Monday, August 10, 2020

Solution for warping paper with collage

Blind contour drawing with collage. Judith Hoffman 2020
Blind contour drawing on collage. Judith Hoffman 2020


 In my last post I was worried about collaged papers warping. I got a number of suggestions from my book arts group and friends online. I think I have found a solution that is not perfect but will work for my method of collaging. Most of these are in my Flickr albums.

Here are my notes, which I intend to print and hang on the wall in my studio.

  • Try to have grain of substrate and major collage pieces in same direction.
  • Coat back and front of substrate with Gold matte medium. (not liquid matte medium). Coat one side, allow to dry, coat other side, allow to dry. 
  • Draw on tissue paper (yellow stuff I have been calling architect's tracing, but may not really be that. It's light yellow, in a roll.) - at least the blind contour can be drawn on, can also add hatching. Coat back and front of tissue paper with matte medium to increase transparency. Coat one side, allow to dry, coat other side, allow to dry.
  • Make the collage using PVA for the opaque papers.
  • Add the transparent papers using matte medium as the glue. The would be last or almost last to take advantage of the transparency and layers. While adding transparent papers paint the whole collage with matte medium.
  • Between all stages dry under stacks of books.
  • It is possible to draw on the collage with d'Atramentis inks at this stage. Adding small details and patterns.
  • If the collage is still too warped when it's done, wrap in a damp dish cloth (smooth texture like the black and white ones), wrap in waxed paper, leave under a few books for 15 minutes. Put between two pieces of blotter paper, leave at least overnight. First test was about 18 hours. Things are not perfectly flat but fine with me. Things can take days or a week to dry in blotters.

Blind contour drawing with collage. Judith Hoffman 2020
Looking Back, blind contour drawing with hatching and collage. Judith Hoffman 2020

Substrates that have worked:

  • Bockingford - has textured surface like cold press. 
  • Rising Bristol 2 ply - very slight texture.
  • Strathmore mixed media - also fairly smooth.
  • Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. 

Saturday, August 08, 2020

What to do - I love glue

5 x 7 postcard. Blind contour, drawing, collage. Judith Hoffman

Well, it's more like "I love PVA." I have been trying to make collages on postcard size pieces of paper. The paper tends to curl. I'm using both 90 pound papers and 300 pound papers as substrates, both coated on two sides with Matte medium. Next I collage on some background papers for texture and interest, using PVA. These are not coated before collaging. My blind contour drawings go on top of the "texture" papers. They are on tracing paper because it's pretty transparent. The tracing paper shrinks a lot when glued down, so I coat it with matte medium on both sides, allow to dry, then glue it down with more matte medium. Neither substrate stays flat. Although I think things are improved by coating both sides of the papers. My process is intuitive, and I try to be fairly fast. I don't really want to plan every step, coat all the papers and then wait for them to dry before doing the collage.

5 x 7 postcard. Blind Contour drawing, collage. Judith Hoffman

There is a method, invented by Jonathan Talbot, where you coat all your papers with gloss medium and them iron them together. I have tried it, and it works perfectly. It even works with matte medium. It's almost too perfect. You have to have a plan, coat all papers, then iron everything in place. I am resisting that at the moment. I hate ironing and planning and really like the glue process. 

Transfer test, using Talbot transfer paper

I am also experimenting with transfers, thinking I could use that method instead of the drawings on tracing papers. Above is the first test - I drew on the Talbot transfer paper, ironed it to an old book page and after wetting the page, I rubbed off the transfer paper. I think this would work okay with a stronger substrate. But again it's not a fun process. If the whole collage was sealed with matte medium, I think this would work okay. The rubbing is tedious, although the Talbot paper comes off pretty easily. I wonder why I think this is supposed to be fun? I do also like the warm yellowish tones of the tracing paper. They show a little in both the postcards above.

