Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I tried different things today. One worked. I did transfer a design using a toner based copy onto that stamp material that is easy to cut and made my first stamp. That was my success. The other ideas I tried were from various sources with descriptions of the process to follow. I had miserable results....kind of like the recipe from a friend where they left out a key ingredient! I read about a bleaching process in a new book. I was so excited about this idea because I have always loved the look of discharged black. It doesn't go white but shades of tan and brown and other colors depending on what the black was made from. I had the entire image in my mind's eye. It was going to be fabulous. I took india ink and covered a sheet of watercolor paper that was 100% cotton rag and let it dry. I brushed full strength bleach on it.....nothing! I did it again....nothing. I used a bleach pen, still nothing. Finally I rinsed the sheet off to get rid of the bleach. I could see that the bleach did something to the paper but it didn't lighten the ink one iota. I was depressed. I guess it would work on black paper but that isn't light fast. I will have to experiment with different black substances and maybe find something that will work. Next, I was looking at Shirley Travena's books and she had these wonderful mono print images with black drawn lines showing through white paint. I have this piece of black paper, so... I brayered white gesso onto a glass plate, put the ink coated paper face down and drew with a ballpoint pen on the back of the paper as described in Shirley's book. Disaster! The paper stuck to the plate at the bottom and tore when I tried to get it off. I guess we will be doing some cropping of this image. The lines didn't have the same character as Shirley's at all. More disappointment. Turns out gesso was a poor choice.

I am going to Denver for a wedding this weekend. I am taking the computer and will try to post.


Chris Beck said...

Hi Myrna,
I think true india ink is made with carbon powder, so it probably doesn't react to bleach. I've seen this technique done with dyes meant for fabric (which gave the tan and brown colors you're talking about), but I don't recommend it after reading about possible toxicity problems, both in handling the dye powders and in combining them with bleach.

But check out Betsy Dillard Stroud's book "Painting from the Inside Out" for an intriguing technique using india ink over a tempera resist plus watercolor painting. (p.110) I could see you having fun with this!

Angela said...

Thanks for sharing so many new and different techniques with us - and especially for sharing your disasters! Sometimes I read or see things that look so fun and simple - then can't make them work out nicely for the life of me. It's nice to know it's not just me! :)

Have a great time this weekend!

Deborah Ross said...

Your stamp turned out great! I just made my first stamps the other night and posted them to my blog, but they are very amateur looking compared to yours. And your experiments were at least learning opportunities! Isn't it fun to just see what happens sometimes?

sanjeev joshi said...

i wish i was staying somewhere nearby so that could attend your workshops and learn what superb things you do !

Myrna said...

Thanks Chris. I think India Ink also has laquer in it. I am familiar with the technique by Stroud but I was hoping for the discharge look you get with dyes.

Myrna said...

Angela, this happens more than I like. Sometimes I create something different than what I thought but it looks good!

Deborah, I scanned, scaled and printed a commercial pattern using a toner copier. I applied that to the stamp and the toner transfered. Then I cut the stamp. This is shown in Anne Bagby's dvd.

Sanjeev, if you get to the states, give a call!

Joyfulartist said...

Wow, what a lot of work. Now we all know that india ink is very permanent; don't even think about getting it out of your clothing or anything else you may spill it on. I love all the experimenting that you do.
Did you use the MasterCarve blocks? I love playing with those and have done quite a few of them. I draw on them with a pencil and carve out what I want. I will post some on my blog soon.

meera said...

Thank you very much for sharing so many experiments, new and different techniques. I learn something new from every post :) - Thanks again!

Mary Paquet said...

Myrna, thanks for describing your experiments. What an adventurer you are. I love it!

The stamp turned out great. Another item to add to my list of "Try This Soon."

jane ferguson said...

Myrna,I had the same disappointment this week when I tried Black gesso on paper and then tried to use bleached stamps,no luck .I have found this only works on black paper.I got some Strathmore and it is ph neutral 76 lbs but I'm not sure about the light fastness. However the dyeing worked very well.I WAS VERY FRUSTATED I had such a great idea planned for that gessoed paper.

Myrna said...

Joyful Artist, I think there are a number of companies that make a similar stamp making block. They are like very hard tofu! Easy to carve safely. I will look for your post of your stamps.

Meera, I hope you try some of the ideas I post. Let me see the results in an e-mail!

Mary, you are the uber adventurer!

Jane, thanks for saving me the trouble of trying to bleach gesso. I think I will try black watercolor and see what happens.

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