Thursday, July 9, 2020


It was Carol Baxter at who launched an idea in my direction.  

Trees! -- both of us were thinking of actual trees and a semi-realistic image of what it might look like, were I standing in a forest or park, craning my neck to look upward through a circle of majestic trees.

9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees Large

Later it was Carol, yet again, who suggested a 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small.

Today marks the debut of exactly that --

6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small

In preparing today's post to announce this new arrival, I found myself looking at these two images in a whole different way.  

They're still semi-realistic trees, of course, but I can also see them as 
a pair of metaphors for humanity, as it's meant to be:  Everyone rising from his or her roots, growing upward to stretch forth branches that intertwine -- each of us different, yet all of us connected.

I'll be using the two masks together, many times; directly below, however, are two examples of both working working in tandem to create one piece of art....

Dark bottom layer created with 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees Large and top layer created using 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small.  Detail in upper left was added with a permanent marker.  You can click on the image to enlarge it and better see details.  In developing this print, I used masks that I had previously cut free from their original borders.

Multiple layers developed using 9" x 12" Looking Up Through Trees Large and top layer created using 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small.  Again, the two masks have been cut free from their borders.  More about this particular multi-layered print will appear in another post, coming soon.

Altho planning lots more of these two-mask combinations in the future, I've set out, today, using the brand-new 6" x 6" Looking Up Through Trees Small by itself.  

In developing today's art samples below, I've taken advantage of the mask's intertwining branches to create abstract imagery.  

Today's focus is on one specific kind of abstraction -- a mirror illusion, the same as what you see on face cards in a deck.

I approached this project with scissors in hand, removing the bottom border of the mask.  (Later I would cut off the entire outer 6" x 6" square border.) 

The first thing I learned in making mirror images is that, after making that initial print, the next step must be cleaning the stencil or mask.

After the mask is clean -- and dry -- the next step is to flip it over.  

The flipped-over mask is lined up with the original print in a way that matches each tree trunk to its opposite.  You can click on the photo below to better see details .....

Above:  With heavy-body opaque white paint, the top print has been made and allowed to dry.  Its base is glossy black cardstock previously daubed with metallic acrylic purple paint.  The mask has been cleaned, dried and flipped over, before being secured with masking tape to the first print.  In the upper right corner of the above photo, a line of opaque white paint has been drawn across a palette tablet.  Below the paint rests a sponge brayer, ready to go to work.

Above:  A close-up showing how the mask is lined up with the first print.

After making that second print, the mask is lifted.  Below is a series of "mirror" paintings created in this way:


Above:  This twin image was created  with metallic gold acrylic paint on a background of glossy black cardstock.  After the paint dried, I matted the print onto a background of crumpled goil foil giftwrap.  This background is reinforced by sturdy cardboard glued to the back of the sheet of giftwrap.  Mask used:  Looking Up Through Trees Small (6" x 6").

Above:  This double image was printed on a 4-color background with white edges at top at bottom.  Mask used:  Looking Up Through Trees Small (6" x 6").

Above:  This double image was printed on a  photo from an old calendar.  Mask used:  Looking Up Through Trees Small (6" x 6").

Above:  This double image was printed on paper previously covered with my hand-drawn script.  Mask used:  Looking Up Through Trees Small (6" x 6").

Mask used above:  Looking Up Through Trees Small (6" x 6"). This was printed on a catalog page showing a stack of bathtowels.

Above:  This double image was printed on circle-printed scrapbook paper previously coated with several layers of acrylic paint.  Mask used:  Looking Up Through Trees Small (6" x 6").

As you can see in the above example, I failed to exactly line up the two prints on the right side.  Later I came back with a white acrylic marker  and faked a better line-up of those tree trunks.  Below is a different print which had likewise come out mis-aligned; but this example shows how my white acrylic marker has fixed the trunks to match on both sides of the image:

More art samples with today's newly-released mask will appear here thruout the month.  Thanks for letting me share them with you!  Here's one preview of an upcoming post about working in a series:

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