whew! i went out of town last week to visit friends and am just now getting settled in and caught up. boy did i have a good time, though... i laughed so hard one night that my stomach muscles were sore the next morning. now that's nice!
i finally picked up some plaster cloth while i was out, and have just begun to experiment with it. as you can see in the piece above, you can dig into it (the grid and circles), which puts it way up there on my list of desirable working surfaces. and it's really easy to use - that's two layers of plaster cloth on top of a piece of muslin.
the finished piece is rigid and thin - about the thickness of 300# watercolor paper. i'm chomping at the bit to work with it more...
and i've been working in my muslin book - LOVE these as travel journals. here are two pogo prints of trees that i sat under in chico... a giant sycamore and a giant palm. total tree love...
i did this sitting under the sycamore - i'd just bought a book about matisse at the used book store. this is my fauvist tree, ha!
still using mostly colored pencils...
in case it's helpful i thought i'd pass along some of the things that i've discovered lately, mostly about working with muslin or colored pencils...
1. for the smoothest muslin surface, buy permanent press muslin. no amount of ironing will make non permanent press muslin as smooth as p.p. muslin.
2. i use a regular eraser to blend and lighten colored pencils *a lot*. colored pencils will erase almost completely from acrylic paint if you haven't pressed down too hard.
3. if you use colored pencils on top of oil pastels, they blend easily with the oil pastels using a paper stump. of course you can't have a thick a layer of oil pastels down, or they won't 'stick'.
4. if i put a layer of gel medium on the muslin (to keep watercolors from bleeding through to the other side, say) i sand it lightly before i start working on it. i've found that every surface that i add to the muslin feels a bit rough, even though the original surface has been sanded smooth.
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"... One cannot live in a household that is too orderly, a home run by aunts from the provinces. So off one goes into the bush, to seek simpler methods which do not smother the spirit."
~ Henri Matisse on Fauvism