Plaited Portrait

Playing around in my studio a while ago, I created a self portrait by combining images and collaging the print with a (another type of print) gelatin monoprint on a piece of organdy cloth, a piece of polyester film (trash) and acrylic paint.  The result  has an encaustic quality due to the depth carvings on the board and the way I combined the real bits.

In Photoshop I began with a photo of my braid and  a scan of a “distressed print” (*explanation below)  After getting the digital image to a point where I was ready to crop it and size it,  I found something to transfer the print too. (it wasn’t going to be a print on paper).  I  found a 14″ square decorative board (picked up in a tag sale) and previously painted with metallic paints.  With my iphone I took a snap shot of the board brought the board image into my Photoshop file as a new layer.  I adjusted the layers of my image to work with the board.  I linked all the layers of the figure and scaled those against the linked layers of the “distressed print” and the board.  I’m very glad I took the time to do this because I did shift things a bit to take best advantage of the carvings into the board.

Once all the layers of the digital collage were arranged the image was cropped and saved. Next I turned off the board image layer,  flattened the file, and flipped the whole file horizontally and “Saved  As” my print file.  I printed it onto a clear polyester transfer film.  Once the print was out of the printer it was time to test the placement for the pigment transfer. Pigment transfer prints work best to even smooth surfaces and  this board has a 1/2″ deep recess in it’s midst.  I  knew transferring the pigments off the film would be all but impossible unless I either cut the print into pieces and transfer the pieces individually or I leveled the surface of the board.  I chose the later, leveling the surface by gluing a the fabric print to a (6 mil) sheet of clear polyester film and glueing it over the recessed area of the board.  That important layer made a nearly flat surface out of the whole board, so now I was ready to transfer the pigment print to the whole surface.  (sorry no photo of that I was on a role)

Decorative Board

*The “distressed print” was created by dissolving the ink on a magazine page and brushing it around a bit.  In this case it was a National Geographic magazine that was spritzed with concentrated Citra Solv cleaner.  The technique is relatively simple, go outdoors, open the magazine, select a few pages with photos and text, spritz them liberally with Citra Solv concentrated cleaner and close up the magazine.  Leave it for a while….or a day.  Open the magazine and swish around the inks with a brush.  Let it dry.  Save it for future projects.

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