Right from the get go, this summer presented its challenges. I say challenges because I like to think that I can rise to them, rather than being overcome by them.
So, when my 85 year old mother experienced a series of unfortunate events (think Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), it was time to put my thinking cap on. She was beset by one malady after another and while helping her through, I knew that I needed to re-craft my art practice. This is because art is both a vocation and something that’s hard to go without. I had to create a series that was a marriage of necessity and curiosity.
Right away, I decided to reduce the size of the prints. I’d been working in sheets of 9″ x 12″ that arranged in 3 rows of 3, created a piece. “O.k.,” I thought, “I’ll jump back to the 30 x 30 challenge. 6″ x 8″ it is!”
And my topic? Over the last few years, I’d noticed that the recycled copy papers I use to mop up extra paint produced some extraordinary layers. The effect is something like a stucco wall with many layers of paint; an inadvertent fresco.
But how to create that effect on the thicker art paper? I began by simply putting pieces of paper down on the painted plate and leaving them there for a time. In this hot, dry valley, I didn’t need to wait overnight. Several hours could produce a paper with a thick layer of acrylic, very satisfying to pull off the gelli plate. I also added one or two layers of gel medium, tinted to bring out the color I was working with.
It’s been tremendous fun and the smaller sheets of paper provided a journal format; a way that I could record the mood of the day, the season and my own internal drive to leave traces of these days.