Thursday, November 11, 2021

Rubbings -- Wet & Dry

To my eye, masks are a better tool than stencils for making rubbings -- either the dry rubbings typically made with crayons or similar dry media; or the wet rubbings that I'll show in the first part of today's post.

The difference between masks and stencils is perhaps best illustrated via examples:

Above:  Garden at Nemours Mask s658 (6" x 6")

In the first example above (a mask), notice that the Mylar mask's white, solid areas will mask off areas on the substrate so paint won't reach those areas.  These white, solid areas not only form the image but also serve to connect that image to an outer border.  Paint will go thru the black areas only.  These black areas are called negative space.  The white areas are considered positive space.  Positive space = the image of assorted leaves.

Above:  Garden at Nemours Stencil s844 (6" x 6")

In the second example above (a stencil), notice that the black areas form the image and have connections ("bridges") that hold the image together.  Paint will go thru the black areas only.  Here, the black areas are called positive space and the white surrounding areas are considered negative space.  Negative space = the image of assorted leaves.

A way to sum this up:  A mask's image is the direct, or near-direct, reverse of the stencil's image.  

To my eye, a mask makes for a better rubbing because it lacks those "bridge" connection lines that are necessary in a stencil.

My newly released 9" x 12" Fire Cherries Mask L879 has tempted me to try some "wet" rubbings on foil giftwrap that came with built-in crackle texture.  I approached this project simply as a series of experiments just to see what results I'd get.

Above: With masking tape, I secured Fire Cherries Mask to my worktable; atop the mask, I secured a sheet of textured foil giftwrap with masking tape.  To the left of this 2-part "sandwich," I placed my tablet of pallet paper and one of the two heavy-body acrylics paints chosen for this series of experiments.

Above:  With each scrape, I alternated between my two paint colors, black and red.  My first scrape here (using some of the tools shown on the right) was with black paint.  My second scrape was with red.  Here and there, I used a water spray bottle to thin the paints, just to see what effect that would have.

Above:  An early series of scrapes, created with an old credit card that resulted in a striped look due to the card's narrow width.  

Above:  A close-up of red and black details.

Above:  Another close-up of red and black details.

Above:  This close-up, in particular, shows how acrylic paints had settled into the embossed crackles on the surface of the foil giftwrap.

Above:  A third close-up of red and black details.

During this "wet" rubbing approach, I experimented in using different hand pressures as well as different angles as I made each scrape.

Now, a sequence that illustrates dry rubbing....

Above: Fire Cherries Mask L879 lies under a print made with 6" x 6" LOVE S828.


Above: Having secured the mask and printed paper with masking tape, I've turned an ArtBar crayon onto its side and started to rub it firmly over the paper.

Above: A blue partial imprint of Fire Cherries Mask L879 now appears on the paper, merging with the original print made with 6" x 6" LOVE S828.

Above:  The finished version.

Below:  a similar dry rubbing ....

Above:  The initial print was made using 9" x 12"
 Ivy 9 Stencil L143 with gold-yellow acrylic paint on pink paper.  The blue crayon dry rubbing was done over that print.  Stencil used:  6" x 6" Ferns 6 Stencil s100.

A few years ago I created this video to demonstrate two ways to make rubbings with stencils or masks; my main focus was on wet rubbings, but I started the video with a quick example of dry rubbing.

Daily posts featuring my newly released Fire Cherries Mask L879 started November 4 and will continue thru November 13.

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