Monday, June 18, 2007

Shaving creme background technique

Just fooliing around a bit today and thought I'd refresh my memory of using the shaving creme. Here are a couple pics. First is over a page from a 1982 magazine. Second is on the back of a board book that I had painted with gesso. Third is a library pocket. I had never used this technique over a painted surface before. Now, I'm thinking maybe it would work on dominos, beads, etc. Hmmmmm....... may have to give it a try soon.

The technique is simply to use foamy shaving creme in a container - an old cookie sheet, a pie tin, a butcher's styrofoam tray, anything that will hold it. ( use the unscented shaving creme if you can find it - otherwise the scent stays with the ink - forever) Use only about 1/2 inch depth of foam. Rough up the surface a bit, like icing a cake. Drop inks from reinking supply into foam. Drag a comb, skewer, or toothpicks through ink in the foam to create a pattern. No need to be precise. You will not know what will happen until it is done. It's one big happy surprise! Amazing! Put on some vinyl or rubber gloves if the inks are permanent. Wear an apron or old shirt, and have paper towels close at hand. Now, just take your paper, or whatever it is you want to marbelize and lay it onto the surface. You can press it down a little to get good coverage. Now, lift it up and turn it over. Now, you think what you see is what you are going to get? HA! Not yet.

Use a putty knife, (dedicated-to- art-spatula, or something like a credit card to scrape the foam and ink off the paper. Now, what do you see? There it is. The first ones you pull will have bright colors. The more times you use the same foam, the lighter they get. And eventually, with more stirring and pulling, they get very soft and subtle, and even muddy - depending on what colors you use. The stuff you scrape off can be scraped over another piece, or it can go back into the side of the pan and be remixed in later. When it gets beyond the point that you like it, wash it down the sink, and start over. It's loads of fun and utterly unpredictable. It is really fun to try to control it, and then see which is best, what you tried to do - or what it did serendipitously.

I can see using it on blocks of pages in an altered book. But it would have to be applied in a different way. I'm planning on experimenting with this idea, and will let you know how it works.

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