp Forest L963The bottom layer of prints were made using near-white heavy body acrylic paint (Titan Buff by Golden Acrylics.)  After that layer dried, I returned with the same pieces of mask and this time used black heavy body paint. My goal was to establish a frame for the vintage print showing an xray of a plant.  I'm enjoying what I see as an eye-pleasing similarity between the curving lines of the vintage plant and the streamers flowing out from kelp pods.

Below:  With my sponge brayer, black and near-white acrylic paint, I once again made random prints on sturdy beige paper with pieces of  Kelp Forest L963 that I've cut free from the outer 9" x 12" frame.  This printed paper became background for a collage.  To my eye, the shape of the focal-point butterfly resembles the curving patterns of the prints.  I see the design of the marbled paper as having lines that harmonize with the prints, as well.

Thank you for checking out my blog today! Tomorrow's post will continue showing ways I've used this new 3-piece set of masks based on patterns created underwater by Pod Kelp.  To scroll thru the pages of my stencils and masks at, please start here
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