For my midterm project I am working with images of barbed wire and net fencing.I have taken the materials research that I did for Playground and extended it beyond gesso, spray paint, and powdered charcoal. I have been experimenting with powdered graphite. Applying it with acetone and a kabuki brush has given some unusual brush marks. I have taken some spray stencils with barbed wire onto watercolor paper that had been brushed on one half with acrylic matte medium. The paper may be too absorbent or the matte medium too wet causing the image to be too soft. Also, the medium changes the color of the paint initially, making it brighter. This is not what I am after so I may have to go back to gesso to hold down the powdered pigment. I want to keep the watercolor paper because it is thicker than drawing paper.

To prepare the paper I stuck wide painters’ removable tape  in a two inch border around three sides of each large sheet of paper. I had my assistant hold a piece up behind a barbed wire fence while I sprayed it with green outdoor paint to get a stencil image of the wire.  We did this three times to get three rows of the barbed wire, leaving the top of the paper only partially  covered in paint and somewhat open. We did this on both sides so that we could choose the best image for the project.  To further darken the bottom of the paper I painted powdered graphite up to and around the wire using acetone as a medium.
wire 1

graphite fence

Green section of Fence painted with powdered graphite and acetone

fence demo

Small demo of Fence

Fence put together w tape

Two parts of Fence before removing painter’s tape

I tried several ways to get the powdered graphite to adhere to the blue part of the drawing.  I used acrylic matte medium on one test side and for the other just let the Ford blue engine paint hold the graphite as I sifted it onto the paper from a flour sifter. The sifting process allowed too much of the graphite onto the paper, changing the image from a soft suggestion of grey mist to moldy looking patches in the blue paint.  I removed some of the graphite with a hair dryer and some with sand paper. I wanted the green part of the drawing to be fierce and the blue part a contrasting calm.  I also wanted the stencil image of the netting to float upon the page.

I attached the two images together using linen tape allowing the top sheet to slightly overlap the blue netting image.

Fence hanging

Two images bound together with linen tape.

During critique it was recommended that I alter Fence in several ways: Iron the ripples out of the paper so it hangs more gracefully, remove all but two small tabs of linen tape to prevent further buckling, lightly come back over the squares in the blue section with graphite to make them more distinct and allow the netting to be more visible. Fence was favorably likened to a color field painting or a landscape.