Thursday, November 13, 2008

Transfer Experiments

Good news - my laryngitis is abating and I am no longer squeaking when I talk. Now I sound like a gangsta. AND more importantly, I've felt like art again today - yippee!
So, on to my transfer experiments. All of the following examples began with small (2x3) photos printed on my Canon Pixma MP830 Ink-Jet printer and all are acrylic medium transfers.
Summary - There are numerous methods for transferring images to art paper to make them part of a mixed media work. I can use images printed on my MP830, either on transparency or paper, to transfer images to printmaking paper. The critical factors are moisture content and contact time. I found gel medium and water mixed to be superior to straight gel. It was helpful to spritz the printmaking paper lightly before transferring so that it doesn't rip when lifted.
If you'd like to see image transfer methods in action, go to and search on "image transfer" pretty cool stuff there!
I'll begin with the most successful and then show the disasters and what I think went wrong.
A. Materials - Rives printmaking paper, Golden Gel Medium (gloss), water, paintbrush, photo printed on transparency.
I began by brushing a mixture of medium and water onto the printmaking paper in the shape of the photo. I quickly laid the transparency photo onto that wet area, burnished it with my finger for a few (3-5) seconds and then lifted off the transparency slowly from the corner. There are a few small spots that didn't transfer on both images and the faces could be clearer but the images are recognizable for sure.

B. This second set were done using the very same method as the first but pressing a newly printed plain paper photo into the medium, burnishing with thumb (3-5 secs) and lifting. They don't have the darker values the first method gives but they have a nice soft sepia tone to them that I like. I'll need to practice more with this method to make sure I get the right level of moisture and the contact time down pat.

These are some of the transfers that didn't turn out:
C. I used Rheotech matte medium brushed directly onto the printmaking paper, applied the transparency, burnished lightly and lifted. The problem on the left was uneven application of the medium. When I lifted the transparency the centre was blurred and gooey but the top left corner was stuck to the paper and it ripped. What a mess that would be on a project!
On the right hand side you can see what happens if you don't get the transparency lifted off in time - it adhered to that paper and would have ripped the whole area off if I had kept lifting it. Again, a mess.

D. Below left the image is visible but it's mostly blurry. I used the same materials as in A. but I dampened the outside edges of the transfer area with water. Then I brushed the area with gel/water mix, applied and burnished the transparency and lifted. The problem was too much... water and medium - it transferred the image but when I lifted the transparency the goo moved around and it made "meringue" peaks in the medium. If the right parts were crisp and the outside blurry it would look pretty cool in the right piece.
The image on the right was almost okay - just a bit too little of everything here... yep, it's picky! Reminds me of water control in painting... CRITICAL

E. The images below were done with close to the right mix of medium and water - just a bit too dry on the edges so the paper ripped.

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