Skip to main content

Day 19: Learning from my mistakes

Well, sometimes you go through a two-day process, and it works, and you get some nice piccies to upload to your blog, and you feel like a very fine fellow.

But sometimes you do something that doesn't quite come off. I decided to post photos of that anyway, as the reasons why I decided not to follow this up, at least for the moment, are also part of my process (or 'prah-sesss' as they say here in Chicago.)

Over the weekend, I took one of the xeroxes of last week's Sharpie drawings, and coated it with a layer of Clear Tar Gel:

That glistening you see is the layer of gel (which stinks, by the way: if you use this stuff, make sure you have adequate ventilation or you can close it up in its own room).

I let it dry overnight, then I immersed the coated xerox for about 30 seconds in a tray of warm water:

That loosened the paper fibres (or fibers, as they say in Chicago), enabling me to do the next stage:

... which was, to flip the thing over so that the dried acrylic skin was facing down and the soaked xerox paper was facing up. Next, I began rubbing with my fingertips, and then with a rag, until the paper fibres started to loosen from the skin.

The main thing is to rub hard enough so that the paper comes loose, but not so hard that you rub away the transferred lines.

Well, I did that for about 15 minutes, until most of the fibres were rubbed away, and I was left with a piece of transparent acrylic with a drawing embedded in its surface.

And, after looking at it for a while, I thought to myself: Well, unless I'm going to colour this transfer before I glue it to the canvas, which I probably won't do, what does this process give me that I couldn't achieve just by drawing the damn image onto the canvas?

It took me two days to realise that I wasn't going to use this process. But I don't consider that it was wasted time. Sometimes you can work on something for months, before putting it aside because it doesn't work for some reason. You can only come to that point, thought, by going through the experiment in the first place.

Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Popular posts from this blog

On my 300th blog post

Crikey!

It's my 300th blog post. And I seem to remember that in my 200th blog post I said that I would start quoting from John Ruskin's "Praeterita", after which this blog was named. Well, better late then never, so quotation number 2 is below.

First, though, some thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I started Praeterita at the end of last year after reading a book by an art-marketing guru called Alyson Stansfield that recommended it as a means for artists to publicise their work better. But from the start I thought it would be more interesting to talk in a discursive way about my wider interest in art, and artists, and the history of art. After a desultory beginning where I only posted once a week, my blogging habit has now grown to the point where I am posting sometimes twice a day, and more than 45 times per month (helped enormously by the Blogger feature that lets you save blog posts with a post-dated timestamp, so that you can put posts in the bank to …

My worst open studio

Most open studios are notable for nothing really happening. You sit there waiting for people to come into your studio, eat all your nibbles and guzzle the free drink, and then leave after a cursory glance at your work. Usually, the worst thing that happens is that you get stuck in a boring conversation with a dull person,

But there was one time a few years ago when I got into one of these conversations, and quite quickly the person I was talking to started to make homophobic remarks about another artist in the building. After a few minutes, I decided I'd had enough and asked him to leave. He seemed genuinely surprised that I had any objection to what he was saying, which in retrospect makes me even angrier if he thought he had a sympathetic ear.

He asked me why, and I told him I didn't like people talking that way, and I said: "This conversation ended 30 seconds ago." So he left.

So, nothing dramatic like Jackson Pollock getting drunk in a fancy New York apartment a…

Van Gogh on Degas

From a letter dated July 31, 1888:
“Why do you say Degas can’t get it up properly? Degas lives like some petty lawyer and doesn’t like women, knowing very well that if he did like them and bedded them frequently, he’d go to seed and be in no position to paint any longer. The very reason why Degas’s painting is virile and impersonal is that he has resigned himself to being nothing more than a petty lawyer with a horror of kicking over the traces. He observes human animals who are stronger than him screwing and f—ing away and he paints them so well for the very reason that he isn’t all that keen on it himself.”
Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader