Monday, November 8, 2021

Part 4 of 4 ... Spatter! (The Background Informing the Foreground of a Mask or Stencil Print)

While I'm painting with 9" x 12" Fire Cherries Mask, what happens sometimes is that the background informs the foreground.  Today's photos illustrate what I mean by this.

Above:  Photo 1 of 3 of Project One.  This is the full-sized sheet that I started with.  This background was a photo page from an old calendar, blue its dominant color, but with an aqua undertone.  I altered it by monoprinting it with metallic acrylic copper paint.

Above: Photo 2 of 3 of Project One -- a close-up of this background paper.

Above:  Photo 3 of 3 of Project One.  Here is the print that I made on that paper, using 9" x 12" Fire Cherries Mask.  Notice that the blue (with its aqua undertone) shows clearly thru in the "window"-like areas that had been masked; and notice that the final print repeats this blue-aqua combination.  My 2-part printing process was to lay in a coat of opaque pale blue heavy-body paint and -- before lifting off the mask -- to spatter the surface with aqua spray paint.  This spray paint is a custom blend of water, acrylic paint and air brush medium, which I store in mister spray bottles.

Here's the backstory on today's Project 2, another example of the background informing the foreground:

This art sample has a near-twin, since I started both on a double-width of watercolor paper previously splashed with magenta, gray and near-white acrylic paints.  These two came out quite differently.  The near-twin directly below is titled A Drifting Mist....

Note:  Zinc white acrylic paint (also called "mixing white" by some companies) is translucent.  Its fog-like layering quality can be thinned/reduced even more by using acrylic matte  medium liquid or gel, or gloss medium liquid or gel, plus a little water.  Go easy on the water if you want an archival piece of art.  A slightly different veiling effect can be achieved with water-diluted white gesso and some artists prefer that approach. 


Because I found myself with two prints that were near-duplicates, I wanted the second one to differ as much as possible; that's what led me to letting the original background inform the foreground.  That original background had been watercolor paper coated with purple acrylic paints, then spatter-sprayed with both gray and near-white acrylic paints.

Above:  The first near-twin painting looked much like this, before I added a topcoat layer of thinned zinc white acrylic paint to give it a peaceful, foggy look.

Exploring possibilities with this second purple painting, I took special notice of the background's spattered areas that remained clearly visible.  This look of spray-spatter informed what I wanted to create in the foreground.

After my first use of the mask -- the version that you see directly above -- I waited for the paint to dry, then returned Fire Cherries Mask to the exact area where it had been before.  I used masking tape to secure the mask to the watercolor paper, to insure that it would stay precisely where it had been when I'd made my first print.

I used scrap papers to block off most of the area, leaving an opening in the upper left area of the painting.  

My next step was to spatter that upper left area with near-white acrylic paint.

After allowing the spray paint to dry, I lifted off the mask.

I really liked the results, but I wanted to make small improvements.  For this I used a paintbrush and two kinds of cotton swabs, the kind with rounded ends as well as the kind with pointed ends.  These pointed ends were especially helpful in defining the areas around the clusters of fire cherries.

Below is a photo of the finished painting....

Above:  Note that the top-layer spatter in the upper left was informed (inspired) by the first-layer spatter that remains faintly visible on the middle-right side of the painting.

Using some background elements to inform the foreground has given me a way of building more unity in the overall composition of the two paintings I've featured above.

Below:  Using a different painting, I took a photo to show my touch-up process in action.....

Above:  Touch-ups aren't always necessary, but using any mask or stencil means there may be times when the artist wants to enhance the print -- especially when using Fire Cherries Mask since its beauty arises in part from its areas of fine detail.  Notice on the far right that I'm using the same paints that went into making this print -- and with them, a paintbrush, as well as two types of cotton swabs, some with rounded ends and some with pointed ends.

Thank you for meeting me here at my blog today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.

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