Work table testing zone
And finally a shot of my work table. It's just a big sheet of 4 by 8 plywood on shelves so I cover it with this old yellow paper I got very cheap years ago. It's the perfect surface to test whatever I am about to draw with.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

I attempt a larger drawing

Two handed drawing, black ink and Pitt pen. Details done with dominant hand. Judith Hoffman, 2020


For Lori Don Levan, who suggested trying these larger. It seems to be hard for me to make a larger blind contour drawing. I think part of how I keep my place while drawing is to not move my hand much. But here is a two handed drawing. It's about 8.5 by 11 inches. Not large, really, but to me it is. In my left (dominant hand) I held a black pen, in my right hand I held a sanguine Pitt pen. After doing the drawing I used my dominant hand to finish with the hatching and other details. This was fun, I would recommend trying it if you haven't. I'm not that happy with the final result, but I like the scribbly mess. I tried to follow my dominant hand pen with the non-dominant one, but wasn't able to that well. It certainly short circuits your brain so neither line is very accurate. I think there is potential there, mostly as another way to get a weird wonky drawing to work on. Thanks Lori, fun idea.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The blind contour drawing project surprise

Go By Bus. Non dominant sketch, collage, experiment by Judith Hoffman, 2020
I am about halfway through my 100 Blind Contour project. This one counts, although it's non-dominant. They are all experiments. I am working toward using more collage with the drawings, trying to keep everything loose and fast. Just to be clear - the basic initial sketch is non dominant or blind contour. But after that I use my dominant hand, looking at the drawing, to add hatching, little details, etc.

Blind contour with hatching, collage. Judith Hoffman, 2020
I am so much loving the weird distortions most of these drawings have. The appeal is that I am surprised. Normally I tend to draw carefully and these are not at all what I expect. In this group the backgrounds are 5 x 7 pieces of heavy watercolor paper. I collage on whatever I find on my work table. The faces are drawn on architect's tracing paper, then collaged over the drawings. Then I add more hatching, texture, etc.
Blind contour drawing, hatching, collage. Judith Hoffman, 2020
This one needed some white to brighten up areas, I used a Posca pen. There are more in my Flickr albums. There are albums for my friend Eileen, my husband Jim, and now for myself. More to come as I get more photos from friends.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Art That Was Never Finished



Arguably the very best video ever posted by The Art Assignment. Extremely interesting and moving. They have disallowed posting on Facebook, so I won't put it there.

Be safe everyone, take care of yourselves and your family.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Jim Blind Contour

Jim blind contour drawing. Jim does crossword puzzles every day. 
I am not keeping a precise count. So far there may be 40 completed drawings. And many more blind contour drawings. I don't count them because they are so quick to do, and when they aren't interesting to me I don't take them further. Of course there are some completed that I am not crazy about.



So far I have learned:

  • Using fluid mat medium for collage isn't good if I plan to draw on top. Mat medium is good to glue down tissue paper. Brushed over the top it makes the tissue paper more transparent. But it repels pen ink.
  • I really like the tannish papers with black and white ink. 
  • I got better at the blind contours so I had to switch to non-dominant blind contour. 
  • I got better at remembering how many eyes I have drawn, so have started cheating at times and adding a third one. 
  • I have no idea what to do with these. I keep wanting a finished project. It's my complete-ist brain.
  • Adding collage takes a lot of time and thought.
  • I am overwhelmed by the social part of this - blog post, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr. I need a way to streamline.


Friday, June 19, 2020

A new subject, more blind contour

Blind contour on doodled background
Jim very sweetly volunteered to be a blind contour subject. He likes the distorted effect. Above is the first blind contour, done on a book page I doodled on years ago.

Analog blind contour

This is the analog version. Compared to the digital version below, I would like to make some changes. But of course can't.

Digital version of blind contour, done in Procreate
The blind contour was scanned and imported to Procreate where I could play with things like pen thickness and was able to erase to achieve the thin white lines. I'm trying to balance having a loose drawing with the amount of detail I like. I should have used a finer pen for the analog version. As a friend likes to say "onward."