Friday, 29 July 2011

Potato Prints.

Moving on with Gina Ferrari's mini tutorials, we are now on to making potato prints. I thought about a suitable shape and could probably have come up with a simpler one but decided to carry on with the thistle as my design source. This bit of the exercise took me back more than 40 years to when our children were small and we kept the 'Rainy Day Box' behind the sofa - it was full of useful stuff like paper, felt, wool, cardboard tubes, egg boxes, match boxes, paint, glue, string etc. It was sometimes used on days which weren't rainy and kept us all amused for hours. I ended up cutting this shape freehand as it was impossible to hold the cut out drawing in place, and hold the potato steady at the same time. It is supposed to be a side stem and bud but looks more like an oven-ready chicken gone wrong!

First trial prints - not too successful. I kept getting a bald patch in the centre of my thistles and painted in the first two. Then I decided to place an old mouse mat under the page I was printing on and this made all the difference. I also experimented with using two colours of paint.

The shapes look too solid and heavy so I made an adjustment to the potato shape after the first two prints and scored criss-cross lines to suggest the 'scales' of the prickles. I think it helps the design and lightens the image.

I had to cheat and paint in the stalks before I could add my side shoots and buds. These are not so good.

Then came a delightful interruption when one of our daughters and her dog Chester called during their morning walk. So it was coffee and chat for a while and trying to keep Chester occupied without getting him too excited - he is only about 6 months old. Here, he is hunting for dog treats which we have hidden in an old towel - great fun.

That little interlude was well timed and by the time I got back to work the prints had dried and I could try over washing with watercolours. I really sloshed water and paint over the top and had to work quite fast as it seemed to soak into the paper so quickly. I like a bit of dithering time when using paint.

I played with mixing various colours and love this diluted purple and green together.

My thistles look a bit stiff, but then I suppose in reality they are rather stiff. I enjoyed these experiments but can't help thinking that a teacher would have written on the bottom of my pages 'Could do better'! Perhaps I can think of a way of improving them.


The Weaver of Grass said...

I am struggling with the workshops Heather - my results are nothing like as good as yours. David hit the nail on the head when he said I always want things finished before I have started. At my age i don't see how I can break that habit.

Toffeeapple said...

You are doing so well, it's amazing how different the criss-crossed ones are.

Heather said...

Thankyou Pat and Toffeeapple. It get's harder to be patient over some things Pat. I think I can persevere with these exercises because I have had a creative block for so many months and it is giving me something to do.

Ro Bruhn said...

Great prints from the humble spud Heather, I love the colours you've used as well.

Gina said...

Well this teacher is going to tell you well done - fabulous potato prints with lots of potential to develop further. Especially like the ones with the criss cross design.

Val said...

Wow! I think they are fantastic Heather, specially the one with the criss-cross! I'm very interested to see how you will develop it further!

Linda said...

They turned out well Heather!
Very effective...and lovely colours.