Journaling with Masking Materials

Tonight’s studio time concentrated on using masking materials–masking fluid and a stencil powder. The experiment is linked to the one I did with resists, but it’s different in that the resists were pens and now I’m using masking fluid and a brush.

The original idea was to catch up with Michelle Ward’s Street Team Crusade #44–scraping on paint with a credit card. As I started to turn to a fresh page in my journal, I realized I had tried out some oil pastels on a page. Well, that was a start, just use that as an under layer and keep going.

Before I started painting, I used a brush to apply circles of masking fluid over the paints and let it dry completely.  I got this idea from T. J. over as Studio Mailbox, who was making sewn postcards for the Sakura children. You’ll see more from her later in this blog.

I applied a thin layer of Golden’s Titan Buff acrylic paint to the entire page, covering the oil pastels and the circles of masking fluid. Next came another layer of turquoise paint on the left side of the page.

When it was dry, I rubbed off the masking fluid, to reveal the original oil pastels marks. I added a thick dot of acrylic in the center of each page. This page makes a good background for more work, or as a postcard. I’m loving the layering you can get with masking fluid.

I had to try something else. A few weeks ago, T. J. from Studio Mailbox, currently decamped in Germany,  made me a wonderful stencil that said Make Meaning in Fraktur, the old German writing, mixed with block letters. T. J. heard me say “You don’t find meaning in life, you make meaning from life,” often enough to put the words on a stencil for me. I wanted to use the stencil with Pan Pastels and see if the pastels would act as a resist to inks.

I laid the stencil on a piece of watercolor paper, and using a stencil brush and my shades of gray pan pastels, pounced the brush on the stencil until I had gray printing on the page. I then mixed some re-inkers with water and spritzed the page with three colors–red, stream (a turquoise) and denim.

After the ink dried, I used an eraser to pull away some of the pastels. To my surprise, the ink had soaked through. You can see the ink background underneath the ghosty letter M. This effect still needs some work, but I can see having a good deal of use for this technique as a background. Maybe shading the letters with some darker gray pan pastels would be interesting. Or brushing a light coat of acrylic over the entire page to push back the color. I’ll keep you posted.

-Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art. The book helps art journalers who don’t know how to draw make meaningful illustrations for their journals. It will be published in July, 2011 by North Light.

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