Orange Oval, Lime Green Circle; ink on Akatosashi paper; each: image size 9 x 8 in., paper size 15 1/2 x 14 in.; ed 4.
I spent a day printing last week, making two cardboard prints and nine potato prints. I think of the two cardboard prints as a pair (although not a diptych), since they share similar ideas: one simple form on rectangles of lines; bright colors on dark paper. My initial idea was to have the color lighter than the paper, which didn't exactly work out with the orange, just the lime green, but that's okay.
I'd been doing prints with more complex compositions and had a desire to make smaller and simpler images this time. I used a handmade Japanese paper that I love, Akatosashi, for its surface and dark color. It is impossible to convey the texture and look of Japanese papers in photographs; it does help to click the images to enlarge them.
Lime Green Circle
The color of Lime Green Circle comes closer to my initial idea of a color brighter than the paper, but it may be that it sinks too much into the paper, making the image hard to see from a distance; up close it is very vivid.
Untitled 71; pasted painted paper and ink on Masa dosa paper, 7 x 10 1/2 in.
I've become quite enamored of the process of collaging painted or unpainted thin Japanese papers and then doing potato prints on top of them. I was inspired by the exhibition of Matisse cut-outs at MoMA. The day before I'm going to print, I tear some paper into shapes, paint some of it with egg tempera, and glue it on sheets of paper. This time I mostly used heavier weight paper––Masa dosa and Nishinouchi––for the ground so that it wouldn't pucker that much.
Untitled 72; pasted paper and ink on Masa dosa paper, 23 x 17 in.
Untitled 71 and 72 both have a simple painted rectangle glued on the surface, but the scale is entirely different, with one taking up much of the picture plane and the other settling on the bottom.
Untitled 72 detail
The detail might give some idea of the different textures of painted paper and inked circles.
Untitled 73; pasted paper and ink on Akatosashi paper, 3 panels each 19 1/2 x 7 in.
This piece began with two semicircles and one circle pasted on paper; I then added the printed squares. After I had stamped the square alongside the circle at the right, I wished I could have taken it back and left the circle on its own, but I still like the print. All these potato/collage hybrids are improvisational and I never quite know what I'll do or how they'll turn out.
Untitled 74; pasted paper and ink on Nishinouchi paper, 20 x 12 1/2 in.
In Untitled 74 I pasted unpainted paper––Gifu green tea medium, which has a green tint––a circle on top of a square, then added lines with potato print.
Untitled 75; pasted paper and ink on Masa dosa paper, 15 x 12 in.
Two pasted shapes at bottom anchor the composition, as the printed blue circle floats above.
Untitled 76; pasted paper and ink on Nishinouchi paper, two panels each 15 x 8 in.
A diptych of colored rectangles.
Untitled 77; pasted paper and ink on Gifu green tea medium paper, 6 3/4 x 11 1/2 in.
For this print I pasted a rectangle of white paper on the green and balanced it with a line of stamped squares.
Untitled 78; ink on Nishinouchi paper, 9 x 7 1/4 in.
I thought I should do a couple of pure potato prints, so did this, with a circle and three squares....
Untitled 79; ink on Masa dosa paper, 11 x 8 in.
....and here, crossing thick lines. I have to admit that although I've done many potato prints that I like a lot, right now my heart is with the addition of collaged paper.