August 3, 2015

Progress on Accident 2

I'm making progress again on Accident 2.  When I last wrote about the piece (in this post), I had gotten to this point in the trials:

Since then, I've considered the helpful comments I've received, consulted with friends, and done one more trial.  The biggest decision I've made is to diminish the starkness of the text by overdyeing the piece, turquoise over turquoise, blue over blue, etc.  The photo below shows the overdyeing trial.  I tried two different values of each color, and three different values of black.  I prefer the darker overdye (towards the top of the piece, most easily seen in the black section).  This also opens up another design possibility:  I will leave a small part of the narrative in white, for the sake of emphasis.  This will draw the viewer to one key part of the text, rather than reading the text as a whole.  I have chosen a sentence to emphasize--not the one I happened to leave white in the trial piece.

I also decided not to use the "scratchy" writing in the bottom half of the trial piece.  And I will make the ochre divider less of a line and more of a thin, varying shape.  So, that left me ready to do the full-scale version.  The first step was to write out the whole narrative on a large, taped-together sheet of newsprint.  It ended up being about 52" wide and about 87" long.

I decided on a combination of printing and script, something close to my natural writing.  It took me a few tries to get the size/spacing correct.  By the third time, I gave myself room for error by writing it out first in regular pencil (easy to erase), and then going over it with a heavy graphite crayon.

I put the paper version up on my design wall so that I could work on the shaping of the ochre divider. Using a small watercolor sketch that I like, I drew a version on a separate piece of plain newsprint.  I will cut this out and use it as a guideline when applying the ochre dye.  It was possible to improvise this line/shape when doing the small watercolor, but when working large, on my knees on the floor, there has to be more planning involved.

Then the narrative-on-paper was laid down on my huge printing board in the basement, and a layer of polyester sheer laid over it and stapled down. 

The text written on the paper serves as a guide for writing the text onto the polyester sheer, using matte medium.  I put some blue paint in the matte medium, as this makes it easier to see what I've done, and also helps in the washing out process, when I will need to scrape off all the paper from the sheer, except for the parts that have stuck to the screen (which will show because of the blue paint).

Now I wait 24 hours for the screen to dry.


  1. Would it be possible (and also make any sense) to place your "table top" on some trestles so that you could work seated or standing whenever possible?

  2. It would be possible, but then I couldn't reach the middle of the table. It actually works out OK, and the longest I'm working on the table for one or another process is about an hour.