Layering is difficult

On the amazing course I’m attending, we are doing layering now.  Layering prints on top of other prints, or collaging or adding tissue or stencilling colour on top.

Well it’s all supposed to be about having fun….and it is mostly.  I love experimenting with different tools, varying marks, varying direction and pencil pressure, using coloured and patterned paper and using a range of colouring tools. BUT when I begin to layer things I start to worry. What if I don’t like this new layer on a page I really loved? I’ll spoil the one I loved and have less than nothing. Why don’t I just trust my instincts or trust that I can recreate the first layer again?  Why do I worry? It’s all experimenting isn’t it !!

There are solutions. One is to photocopy the first (loved) layer and experiment on that.  It’s also good to build up a store of pages of interesting marks so that there are plenty to make a mess of without altering that special one.  Another is to use tracing paper for the second layer and place it on top to see if it works.    Works?     What do I mean by works?

Well I think it’s about balance, space, the relationship of differing tones and the quality of varying marks.  Much of my early work was all the same tone, so I decided to add colour using stencils to pick out particular bits. Although that was still not perhaps enough of a contrast, I could see how I could use colour to introduce contrast into an image.

Next I will be collaging onto early monoprints and part printing with a stronger relief image.