Sunday, March 15, 2009

Die Braumeisters

While doing 'research' for an evening out with my friend Þórður, I came upon a photo of some Czech brewers, presumably testing the Pilsner Prazdroj, before letting it loose. I found the photo to be so appetizing I wanted to see if I could make a proper painting out of it, with some consideration to the position of light, etc. This is the result, from my weekend. Not quite Vermeer, but some effect of the position of the light sources can be seen. Of course, drawing the photo from the computer screen, some distortion has taken place, both on purpose and by accident. There are fewer people present, less space, the poor chaps look less human...

Acrylics on aquarell paper, ca. 56 x 76 cm.

(Incidentally, this Hahnemuehle watercolour-paper is not very pleasant to use with acrylics; it has too much 'bite' and a lot of time needs to be spent filling 'holes' to get a smooth surface. Perhaps I should have prepared it with some base layer before painting on it. It is probably superb for actual watercolour use.

(Note: the diagonal streaks visible in the larger version (click on the image) are caused by me trying to color balance the digital image. They are not in the original painting.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Yet more papermaking

Just to finish the issue, the smaller business-card size papers are made in much the same way as the larger ones, but with a smaller grid/mesh (see last posting). In this photo, you can see the still wet papers drying on a cotton sheet, and a stack of dry ones, which I have peeled off a separate sheet.

I have inherited a press one of my relatives made, and it just fits the purpose of keeping the little sheets nice and flat, once they are dry enough.

More papermaking

I have gradually been discovering the problems of papermaking. The most significant step forward was the purchase of some synthetic felt material, which seems to be just right for the process. Before finding those, I used various strengths of cotton sheets, but the paper tends to stick to those, and they retain the water much more.

I have two "product lines" going: on the one hand, a sheet of around A4-size, and on the other, a small card, about the size of a business card. Here are the frames I use for those. The larger is put together from a 1x1" piece of wood and a wire mesh, the other from the same wire mesh, and a wire hanger (sewn together with some dental floss).

(The bucket underneath holds some newsprint paper being soaked, before pulping.)

I scoop some paper pulp out of the bucket, with the mesh frame, trying to make it distribute evenly on the mesh before I lift it out of the water. Let it drip dry, and flop it onto a sheet of felt. I sponge off most of the water, from the back of the mesh, before lifting it off the felt. This makes it easier to lift the mesh off, without the paper pulp sticking to it. The felt sheets can be stacked, each with their sheet of paper to be, and put under pressure, to squeeze some more water out of them.

After a while, I hang the sheets on a line, to dry. I don't know how to make sure the sheets dry properly without becoming uneven and twisted. In the background, you can see my family coat of arms, complete with penguin and hamster.

If I catch the sheets to early, and put them under pressure, they won't dry properly; if I wait till they dry, it is not easy to get them flat. Here I apply the old dictionary method.

A close-up of the "Coat of Arms":