more playing around

I keep acquiring new things to play with. A while back I bought, without knowing what I would do with, a box of D'uva ChromaCoal heat fixable pastels. I have used them a time or two in small amounts, but lately I've tried to use them like I would regular pastels, using fabric instead of paper. Some of the new stuff on my website involves the use of them, particularly "Maclura Rising" .

But the other day I started just playing with them with no end product in mind. This is the result, so far, of that play.

I did the black first, just sketching with the side of the pastel. Since I was in 'play mode', I decided to color the osage oranges. And thus discovered the limitations of at least this particular set of ten colors--they're very bright, not easy to tone down, and the color choices aren't great. They don't seem to be true primaries. They're a little difficult to blend together. What I ended up doing was drawing in the colors, then using an old toothbrush to blend themas much as possible. Yes, that's an unconventional tool, but it was handy. The colors of the piece are, however, really this bright.

So the pastels have potential. Heat setting them is no big deal--you can do it with an iron. And for some pieces, I like this loose, drawing style. I have also used them occasionally to touch up a color on a piece. If you can find them (I think I got mine at Dick Blick), they're a handy addition to the studio.


playing around

I've been playing with some Lazertran silk transfer paper. I bought it with high hopes, only to have them dashed when I found out that copy places wouldn't let me put it in their copiers. And the only other thing it works on is color laser printers, which I don't have. I finally found one I could borrow, so I used up the pack and am now figuring out what I can do with the images.

There are five that I am really interested in. So I've been playing with the other two. I've found out enough that I don't think I will buy any more, but I do see how it could be used.

This first transfer is on heavy silk, crepe satin I think. The original picture was of sand that was being furrowed by the waves. It was almost monotonal, which explains why it doesn't work so well.

I quilted it heavily with varigated thread. The edge had gotten messed up because I hurried the transfer process, so I added some Jacquard silk paint and let it flow. The piece is ok, but it doesn't really shine.

The next picture was a close-up of an autumn leaf, which had been manipulated in Photoshop Elements. To this I have started hand couching some silk yarn made from silk scraps. I like the look, but it seems like there will just be overall texture and color, with no focal point.

But this idea shows promise as a technique for the 'good' transfers.

As a last trial, I transferred the image to silk organza. It's hard to tell, but it's a picture of a manatee in a clear pool of water. But the fabric is problematic--it tends to distort every time I handle it, you can feel the transfer on this (and not so much on the others). I'm drawn to the image, but can't figure out how to use it in a finished piece.

So I've learned a little, but I'm still a little scared of starting with the 'good' pieces--only one shot at getting it right. On the other hand, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sometimes, maybe lots of times, art is about taking a leap of faith. It may be the only way to get to something new, something fresh.