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.

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