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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Toile of Hare

It’s been a few weeks since I shared my in-process art journal spread in which I was seeking to create a toile style composition with drawings of hares. Now I’ve finished it and am ready to share the results, a few lessons I learned along the way, and where I might be headed from here.

When I first finished this piece, I absolutely hated it! After photocopying the several ink drawings of hares which I'd created, I glued them to the spread. Then I proceeded to create several ink motifs between the original ones. The pen I used was “waterproof,” but though I thought I’d given it plenty of time to dry, when I added washes of acrylic paint, the ink bled! This is most obvious in the ugly gray smears between the two hare heads along the left side. It was soooo disappointing. The photocopies – which I knew weren’t waterproof but which I’d sealed with a spray of Krylon Workable Fixatif – fared much better.

In much of art – especially with the transparent techniques I tend to use – what’s done is done, and that’s that! And that was certainly true here. I took photos to preserve the misery, then decided to put it away and look at it again the next day.

Surprisingly, the put-it-away-and-look-again-later strategy has often served me well in the past. And one of the reasons is, simply, that things look different wet than dry. There are several things to say about that, but I’ll save them for another time. Among them, though, and what was strikingly true here, was the change in color.

Here's what it looked like wet.

And here's the same part dry. Quite a difference, right?

Here are a few other detailed views of the dried piece. My initial intent was to wash a pale blue over the background but leave the backgrounds within any bounded areas white. That didn't work out very well as I wasn't able to get good control applying the wash.

All in all, I'm pleased. The piece has taken on an antique look which I like. Strangely enough, that look is due to a few things which I initially didn't like at all. One was the smeared ink, as I've already said. The other is the difference in paper color between the whiter paper of the photocopies which I glued on and the more ivory color of the paper in my art journal.

I'm ready to invest more time and effort into developing this technique and I've started another spread in the art journal which will appear in this blog soon.

But what I'm really excited about is exploring this technique as a possibility for the illustrations in my next book. It's Scarlet's Journey - The Launch. The characters are three rats, plus there are cameo appearances of a nightjar, ringtail, frogs, and a few other creatures. I'll do a trial using this technique and also another of simply straight-forward painting. I suppose I should also do a sample of the technique I've been using for the Milkweed Manor series and then see which works best.

Meanwhile, I'll spend some time enjoying my little hares! I hope enjoy them also.

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