Thursday, May 26, 2011

White on Black

Today I played in the studio with white writing on black paper.

I don’t think I would be alone in thinking that writing with white gouache on black paper is a bit tricky.  It may even one of the most difficult things to try, for a calligrapher using a broad-edged pen.

But I was up for a challenge today.  J  Oh, not that I haven’t written in white before, but I just don’t feel as confident with it as I want to.  So I decided to get out a piece of black paper and Just Do It until it was easier for me.  (Notice that I did not say Easy.  Haha)

I used Winsor Newton Bleedproof White, diluted with some distilled water.  And I added some glair that I made this week.  Just a few drops, by the way.  You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.   J!

Glair is made, not purchased.  You beat egg whites until they won’t fall out if the bowl is turned over.  Then you let that bowl sit out overnight, and the liquid that has collected at the bottom of the bowl is glair.  (The rest of the foamy stuff you just rinse down the drain.)  I put the glair into a little jar and put it into the refrigerator, but first I put some into a pipette to take up to the studio.

The next day

Pouring out the accumulated liquid

Finished Glair

You add glair to gouache to make your writing crisper.  It also serves as an additional binder. This is particularly important when writing in a book, ensuring that the gouache does not transfer to any other pages.

As for some technical stuff:  I ruled lines with a General’s white charcoal pencil on some black charcoal paper.  These are easily erased later with a Factis black eraser.  (It’s the best eraser I’ve found for black paper.  Erasing on black paper can leave marks and damage, if you’re not careful.)

And I experimented with dipping my pen in distilled water and then in my white gouache or vice versa.  And I wiped my pen nib fairly often.  You just have to experiment and see what works.  

I actually prefer to have a too-dry pen and have to touch up, than have the pen flood the stroke with too much paint.  And by touching up, I mean pressing just a bit more paint out of the nib onto a not-dry-yet stroke, thereby adding more color.

I really liked the way I got a not perfectly flat and opaque white.  I know, I know.  I’m a rebel, I guess, because I know the goal “should” be a perfectly flat opaque look for gouache.  I guess I have to admit here that I have never been a fan of that look.  It’s so harsh.  Not that I like an insipid, weak look, either.  I guess it’s another one of those Goldilocks things:  this is too weak, this is too strong, but this one is just right.  J

I also played with alternating Pen Caps with Gothicized/Pointed Italic.  It just seemed like a fun variation to try for my easily-bored eyes.  After 30+ years of calligraphy, apparently I am only content with Perfection, which I can’t do, or Variety, which I can do.  Haha

And when you take photos for a blog, you can change things out and have another version just like that.  J

Lucky Dog 

1 comment:

  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the way you show the process of your amazing work!