What’s going on with me lately (ooh ooh ooh yeah)

As I look back over my past 5 or so entries, I find that the relative rarity of my posting as of late has led to some rather large gaps in my records.

The good thing?  I’m relatively on track with my studies.  The negative thing?  I still have those two 2-point assignments hanging over my head, even though they’re about two weeks late, by now.  I suppose that I can take some time within the next week to clear this up.

I did also try …looking into the Disability Resource Center for my University.  However, I have found no material indicating that they offer resources for off-campus students.  From past experience, I know this isn’t true — the last time I registered with them (years ago), I did receive an OK for additional work time.  Right now, I’m wondering if it’s worth it, though — especially as I have to re-register every **** semester.

(yes, I bleeped myself)

Anyhow…

In other realms, I was able to begin coloring my mandala with gouache last night (I can’t be expected to be working at all times), but have realized that perhaps I chose the wrong media for this, or at least should have laid down an underpainting in transparent watercolor, if not overpainting with it as well.

There was no paint laid down on the paper before the gouache.  Because of the relatively dry/thick character of the gouache, and the fact that I am using cold-press (rough) watercolor paper and not Bristol board, I now have gaps of white paper showing through between different areas of color.  There is one solution for this that I know of:  more paint.  It would work if I were using acrylics.  Problem is, I’m not.

The difficulty is that gouache has a tendency to lift from the paper if too much water is applied on top of previous dried layers (or at least, this was the case when I was painting on Bristol).  This creates patches of color which…are basically blistered; when the blister lifts, it is obvious — gouache, in my experience, isn’t quite so opaque as to disguise this.  (This is not an issue with acrylics — I am thinking of Holbein Acryla gouache, right now, but am not sure what the selling point would be of a hybrid between gouache and acrylic paint.)

Right now I’m wondering whether I want to try and salvage this, or start working on something more abstract and less precise.  I’m thinking of working with transparent watercolor first, maybe some loose wet-into-wet stuff, and some layering; then gouache as a highlight medium on top.

The benefit to using the gouache, though, I’ve seen, is that it generates very clear, strong, and pure mixes of color when one is using pigments which are high enough quality and in high enough concentration (and whose overtones are somewhat harmonious).  The difficulty lies in what to do with sometimes-obvious brushstrokes (I can play this up by not overmixing my colors), how to work with a media which gives very flat and consistent color, and how to avoid overworking an area to the point of the paint lifting off of the support.

What I’ve got now with my mandala is not past any point of no return (in fact it reminds me of how I almost gave up on one of my tomatillo drawings, which later turned out very nice); maybe I should keep working on it, just in an experimental manner, to see how far I can push the medium.  When I started making free marks on top of my …rather mathematical underdrawing, I could see the potential there for something which I hadn’t intended, but which might turn out to be worth the effort.

I also did experiment with gesso on top of a different sheet of this paper (the flawed one which I cut off the block before starting my mandala).  The gesso wasn’t worth it, in this case.  The major purpose of the gesso would have been to preserve an underdrawing; however, in practicality, it would have been a lot of work and would have smudged the graphite, anyway.  In addition, it provided a resist to the gouache, which meant that if I only sealed the lines and not anything else, it would show in the final painting!  (The solution to this would have been to seal twice; once over the lines, then another time over everything else; but I realized it would be too much work.)

I tried three variants of sealer:  Liquitex Basics white gesso, Liquitex Clear Acrylic gesso, and Liquitex Professional Matte (Glazing) Medium.  Of these three compounds, the Clear Acrylic gesso gave the least resistance when wet gouache was applied on top of a dry layer…so it would seem, anyway.  I can’t be certain of the exact viscosity of my mixture among all three trials…

Both the white gesso and the matte medium had a tendency to repel the paint, as is obvious from my test swatches; whereas the gouache soaked right in in the areas surrounding the treated areas.  The clear gesso, on the other hand, showed less of this tendency, but it also gave a texture that resulted in gas bubbles beneath my paintbrush, and thus a somewhat textured, or, “speckled,” tone, to the overlying gouache (I believe this was a blend of Holbein and Winsor & Newton paint).

What I ended up doing (to get back to the main narrative) was just erasing most of what I could, leaving a faint map of a drawing, then painting on top of this.  I did this because I didn’t want to get trapped in making outlines in fineliner and then painting on top of that style of ink mark — particularly because when coloring over lines is inevitable, do I want the viewer’s attention to be drawn to the lines?  And lines which show through in some places and are covered up, in others?

I can see it’s a relatively popular way to work, at least with ink and wash…but I struggle with being too tight in my drawings, anyway.  I don’t want to deliberately reinforce it.

And in other other news…my hair is getting on my nerves.  The rainy season has started, though, and one of the only good points to having hair as thick as I do is that it’s a fairly good insulator against the cold, and rain.  Seriously, though:  it’s, like, huge.  The benefit is that I can pull it back (I look kind of hot like this), and I don’t have to get it cut every few months.  The irritating point is that I can go to bed with it damp, and it is still damp in the morning, because it’s so thick that the air can’t penetrate.

I just realized that I have no idea how long it is, now, at all.  (The curls kind of disguise that aspect.)  Maybe a little past shoulder-length?  I’ve avoided cutting it because I don’t appreciate whiny comments from people I don’t care about, about “why don’t I have long hair,” like they should have an opinion and it should matter and I should care and I’m going to try and avoid mocking them, here.  It’s a sensitive topic — I’ve been singled out over my hair for my entire life — and it’s really angering.  But if it gets to the point of my ripping it out while combing it because I hate having to take care of it, again, and it’s gotten to the point of snarling, and making me want to scream and stab the mirror because ****it I’m not a ****ing doll, yes I’m getting it cut, because at that point I’m taking care of myself by cutting it off, as versus blending in to avoid sexual harassment.

I also want to get another (ear) piercing…which influences what I do with my hair (I’ll have to keep it very clean for at least 4-6 months, to avoid infection).  Because it’s cold, this makes an infection less likely to happen.

I just haven’t decided on which side to pierce– though I’m told getting a piercing on the right side only indicated one was gay if one was male and in the 1980’s.  😉  It’s still standard to get single piercings only on the left side, though, at least in the U.S.  This would be my third piercing…any more above that, and (legal) discrimination starts to kick in.  Though, technically, discrimination is fairly standard here anyway; I’d deal with it from being female, a racial/ethnic minority, not-straight, gender-variant, etc., but those are the big four, for me.

Which is, by the way, why I’m looking into the career path I am.

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paintedstone

Haru ("Codey") is a second-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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