The End of the Line, Part 1

Challenges are always more fun with company, and my friend Penny joined me in playing with line. She has been working with collage and gel printing recently, and her responses to the prompts reflect that. I asked her to be a guest blogger. She chose some of her work to feature here, and wrote a bit about what she did and why. Take it away Penny.

Thick and thin lines with contrast   We started this challenge by coming up with some “prompts” for line making.  Thick and thin seemed like a good place to start.  I thought about weaving lines together and thought it would be fun to make it look like it was unraveling.  Black India ink with a brush was used for lines; contrast and line variety were added with white and turquoise oil pastels on a brown paper bag.  It could be a theme to further explore using various media.

Using line to depict fashion figures  After viewing the work of textile artist Lucienne Day (shared by Joanna), and viewing Day’s small abstracted figures; I decided to use directional line to doodle these little fashionistas.  I think they would be fun over a sheer watercolor background or a collaged tissue base in very light colors.  They are very minimalist, but they have a certain “je ne sais quoi.”

Lines and mark making with unconventional tools   I think this was a mutually agreed upon line prompt.  I used deli paper, India ink, and items such as a pencil eraser end and silicon basting brush.  I did another sheet which I was unable to locate in my burgeoning stash which used a haircolor brush applicator and the edge of a credit card.  These techniques could be utilized on a gelli plate as well.

Cheesecloth line gel print with tracing paper collage overlay   I decided to try this after exploring adding cheesecloth to some of my gelli prints.  I wanted to see how clearly the threads of the cloth would show up when used with fluid acrylic paint.  I also explored the value changes made by layering pieces and/or folding the cheesecloth randomly on the plate before pulling the prints.  I used tracing paper for the overlay with china marker and Posca pens.  It was a fun and delightfully unpredictable way to explore line and value.

Acrylic string printing on wallpaper sample   I had done numerous string printed pieces on various “regular” papers, but never on wallpaper.  I decided to print multiple layer string prints using the wallpaper pressed directly onto the plate.  I enjoy the way the texture of the wallpaper subtly breaks up the printed lines, making me think of some kind of abstracted Renaissance textile from a royal’s wardrobe.  If nothing else, interesting collage fodder!

Using torn paper edges as line, using a variety of found papers, photocopied image, wallpaper samples, and found object junk mail in a collage   I was quite disturbed by the Capitol Insurrection, and thought that torn edges would help to show the attempted “tearing down” of the democratic process.  Rioters were depicted as surreal reptilian-like creatures, letting the linear pattern of blacks, whites, and grays show up against the photocopied image of the Capitol.  The strong colors of magazine collage bits emphasize their rage.  The diagonal lines in the wallpaper background helped to lead my eye into the Capitol interior, as well as the directional lines on the other wallpapers.  I really enjoyed creating this, despite the gravity of the subject matter.

Using pinked edge masks, edge of cardboard, and high flow acrylic to explore a particular line pattern   I mistakenly received a big bottle of high flow acrylic in an art supply order, so I decided to try gel printing with it.  I had already made the pinked mask shapes, so it started out just as white masked shapes on a pink ground.  It definitely needed something, so I decided to echo the zigzag edges of the masks with black Posca pen.  I used white Posca for the dots so it wouldn’t be totally zigzaggy, and then printed with corrugated cardboard edges in black acrylic to add another type of line quality.  This was a late night experiment that made me think of Good N Plenty candy (which I don’t even like).   Could be a fun starting point for surface design.

Using tinted cheesecloth and machine stitching as line in a grid format   Joanna told me about a class she was taking with David Owen Hastings that uses pieces of cut collage elements in a grid which are then machine stitched.  I chose pages from a calendar as well as some subtly textured wallpaper.  After stitching it down, I decided to layer it with collaged white tissue and painted cheesecloth to suggest a partially frozen creek bed.  I added undulating stitching to give it a watery look and continue the linear feel.  I’m still pondering how to create slightly raised “stepping stones” using layered collage elements for the rocks.  This piece really got me excited about using cheesecloth as a collage element.

Painted damask with added lines and color  Found this piece of previously sponge painted damask in my stash and was looking for a quick way to add linear detail.  Used some of the pink high flow acrylic with a fine steel-tipped resist bottle for thin lines, then some fine line Posca pen detailing.  It makes me think of a sunny little Mediterranean village.

 Lines making Asemic or Symbolic writing   I did the orange and black piece after stumbling on a great Robyn McClendon video on symbolic writing.  I knew it would fit in as a line making prompt.  It combines a gel print with black ink, and uses a copier for a portion of it.  I don’t have the link, but if you look up her videos, you will see it.  The lower left piece is another cheesecloth print on Bristol with layered Posca asemic writing, which I find very therapeutic!  I like the complexity of the woven lines with the looseness and contrast of the “written” lines over it.  My son, who is a graphics guy, said he really likes this “grunge” approach.  I have also tried this writing in gel pen over wallpaper textured painted color tissue in a greeting card.

Acrylic string gel print with cheesecloth and linear collage elements   This subtle string print was made with some brand new Golden fluid acrylics which I mixed to get some subtle colors.  I decided to use layers of painted cheesecloth to give my orbs some form and shadowing.  Linear collage elements were cut from a trial print.  I like the subtlety of the string print colors and the contrast afforded by the cheesecloth shapes.  I think it has kind of a planetary or undersea feel to it, and I think I need to do more of these.

Thanks for your insights, Penny, and for walking us through your responses. Next time I’ll present the rest of my line work.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Project Ideas, Techniques

7 responses to “The End of the Line, Part 1

  1. Wow, such fun! Thank your friend Penny for sharing her experimentation and explorations and for telling us about each. I have used cheesecloth in many ways so loved seeing it in more ways here. I always enjoy seeing the approach two (or more) people take when using the same prompt. Thanks Joanna, every “line” post has been inspiring.

    • Yes, Penny took to cheesecloth like a duck to water. I believe she stiffened it with matte medium and then colored it. She seemed to have fun throughout the month, though I know sometimes she got frustrated, as did I. Sometimes one’s artistic vision is foggy.

  2. magnifique travail et belle démonstration, je me réjouis déjà de la suite. Bravo

  3. Lots of interesting lines here! Thanks much.

  4. Jane E Herbst

    Great expressions here, Penny! I love the variety of forms and textures. I can see why you and Joanna inspire and encourage each other! The last time I used my silicon basting brush to spread olive oil on top of flat bread I thought about getting another one to use with my fabric paints. Perhaps I was channeling you without having “met” you. Thank you for sharing! And thank you, Joanna, for sharing Penny with us. I continue to learn and to be inspired by your blogs. Looking forward to seeing your “lines” next time!

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