A. Making coloured paper
When I looked at my research images, there wasn’t a complementary colour scheme which really leapt out at me. The architectural sources are overwhelmingly blue, some with yellow and/or white, and the heraldic/religious/symbolic examples tend to be in primary colour triads. The images I really liked for colour were the walking sea urchin and the round diatom from New Scientist, so I have opted for a turquoisy/tealy blue-green and a corally red-orange.
I had two attempts at making the coloured paper. The first attempt failed spectacularly owing to use of really questionable ink and (possibly) excessively good quality paper which may, I think, have had size in it, or perhaps have been very, very hot pressed. The ink I used was labelled ‘Drawing Ink’ , but it was thin, smelly, didn’t produce saturated colour on paper and, oddly, the colours I mixed tended to separate on the paper. I think I can still use the paper I printed, perhaps for backgrounds or for interesting washed-out effects. These are a couple of samples:
So – off to my favourite art supply shop for thinner, more open textured cartridge paper and some really good ink. The second attempt was made using Art Spectrum Concentrated Artist Ink, and the result, after attempt no. 1, was a revelation. Sheet 1 shows samples of some of my coloured paper, with the (approximate) recipes.
The papers with more than one colour came up well – these look quite interesting and yes, I can see different effects when I sponge both colours at once or sequentially. Here are some examples –
I painted a variety of papers, including tissue and crumpled brown paper, newspaper and magazine paper, some interesting hairy/lacy Japanese paper and a few different handmade papers with surface texture and metallic highlights already incorporated. The scanner is not so good at picking up the variation between red and orange – this photograph gives a more realistic impression of the chosen colour scheme:
B. Printing onto coloured papers
I had a vinyl tile, so decided to try cutting a stamp from that rather than from a rubber. The printing block is one quadrant of the origami compass rose from Chapter One. The colours were mixed from Liquitex acrylic paints.
The turquoise (cool yellow and cool blue) mixed to a very dark colour which, when printed on the coral paper, looks almost black. When printed on the blue paper, the result is a bit more subtle, but not much. This was a more contrasting result than I expected, and I thought a tint of the turquoise may work better:
The coral colour (warm red and warm yellow) works well, I think – it looks quite interesting printed on the turquoise paper, and even more so on the orange. I accidentally picked up a bit of the turquoise paint when I was printing in coral onto the orange paper, liked it, picked up a bit more …
The tessellated patterns can be quite interesting – I think the coral on orange example (my favourite) looks like stylised birds. I might try some more of these later. I did get the hang of registration eventually …
C. Star or cross shapes from coloured paper
I prepared two sheets of star and cross shapes based upon my research images, as I wanted to see what difference it would make displaying turquoise images against a coral background, and vice versa:
Again, these are scans, and the colours are a bit knocked-back. Even so, it’s quite easy to see from Sheets 2 and 3 why warm colours are said to advance, and cool colours recede, I feel. The stars and crosses were interesting to make. I used scissors for the simpler shapes, and a stencil knife on a cutting board for the more complex ones, including the outline shapes. The example in the lower right hand corner of Sheet 3 is, of course, torn. The white outline makes it look a bit out of place. I like the series of variations based upon the Toulouse cross (without blobs on the vertices – I wasn’t game to tackle the blobs with a stencil knife).