Monday, 13 September 2010
I'm still plodding away with my gyotaku project and have all kinds of fish from the weird to the wonderful. These little bluegills are found all over North America and I love the shape and size - pan size and very good eating I'm told.
I did a study of them to work out colours and composition. The paper was pretty absorbent - Okawara - so I thought I'd take it to the next level and really add a shot of colour. I flooded the surface with a highly pigmented wash of watercolour in various colours that complement the natural colours of these fish. Its as if they're swimming in a dream world now and I rather like the outcome. The print below is the original study print with a small amount of colour added.
The paper was still damp when I took this image so it will be slightly more subdued when dry.
Experimentation is what this project is all about after all and testing the abilities of Japanese papers. I'm quite amazed at their strength when wet. The papers have a perceived fragility when you pick them up as they're so lightweight and flexible, and, like most papers, are fragile when wet. However, I can put a lot of water and manipulate paint on them very well without the paper or the print breaking down.
Japanese papers vary so much in type and price. They're not cheap papers which is why I often work out pieces as studies first on newsprint or cheap mulberry paper before I pull out something more expensive. I would recommend people try some Japanese paper if they can access it. Its a unique experience and has so many possibilities. My source for good quality paper is The Japanese Paper Place in Toronto.
And now for a quick smile from one of the more different fish that I am printing. This is a smile from an ocean pout. I was given this fish and didn't realize it had quite the set of teeth til I started prepping it for printing. The fish is about 16 inches long and rather like a cross between a sculpin and an eel with a big bony head. I'm rapidly getting over my fear of strange and weird fish that, in the past, would have had me in the horrors.