November Painting Progress +Updates

The last few weeks have been a bit busier than usual, so as a stopgap I have created an Instagram tab so I can post simple updates. (I’ve been using a decommissioned Droid that runs on WiFi alone. That’s why the image quality isn’t fantastic.)

Here are a few highlights:

The Awesome Foundation, Atlanta

I went to the October meeting of The Awesome Foundation (Atlanta chapter). Everyone had a chance to introduce themselves and pitch their projects. It was inspiring to see so many people focused on helping youth and developing educational opportunities for kids.

Whidbey Island Writers Conference 2014

Later I traveled to Washington state for a work trip. I helped to present a few workshops about social media marketing for authors. I really liked the concept that the Whidbey Island Writers Conference skillfully employs: chat houses. Local homeowners and businesses offered space for discussions and participants were treated to beautiful homes and picturesque views. It would be awesome if an organization could stage something like this in Atlanta.

At the beginning of November I participated in Meredith Schorr’s “Age is Just a Number” blog campaign. In anticipation of the release of How Do You Know? Meredith invited creative to share stories about an age that they are / were worried about reaching. Being a weirdo, I decided to write about biological deadlines of an indeterminate age.

Since the beginning of November I have been working on two paintings of autumnal gourds on Japanese papers dyed with indigo.

Between awaiting reimbursement for work travel costs and car repair bills, I had to be extra careful about art supply expenses this month. Luckily, I had a bit of birthday money to play with, so I picked up some chalk paint. I was curious to see if it would work as a stand-in for gofun.

Good News: This paint has a big portion of the right stuff: calcium carbonate.

Bad News: The paint became crackly in some spots. Not sure if this is due to other ingredients in the mix. Perhaps this brand of chalk paint isn’t good for mixed media work? It is unusual that this paint won’t stay mixed more than a few seconds at a time.

Other questions that arose during the process:

* Indigo changes color on its own and it appears to chance the color of other natural pigments.

When you initially dye something or apply the dye to a surface, it’s green and then changes to its final, dark blue / indigo color.

I found on my gourd paintings that when I applied chalk paint to the indigo-dyed surface and then a mixture of gum arabic-based binder and turmeric on top of that, the top layer of paint would turn orange within minutes.

In a Facebook discussion, a fabric artist pointed out that Indigo has a high pH. This may be contributing to the color change. I guess I'll have to keep testing to see.

Ink and Pigment Change

* Red India ink and turmeric mixed together make some really interesting color combinations in different ratios. The problem is that it doesn’t last long – even if you try sealing it with acrylic medium. I had done this during one of the final sessions painting the multiple gourd painting. Less than a week later one of the most interesting areas of the painting was gone! I’ve heard of fugitive reds before, but this is impressive! Luckily my bottle of cochineal arrived this week. The material inside the little jar looks like flaky, organic bb’s. The first order of business will be figuring out how to use it.