I am honored to be the artist featured over at the Documented Life Project this week. The theme for the month of September is Journaling with Photos, the art challenge this week was Photo Transfer, and the prompt was From Here to There.
I haven't worked with transfers for quite some time, so I found it easy to approach the project with beginners mind; it was interesting to create references as I made From Here to There connections to what arose as I worked. That prompt touched into my conscious and subconscious, mingling the two with the heres and theres that beckoned to me.
And of course there were the unusual twists and unexpected turns along the way - exactly what I was hoping for, the the dance with the great mystery to create amazing "accidents" (like I believe in those!) that lead us in a brand spanking new direction. Like this…
But I digress…
This is the journal I'll be working in.
The first thing I do is glue papers from my collage pile onto the pages, to reinforce the pages as well as adding dimensions of texture, color, history, and association to the under layers of the work. I find myself curious about my choices and engaged in being on this discovery.
I paint on some white gesso, darker in some areas and lighter in others as feels right. When it's thoroughly dry, I make marks with my Woody, a black fat stabilo pencil that comes in lots of colors. I find I go for black and brown usually, today black only. I smear and scribble .
I intuitively chose some photos I printed out for transfers, a couple were of my face and 2 of one of my paintings in different stages. I printed the images onto Epson Glossy Photo Paper and also on JetPrintPhoto Paper, a clay-based photo paper. I got the JetPrint years ago, I don't even know if that brand is still around.
I move the photos around and decide what will go where, giving some thought to what will be under the transfer and how the marks/patterns might influence the finished transfer.
I brush a generous amount of Golden soft gel (matte) onto top of a clay-based ink jet print of one of my paintings.
Then burnished the surface with a plastic hotel key card. I put a piece of acetate on top of pages to protect them from tearing.
The next transfer I tried was with the glossy photo paper. I don't think I left it long enough or ?? but for whatever unknown reason it didn't turn out. What I got when I pulled it up was parts of the substrate coming up onto the photograph, none of the ink from the photo stuck to the page.
I really loved with the process did to the original glossy photo, the gel picking up the black marks and bits of paper in what seemed just the right places. I decided to glue it atop a piece of print from a painting. Voila.
I used the claybased prints for the remaining two transfers. Once I burnished the surfuce thoroughly (above step), I rubbed the surface of the paper back with a damp cloth, carefully and slowly at first until I got a feel for how much pressure to exert without tearing it badly. The unexpected appearance of little tears and holes is also what makes the transfer process unpredictable and spontaneous, both attributes I like in a technique.
I love the way the black scribbling with the Woody stabilo pencil works with the collage paper to give depth and layers under the transfer.
Once I finished the transfers, I brushed on a coat of clear gesso; the surface then has some grit and is easy to work on with with dry media. I wanted to incorporate colored pencils and pastels rather than heavy paint layers to keep that surreal feel.
Here is the progression…
The finished spread.
I thoroughly enjoyed this project, if you decide to experiment with the process, I'd love if you posted a link to your work here so we can check it out!