Experimenting with composition and materials

Yesterday, I tested sections of ordnance survey maps with a thick gouache wash over them, tested transferring maps to cartridge paper as a background. I also mixed a beautiful pale green colour for a background. This map needs to be simpler and have fewer elements. I want it to be cohesive and not cluttered. I’m back to the form of a map again. This is the way forward, and I really need to get cracking now. The ides of March are marching on!

I want to draw out the map layout using dip pen, with a path running through it maybe? I tested drawing my images with a dip pen using black ink and also blue-green acrylic ink. Both looked good and I like the effect of the acrylic ink.

The idea I have is for the background to be pale yellow or green (map palette) colour and have tested colours and effects. I sprayed, with a pump bottle, watered-down pale lemon yellow watercolour paint mixed with gouache onto thick cartridge paper.  The colour turned out well, and it could finally be a possibility.  Is it too pale, does it need more detail or layers? I also mixed and tested a pale mint soft green shade watercolour with white gouache, this was too vibrant for a muted background colour. I blotted it with some kitchen paper and accidentally achieved a pleasing effect of decreasing circles – a sort of reduction print really.

Once the sprayed lemon yellow background layer had dried, I tested using mono prints of watercolour blended “clouds” onto it, blew onto the wet paint to achieve some beautiful muted rainbow colour blends. These are the colours I see when I close my eyes and meditate. I’m unsure about these backgrounds though and I think I need to test more ideas.

The next step to identify which pieces of leaf fractals or printed birch twigs I might want to include to create a mindful image of a map. I also think that some appropriate words are needed in order to give the sense of mindfulness of this work.  I have cut out some random words from magazines and newspaper and created random, but relevant, “poetry” with them. I’m thinking that perhaps I could collage these words on the paths that wind through the map? I want to somehow create layers, but don’t have the time to teach myself to do it in Photoshop. I also like my artwork to be analogue. (It took me a good couple of hours this afternoon to work out how to add a heading to my blog!) I just seriously don’t have the time it takes me alone to learn how to do these tasks. This is the hardest bit of lockdown and learning remotely. It is clear that I need to develop my digital Photoshop skills, but now is not the time.