Powder and glue

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.

16 responses to “Powder and glue

  1. great combination N. interesting textures intelligent method and very creative. I’d continue this experiment. Have you tried gelatine or some developing fluid? I wonder if egg tempere would work on it. I’ve heard about conserving egg with vinegar. mixing yolk with vinegar neutralize fat and preserve from decomposition. You can also mix pva glue with sand. How about testing different priming and methods on the same surface just to compare them what effect they can give and what are textural differences. Your work makes me want to experiment. You’re very creative E.

    • HI Ewa
      And similarly, I have found inspiration in your work using found materials to build images.
      I was definitely thinking I would carry on with this. Actually I did. The same evening I used another off cut but positioned vertically. But I should have stopped and gone to bed. I over-experimented, lost the image I had created and eventually destroyed the piece. So it goes.
      I have a bag of sand in the garage just waiting for some glue.

  2. Hi Kestralart. This image is fantastic! It is too bad there was not some way of preserving it.
    I can only share what I know. Yes, foam core is a good support for paper. I have used the plastic wrap as a print method with my watercolors and know it can be used as a print or part of the composition in acrylics. I like what you have done with the charcoal and palette knife. If you are looking for a glue that is transparent when it dries, I suggest acrylic matte medium. For my watercolor collages, I water it down one part water to three parts matte medium. However, I think for what you are doing, full strength would be necessary. The foam core board surface is just not absorbent and more like painting on YUPO, a synthetic plastic paper. But, I think with paper adhered to the surface, you can try this again. Love your experimental spirit!

    • Thank you Leslie
      In the interests of technical accuracy I should say I did not lose the image (but I love the idea of coming down to it the next day and finding a puddle on the table with pristine foam board above it!) – it is as you see it – but there are drips across it I had not expected and did not want.
      As an aside I really like that you and others (and I on other people’s blogs) respond like this to experimentation.
      You piqued my curiosity in your suggestions above so I went back to you blog. I was not sure I found examples of collage which I was looking for (I have been thinking of something like this – collage of opaque charcoal and gouache ground with torn watercolour paper glued in key areas and painted with transparent washes to glow). I’d be interested in being directed to examples please. I did find your masa paper experiments – something else to try sometime.
      I’ll try your suggestions.

  3. Pingback: Entering the city via the sewer | kestrelart

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