Ruth came over tonight and we worked on making our artist trading cards for this month. The theme is "In the style of..." and I chose Claudine Hellmuth, Ruth chose Henri Matisse.
I will start with the cards I worked on throughout the day today.
One of the next steps in making the main collage element was to tone down the text that was added to the person's head.
I mixed Neutral Gray and Light Portrait Pink. I liked the color it produced, but I couldn't quite catch on to how to tone down the text. I was able to keep it transparent looking (as the book suggests) but somehow I wasn't grasping the whole thing.
This collage element in most of Claudine Hellmuth's collages usually looks like there is no text to me...maybe it looks different close up. Maybe she just begins this way and then changes it as she gets farther along.
Another technique is layering masking tape and burnishing it down really well with a bone folder.
Then you cover it with paint and rub it in and then buff it to the look you like...adding other colors, leaving more paint in places, removing more in others...whatever looks good to you.
Another technique for background and texture is to draw into wet paint.
You draw on the card in the wet paint and then paint more over it...
...I began to realize that perhaps not all of the techniques were going to work in my particular application...working with paper and cards and the small format of artist trading cards. At least not for me.
Plus, we all know I am not a painter and I don't draw very often.
Yet one more technique (out of many, many more) is to use layers of tissue paper to create a texture.
I chose to include the registration dots from the tissue I was using.
I did not go to the next step which is adding paint and more paper and more texture...too much for an ATC...too much for me right now...I had some intense dental work earlier in the day and was feeling pretty beat up.
On another card I added some text under the tissue.
Oh yeah...here is another cool thing I tried -- you cut out or punch out shapes in clear contact paper and then lightly adhere them to your surface and paint over them and smush the paint into and slightly under the edges of the contact paper so that the paint makes an outline...kind of like a reverse masking technique.
This is how it looked with the contact paper cut outs still in place.
And this is after the paint dried and I pulled the contact paper shapes off and added lines with a pen.
And this is where I really started to realize that these wonderful techniques were not working for me in this particular project.
I had applied gesso to the cards with a brayer the day before. That added some texture all by itself and I think this is why I had these results.
Like I mentioned earlier, I think that the combination of working so small and working on paper is not the right use of these techniques. I want to try them on canvas and with a cigar box (like Claudine Hellmuth does). I know I won't achieve her exact results, but I think things will turn out better.
The combination of the disappointing cards and being in major distress from some pretty intense dental work had me down a bit. Then it struck me -- I had no intention at any point to try and copy the work of Claudine Hellmuth...I wanted to work in the style of Claudine Hellmuth. I wasn't really wanting to go step-by-step to try and reproduce what she does, I wanted to try to pay homage to her unique style that I love so much.
So I went back to the beginning...chose a method that I could identify with and started again.
As we know, I am much more comfortable manipulating paper than I am with painting (duh) so I chose one of the tissue paper cards I started and worked with that.
This is the best I could come up with. It is not quite what I was hoping for...but there is no way I can duplicate what Claudine Hellmuth does so wonderfully.
I am happy with this card, though. It has some of the elements of Claudine Hellmuth's work. It gives a nod to some of her frequent images and I gave it my best shot.
If I saw this card I would say -- "hey, that puts me in mind of Claudine Hellmuth".
Later, that same night...
While Ruth was here tonight working on her cards, I played with one more of the girl/text images.
Duh -- I found that if I painted the text lightly and then added tissue paper it toned down the text and made the body area neutral enough for me to work with.
I added it to the contact paper card -- but alas, I still couldn't achieve the look...not the way I wanted to.
But like I was saying, I was never out to totally copy Claudine Hellmuth...just try to pay homage to her style.
Instead of making five individual cards with different scenes and the same girl with different outfits I will print out the other card and finish them off nicely and trade those.
These are the cards that Ruth made, in the style of Henri Matisse. Aren't they good?