In the last episode our hero had put aside her sensible, test everything carefully approach to art making, and, instead, had embarked on a let’s-just-make-it-up-as-we-go course of action. Specifically the task was to try and save the white space on the substrate with the stinky, ammonia based masking fluid watercolourists use. Acrylic paint was put over the mask, the mask peeled off and then the whole thing run through the printer. The idea was that the printed colours would print onto a white background instead of over the acrylic paint, thus the colours would be brighter.
Did it work? That depends on how you define work. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t work. In the process of fixing the parts that didn’t work, more doors opened up. Years ago I was struggling in therapy about which of a number of paths to pursue – art, writing or teaching. I felt I was in a long hallway with many doors. I worried that if I chose one, I would cut myself off from all the other options. The therapist wisely said, “Oh but when you enter a new room, many more doors will appear.” So here are more doors, more ideas.
I always forget until I’m doing it again, that the creative process itself is where the ideas come from. It is while I am trying to solve a visual problem that I come up with a new and different idea. I almost hate to say this, but I need the problems, so that I can find the new solutions, and thus the new images.
In this case the masking fluid worked on large, blocky shapes, but not on skinny lines because printer registration is an inexact science. So I have come up with a number of different solutions to first, fix the places where the registrations was off and second, to do it better and differently next time. For the former I have both over-painted and over-printed (though some new problems have arisen with both of these). But the latter solution is a radical new approach – paint, then photograph the painting, then make the image in the computer, then print the whole new image! Why, you ask, would I paint to begin with? Why not just paint digitally and forgo the mess and time of analog paint? Because there is a depth to the layers of colour and an aliveness to the brush strokes that is easier to get with acrylic paint than digital. Anyway it is more fun.