Encaustics and Fiber Based Photo Paper

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Tomf2468, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    Has anyone here worked with this combo? I'm trying to use standard VC fiber based B&W papers (alright not too alt) in Encaustic collage (did I reach alt enough??). My problem is the clay/coating on the papers keeps the wax from sticking well. I can put down a layer of wax, but if I want the wax to do its usual trick of melting/collaging with other items, the bond is very weak, the photo paper curles and everything falls apart. Not good!

    All the suggestions I've found on the web suggest using inkjet prints on plain and porous paper. I really wanted to stay away from the computer generated stuff on this project.

    So, anyone have experience with this. Or, does anyone know of a real "paper" B&W paper that doesn't have much/any clay or sealing/coat.

    I am aware I could go to Kalli or platinum or liquid light on plain paper. I really wanted a more standard B&W paper look for this work.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2009
  2. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Anyway you could start with a surface that a print could be glued to? Like wood or maybe even gessoed canvas? Masonite? Perhaps the wax would take better to a mat surface.
     
  3. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    Most encaustic is done on a hard board. When dried (hardened) encaustics are somewhat "brittle" and due to physical movement might crack on a simple paper or canvas or matboard backing.

    I'm experimenting with masonite, using either a gesso layer or a matboard glued ontop to give it some "absorption". Encasutic doesn't adhere well to acrylic gesso (what modern painters use), you have to use oldfashioned rabbit skin gesso. Nasty smelly slow awful stuff. I hope that matboard continued to be the right answer!!

    So, yes, I could glue the photo down to the prepared board first. However, the fun thing about collage is that not everything is at the same height. Gluing the photo to the board forces the photo to always be the lowest level. What I really "want" is a VC paper that will accept (absorb?) wax, so that I can place the image anywhere and anytime into the collage

    Hopefully everyone isn't singing that old Rolling Stones song.... "You don't always get what you want.... You don't always get what you want....." Sorry, that is all I can remember of the song (being more of a jazz and classical fan myself)

    Tom
     
  4. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    Welllllll, I don't think this is what dpurdy intended, but his post got me thinking.......... 90% of my problem is with the back of the photo paper not taking wax well enough to collage/glue to other wax layers. I wonder if I first heatpress mounted or glued the photograph to a plain absorbent piece of paper and then collaged that? Something like BFK, medium weight and really absorbant. I suspect the plain paper backing would solve my problem by absorbing wax and melding better than the coated/clay photo paper.

    Something to experiment with! I'd still love to hear other opinions and experiences.

    Tom
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If I understand what you are doing, another approach could be to use a hand painted emulsion on a watercolor or drawing paper, either a silver emulsion like liquid light, or some other alt process. Because you can pick and choose where the emulsion goes on the paper, you even have flexibility in what part of the paper will print, brushed marked edges and all that.
     
  6. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts J. I have lots of experience with alt printing and a small amount of experience with Liquid Light. My "vision" for these images (still unfulfilled) is more "modern B&W paper". Perhaps with all of the paint/encaustic and collage involved, having the main images look too hand/alt printed is just too too too much? Heck, I grew up photographically considering Brett Weston as a near God. What am I doing with paint, wax and mixed media???

    Mostly having fun, actually :smile:

    I've also dropped this question onto an encaustic painter's board. They are a lot smaller/slower over there. As small a community as "analog" photographers may feel, I think the community of encasutics users is even smaller!

    Tom
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Modern B&W FB glossy paper has a baryta coating, and that seems to be the problem, presuming of course that the gelatin isn't also causing a problem with the wax, but I'd think it would be okay, since gelatin can tolerate high drymount temperatures.

    I think your best bet is to coat an emulsion on something like a watercolor paper, as Jason suggests, and maybe something that isn't a gelatin emulsion, so not liquid light, but maybe platinum/palladium, vandyke, salt print, cyanotype, or something along those lines. Albumen holds up to steam, so I think it should hold up to hot wax.
     
  8. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    Well, I only got one reply on the encaustics discussion board, but that makes it 3 for three (with David and Jason) suggesting a hand coated print on art paper. I should have time latter this week to do more exploring (Tues and Wed are going to be commercial shooting). I will try both ways (modern B&W paper with an artpaper backing glued on and a hand coated print) and see what works.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  9. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    How about drymounting the prints to ordinary paper?
     
  10. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    I did find time to work on this further. Actually, all three methods worked quite well. "Glueing" (Yes brand glue) a plain paper the silver gelatin (fiber based) print works nicely. Heat pressing (I always considered that a form of glueing) the Silver Gelatin print to plain paper also works great. Perhaps better than Yes glue! I had expected dry mount problems, because you use so much heat in encaustics, but the dry mounted print is actually flatter after lots of heating cycles than the Yes glue print (both are quite good). Lastly, a Liquid Light print works great.

    Both the Yes glue and dry mount prints were Foma fiber based paper mounted to BFK paper. The Liquid Light paper was a watercolor paper.

    So, I've got lots of options, now all I need to do is make something worth showing!!!!!

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2009
  11. cdhauber

    cdhauber Member

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    At one point I was messing around with mixed media and silver gelatin fiber based photos. I too noticed a problem with getting the photo to stick down once i started adding the other mediums. One option that worked for me was to take the back layer of the photograph off. By rewetting the photo and carefully pulling off a layer of the paper worked....but it was time consuming.

    You could also try printing on a single weight paper.
     
  12. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I would suggest trying Foma natural-base paper. The surface is not at all glossy, and has a pretty heavy matte surface. Given the feel of the surface, I have to believe that it is very porous.
     
  13. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    It is nice to see this thread still active! Christine, my only experience in "pealing" a fiber based paper was such a disaster I didn't think to try it again. I will try again (and hopefully learn how to keep the image in one rather than 4 pieces). Dan, unfortunately one of the papers I was having trouble with was Foma FB Natural.

    The technique of drymounting the print to a sheet of absorbent art paper (BFK) before adding it to the collage is working great. That really has solved my "the back of the print won't stick to wax" problem. In addition, encaustics can get rather thick (dimensional), so having the paper backing actually helps "raise" the photo closer to the surface in many situations.

    I've found I can get very good adhesion on the front of the photo by starting with a bit of air gun heating and lighter first coats and then good air gun "fusing" between coats. The front is much easier (more receptive to the wax) than the back.

    Now, my biggest problem is that I'm not that good a painter and encaustics are a difficult medium....... I hate it when the technical problems are solved and there is nothing left to blame but...... ME!

    Tom