false starts + oh ohs

Sunday, January 9, 2011

in progress, coffee stained, gouache "a zillion hearts" illustration - Susan Black

False starts + oh ohs
sometimes process sucks

Yesterday, Saturday was a day of false starts and oh ohs. A drag. I'm on deadline, my own self imposed but essential deadline with 2 important Empire building projects on the go. I started the same piece, this painting "a zillion hearts" three different times. The first version didn't make the final cut. I began to add collaged bits - paper hearts glued in the centre of the illustration and several hours into the process the alarms began to ring, the voice inside my head began saying oh oh, oh oh ... and then ultimately no, no ... NO. Sigh.

Onto No. 2 just gouache, no collage on brand new paper recommended to me by the very polite, helpful telephone person at Curry's (art supply). Yupo - tree free, plastic, super durable, erase-able, change-your-life possibly, perfect for watercolour, non-paper paper. The surface is a surface and does not absorb and therefore fingerprints are a problem, which I discovered several hours in (see a pattern developing here?) the oil from your fingers forms little lines of resist (I come to find out after googling - oh my, Google have I told you yet today how much I love you?? Well, ah sure do). Apparently this plastique paper can & should be cleaned before beginning with window cleaner to remove any traces of fingerprint oils. Uh Huh !! OK now I know.

No.3 ... I coffee stained my 3rd go's background ... oh, oh, ?????? not sure that I like that.
Sighing lots more. The trials I guess of mad, crazed empiricalness.

A bonus book review (of sorts) - I'm currently reading Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections after finishing & loving his new book Freedom. If you like big fat books, contemporary simple tales of regular folks with lots o' quirks & foibles, books that are beautifully, tres cleverly & wittily written - rush to your local library & check out either of these humdingers. I'm lovin' both of them.

feel like voting* ? coffee stained or Yupo ? Yupo or coffee stained ??

*constructive criticism, opinions, suggestions, thoughts & ideas tres welcome - always

"a zillion hearts" detail Yupo paper (about to be cleaned with window cleaner) - Susan Black


  1. I like the coffee stained. My grandmother used to rinse her cotton lace curtains in coffee to soften the colour - I think this might have been back in the 1920s, mind you!

  2. I like the coffee stained version as well. I also like the design, looks like a bunch of heart balloons floating out of the frame. Lovely.

  3. I like the coffee stained version best. The hearts have motion, a swaying dance off of the paper...there they go!

  4. Hi Susan
    The Yupo has an interesting texture and you can see the way the paint flows in the pattern. I think I prefer the coffee stained one best though. Like blueheron, the pattern reminds me of lots of balloons floating free.

  5. I don't have a preference, both are appealing.

  6. have you ever painted on Rives BFK? Its a printmaking paper but its velvet surface is a nice ground for gouache. very rich and sumptuous. I could not paint on a surface where the paint didnt sink into the fiber. thats why i like recycled rag -not pulp -papers.

    I love your designs though. yesterday i was at your Etsy shop admiring the collage cards. I make my own valentines too - its one of my favorite holidays.

  7. Both versions are lovely, but I LOVE the coffee stained image....the way it flows up gives me a very uplifting feeling.

  8. I like the un-stained version:)
    Pure and simple. The image is the focus at least for me. I think I am getting tired of things being altered to look old or textured. Sigh. Maybe it's me that's getting old and textured and I am not liking it:)Ha.
    Love the design xo

  9. hey ... many more thanks for the opinions, thoughts, votes, favourites. I LOVE getting comments re the projects I'm working on ...

    I think the coffee staining perhaps will be a passing fancy of mine but I am liking it at the moment but I also like the Yupo bright whiteness ??? - however, I do not like the paper thankfully I've only tried it in a 9 x 12 pad.

    Chickory I haven't tried (or heard) of that paper but of course googled it instantly and I will be on the lookout. Currently I'm using Arches hot press 300gm bright white (which is still slightly off white) and I love it.

    Will post the finished "zillion hearts and a few darn swirls & leaves" illustration/painting tomorrow. Oh, oh ! uh huh there's another oh, oh. Stay tuned :-)

  10. I've never used gouache; can't speak on that. But Yupo; oh my! It's the funnest paper on earth, but usually best with watercolours.
    You'll play, play, play all day with the way you can make the paint run into each other causing awesome different colours all blending so unexpectedly and the fraying, jagged edges all so wonderful.
    Be aware it can be wiped off, clean as a slate and you can start again. On the other hand although dried paint can also be reactivated and moved, it also can chip off without a finish varnish sprayed on in thin coats.
    I love the stuff but then my thing is abstract. Maybe not a paper that will fit into your style.
    But do try it for the surprizes you'll find; make your discovery re fingerprints work for you.

  11. White wins with me! Mom uses Twinrocker paper...check it out. Thanks for letting us look and the great creations...Tail wags + Happy painting.
    PS...check out mom's letterpress puppy!


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