Sunday, July 26, 2015


One of my favorite color combinations.
Added one of my new Sumninagashi textures on soft light to boost the blues.

Enjoy this summer's day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Suminagashi : Ink on Water Take Two

Step 3 : I tend to love the blue tinted versions best.
Step 1 : The original print on copy paper.. The ink fades more than you;d thin it would ...

Step 2 : More contrast in post-production work after digitizing. 
I wanted to try some more Suminagashi -- with the right stuff this time :  Sumi Ink and rice paper.

This time, I set up down in the wet studio in the basement.  There I have sinks, and it makes setting up and clean-up much easier.

I learned that it takes a certain touch to apply the ink to the TOP of the water, and not let it sink down to the bottom.  I used a dried stalk from the garden as it was the closest thing to the traditional straw tool.  This seemed to work reasonably well.

I need to learn patience with this technique, and not try to stir and mix it up too much.  The idea of Suminagashi is that just the passing wind, or the slightest bump to the tray can cause the ink to move and make patterns.  I need to let it do it's thing, and not force it. 

I learned that I need to lay the paper on the water with the shiny and smooth side down.  If I use the other side, it disintegrates faster when it's pulled up.

I learned that the rice paper is very delicate when it's wet.  The first 7 or 8 sheets looked wonderful sitting atop the water, but shredded when I pulled them out.   I finally started taking pictures of the paper as it sat on top of the water, knowing it would disintegrate when I pulled it out of the water.  Again -- there's a trick to it, and I finally figured it out by the end of this session.

I was also trying to "hang" the wet sheets on a drying rack.  Wrong!  More shredding and disintegration.  I finally figured out they have more support laid out on a towel to dry.   And I need to have that ready before I pull a Suminagashi print.  It was helpful to have a cutting board, or some kind of support under the towel so it would be easily moved.

I also learned that once the rice paper is dry again, it regains it's strength.   I even took a few of the crumbled and torn sheets and laid them out on towels anyway, hoping they'd be recoverable once dry.  Yes -- they were still torn, but usable. 

The Sumi ink on the rice paper is definitely the best match--with the most contrast.  The ink fades on regular copy/printer paper and cardstock.  Fortunately, those can be saved post-production in PSE or even Picassa (Sorry -- Things disappear in Light Room, so I'm afraid to use it now, so I'm sticking with what I know.)

I had just enough success to want to try it some more.  Enjoy this days work :

This one is my favorite.  Subtle.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mixing Water Colors

I bought a set of liquid water colors, so I set out to mix colors last weekend.  This should be a lifetime supply for me.  Lots of other plans for these liquid watercolors ...

From 2 sets of 3 primaries, I got all these colors.
It never ceases to amaze me that you can get all these colors from 3 simple colors : 
Yellow - Blue - and Red.

It was loosely based on the color mixing we did in Candied Fabrics Dye Class a few years ago.  The numbers tell you how much of each primary color to include.  For this adaptation, if the color code is 7-3-2, it tells me to mix 7 drops yellow; 3 drops blue; and 2 drops red--all eye-dropped into a little plastic bathroom cup (reusable once washed) -- shaken to mix, then I can paint it onto the little squares as a color key. 

This is what I got when I mixed the given colors in the set of 10 with equal parts of every other color in the set--just one at a time.

I didn't really think about the plan / layout of this chart, so there are some duplicates color swatches.  It still tells me what to mix to get the approximate desired colors.
This created a lot of little leftover cups of color, so I made a new set of water color textures.  The real reason for this exercise was to have a palette of colors to work with in creating some new textures. 

Since the colors are concentrated, I sprayed some water into the cups to dilute it a bit, and water it down some.  (Even if they dry out, you can still spray some water in to reconstitute them.)  Then I chose 3 or 4 colors and randomly poured them onto the watercolor paper, then spread them out to cover the page.  Then used the heat tool to speed dry it.  Got some great new textures.

Here are some of my favorites from this set.  In most cases, I poured 3 colors from the new palettes onto the watercolor paper :

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Watermelon Dress


I did some dyeing this weekend.  
I had watermelon on my mind ...  Quintessential Summer colors.

 Doesn't this say watermelon to you?

I used my Candied Fabrics periodic table of colors to choose just the right watermelon red and green for this project.    I mixed up all the primary dye stocks again, so I'd have a supply to play this summer when I can retreat to the cool basement on hot days.

Rough sketch of my dye plan.  I may still add some buttons to play the beads, but then 
-- most watermelons these days are seedless.
6-4-0 Forest Green from the Earth Triad set.

Unfortunately, the 7-0-3 Sky triad watermelon red didn't come out as planned.  I tested it on the paper before committing to the fabric.  Could be my dyes are a couple of years old again.  Could be I had lemon yellow from ProChem and not Dharma (Both their lemon yellows are quite different.)  As I was mixing the proposed watermelon red, it was coming out more like blood -- I added more boysenberry, and it only made it rustier.   Hmmmh -- Back to square one with color choices.

I wound up picking a straight Fuschia -- which has tamed itself (thankfully!) since it was new.  Usually fuschia is way too much for me--over the top and I avoid it.

I didn't actually use all that much dye, either.  Rayon is kinder than cotton that way.  Painted on with a foam brush applicator.

I used this basic technique from Dharma Trading Company on their oh-so-comfortable summer Swing Dress. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Love is a Summer Red Radish


My Love is a Summer Red Radish.
Sometimes hot and spicey.
Sometimes cool and refreshing.
Always passionate.

This black magic treatment made it look more like a painting or at least a sketchbook page.

Notes on the making of this image :

Layer 1) Background Image.
Here's the original image that I started with.  I love red and black together!
I tried all kinds of things to improve this image, and nothing really worked until I applied the black magic textures below.   I learned this trick from Kim Klassen.  I made the black textures below in an excellent online class with Denise Love from 2 Lil Owls. 

Layer 2)  India Ink on Yupo Scan 21 - Screen blend mode 63%
Layer 3) Copy Layer 2 - Overlay 55%

Layer 4) India Ink on Yupo Scan 14 - Screen 68%