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Mystique Series #14 : to sparkle, or not to sparkle?

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:26 AM, June 15, 2011 [Permalink]

It's been kind of a crazy week, what with all the attention being paid to the new Webcam, and it's time to get caught up with reporting the progress of the current print - #14 in the 'Mystique of the Japanese Print' series.

All the way along during the printing of this one, there has been plenty of feedback and suggestions offered by those watching and listening, and when I got to the final couple of stages the other day, and announced that I would be applying a mica coat to the background pattern block, there was some disappointment from the viewers that I would be doing that impression during the afternoon (Tokyo time), so it would thus be happening while most of my audience was asleep (too late for the US people, too early for the Europeans).

I am recording many (not all) of the Webcam sessions, but it's certainly more fun for the viewers when they know it's happening live as they watch. (Not to mention that we can talk while I work ...) It couldn't be helped though; I had to get on with the work, and couldn't simply postpone the job until the next day. So I quickly got the materials and tools ready, and applied a quick coat of mica to a couple of sample sheets, so that people could at least see how it was going to be done.

I then signed off for lunch, and the viewers disappeared, expecting to drop back again the next day to see the finished batch of prints, all 'dressed up' in a coat of mica powder.

Well, it didn't happen that way ...

Here's a snapshot of one of the test sheets that I did quickly while they watched. It has mica applied on the pattern in the background behind the main image elements. It's not so visible when seen straight on, like this:

... but if I tilt the paper at an angle ...

During lunch that day, I sat and looked that this, and wondered if I would really be doing the 'right thing' by printing it this way. Looking at the print as a whole, it seemed just too much ... too 'noisy'. It took all the attention away from the 'main' image:

When it came time later that afternoon to move forward, I thus put away the mica powder, and decided to do it differently. I first printed a flat base tone, and once that was in place, I used the swirly pattern block in a second impression of the same tone. It came out like this:

Far less dramatic, to be sure. When you see it close up, it has nowhere near the 'impact' that the mica version had:

But seen as a 'whole', and especially under a nice soft raking light, she looks just fine. More than fine, she looks beautiful! (click for an enlargement)

Who needs jewelry, anyway?


Following comment posted by: Marc Kahn on June 16, 2011 2:14 AM

I have to agree. Sometimes less is more.

However, I would like to see some "bling" on a future print in the Mystique series. Seems important to include that.

Following comment posted by: Sharri on June 16, 2011 3:02 AM

I have to agree, too, and I am the girl who loves bling. Maybe later? Are those little radio-active signs I see floating about? I have included them in my Inspired By Japan print, only mine are flowers. I could not find gold ink that I liked so I am doing it all by hand.

Following comment posted by: John Becker on June 16, 2011 8:13 AM

Good call, Dave. The mica wasn't right for the print. What idiot came up with that idea, anyway?

Following comment posted by: Dave on June 16, 2011 9:35 AM

would like to see some bling ...

Yes, using metallic pigments was one of the 'not to be missed' techniques on my original list. Given that both #17 and #18 are 'decided', with neither of them being very blingy, I'm going to have to give this some serious attention in a week or so when I an working on the designs for the #15~#16 pair ...

radioactive ...

No no ... these are Meiji-era pattern elements; those are little sea-shells. You'll never (as in never) see anything even remotely approaching social commentary in any of my prints ... as the story to accompany this one will tell ...

What idiot ...

Me, I thought! But if you're confessing too, the line starts on the right! If I'm going to be 'open' to suggestions that people make, then perhaps I'll have to start letting other people sign these things!

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