Foam board – two sheets of shiny plastic sandwiching a layer of expanded polythene. I bought half a dozen pieces but then puzzled about how to use them. I experimented with an off-cut.
It doesn’t take charcoal. This makes pale marks and pressing harder just scores the surface. OK, why not fix that layer and then draw into it? The sprayed fixative sat on the surface layer in a puddle. I crushed some charcoal onto this and started making textures with my finger. This seemed pleasing but I was inhaling the fumes of the slowly evaporating solvent. Start again – the only other glue in the house was my children’s PVA stuff. That must be safe. The nozzle was blocked so I took this off and squeezed. Out came great globs. I ground down all those charcoal stubs that accumulated from sketching and threw it in and switched from fingers to shaping it with a palette knife.
At the moment I have in mind a distant city, monumentally big, with river and suspended tramlines weaving their way toward the foreground.
Except this is not that image, it is still just charcoal suspended in glue. Perhaps some colour was needed. Cheap chalk pastels – small pieces ground down with the handle of a hammer seemed to go a long way. Some white and paynes grey acrylic ink into the mix to create more contrast and definition. This all seemed pretty viscous. I propped it up to look and left it there overnight. It slowly slid down the board as it dried.
I have found a use for foam board. I’ll stick paper to it.