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June 5, 2005

you win some, you lose some

by gl. at 11:05 pm

[warning: big pix post. click on the images to see them larger.]

so i'm finished w/ the wedding commission even though i'm still unhappy w/ it. gouache worked better, but at the consistency i needed to get it to come out of the pen, the letters were still not as sharp as i would have prefered. i tried using three more different types of nibs to see what effect that would have, which was none. a couple of months ago i began ranking my paper based on bleed factor, so i started looking through the 3-star paper to see if that would help. and it did, a little. i had 5 sheets of a 3-star paper the right size, so i used all of it attempting to make the lettering work, and then, with my hand cramping, i finally called it a night. two full days working on a 3-line piece is just too much. all told i must have done over 30 versions of this piece and i'll give joanne a choice of four of them, none of which i would consider to be perfect. man. after all this, it makes me nervous to tackle my mhcc final project on friday.

(so why do i want to write about these difficulties when potential clients could read this blog? because i don't think art should be mysterious, in the domain of a few special people who make it look easy. and people undervalue art when it looks effortless, especially calligraphy. art isn't always a struggle, but divine inspiration is rare and we cheat ourselves and others if we pretend we don't work at it.)

although speaking of divine inspiration, i did make a lovely, if late, discovery tonight. several months ago i discovered a faux marbling technique while washing out a container of sumi ink in the studio sink. unfortunately, i grabbed the first paper that came to hand, plain 8.5x11 printer paper, and so made these fascinating swirly grey prints on pretty crappy paper. i've been meaning to try again on better paper, and while cleaning up after the wedding piece, i realized i had leftover green gouache, gold ink, and a half-full black ink i had intended to throw away after i broke my nib the other day.

so i tore up some arches text wove and threw the gouache in the sink and laid the paper over it. not as good as before: i got some bland green smudges, but nothing noteworthy. i figured when it dried i would try laying the green papers on the gold ink, but in the meantime i would see what i'd get out of the black ink. muuuucccch better! i had enough in the bottle to do almost 20 sink-marbled pieces, and i had to keep tearing up more arches text wove to print on.

and because i'm printing in my sink, after the 6th or 7th one i placed one over the drain in such a way that when i pulled it up i thought, "oh, that's pretty. it sort of looks like the moon." and then i did it again with more marbling and i thought, "ooooo! moonprint!" and that's how the moonprint series began. because i was still experimenting w/ the printing technique, i couldn't consistently get a moonprint, but i'm starting to get the science of it now: the fluid dynamics, the way the waterproof sumi must have some hydrophobic bits which repel the water to make it float, the way the paper soaks up the ink and the water to limit the pieces to monoprints.

first moonprint

second moonprint

[more moonprints]

so some of the marbled prints are subtle, some of them are stunning, and some look as if they're old and damaged gelatin prints of a magic moon. what will i do with all this black and grey paper? i still want to see if i can add another layer of marbled gold to some of the pieces, but tomorrow i start artist's way at the mac. eek!

posted by gl. | June 5, 2005 11:05 PM | categories: calligraphy