Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jonsi Project Production Diary, part 1

I have begun a project which is extremely personal and dear to my heart (and other bits, possibly) that I am currently calling The Jónsi Project. It's going to be a series of 9 paintings, based on the music from the album Go, the new solo album by Jónsi Birgisson, lead singer of Sígur Rós.

I'm fully documenting the process as a journaling experiment, for various reasons. Here's the first painting, which I was working on today.

It only occurs to me now that I should have taken a photo for every step of the process. But I was so hung up on not having a computer with which to scan my work, that it never occurred to me. Hopefully this hindsight helps me become more solution-oriented!

Fortunately now I've borrowed a computer, so I have some visual aids for my notes. This is going to be long and image-heavy, so I've put it behind a cut. Read on if you're curious about the process.

I started with a pencil drawing, then threw a thin wash of coffee over the whole thing to give it a little character and tone down the glaring white (I usually use tea for a stronger colour, but weak brewed coffee gives a subtler effect). After it dried I then painted washes of pale watercolour between the trees (Prang, for my sins!), and then re-wet the coloured washes and applied a lot of Quink ink. A LOT of it. I love Quink's rich colour and the fact that it changes depending on how much water you add to it. I got some lovely variations of blue and grey, and I love that rusty edge it gets when dropped wet-on-wet.

But the best thing about Quink is the magical effect you get when you spray it with bleach. (See this post for another example.)

After the paper dried I treated tracing paper with spray mount and laid it on top. I cut out a stencil with a scalpel to protect the coffee-treated negative space.

I laid newspaper on my floor, changed into bleach-safe clothes* and happily sprayed away. I reviewed it and moved some sheets around to get a few areas I had missed. Then I washed everything that could be washed and set out the rest to dry. I'm really pleased with the effect; it looks as starry and cold and fairytale-like as I could have wished.

Painting comes next! Watch this space.

*this is very important; you'd be surprised how insidious the stuff is!

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