L’Électrisation du Nuage
L’Électrisation du Nuage is a one-of-a-kind woodburned silk screen and relief print with collage and painting on silver-gilded mulberry paper on panel.
L’Électrisation du Nuage is built of strata of different media:
The print I used to create the background in this piece came from my Reverb Series.
Like the other prints in the series, I first gilded a sheet of mulberry paper with silver leaf.
I then printed a relief print on the silver paper with clear ink and then hung it in a gallery installation to let it react to the air.
Within a short time, the unsealed silver tarnished and turned the brassy gold you see in the image to the left. Before the print could turn black, I sealed the entire print to stop the tarnishing process.
More information on gilding
More information on relief printing
The second layer is a swirl of lichens and drips in a variety of reds, with a little white and turquoise
Images are made by blocking out parts of the mesh. We call this a stencil. For this print, I used photographic stencils, which you can see on the image to the left.
To make a photographic stencil:
- I coat a screen with a photosensitive emulsion and let it dry in the dark.
- I then place a transparency—an opaque image on a transparent background like the one on the left—on the screen and expose the two to light.
- Next, I wash out the screen with water. Any part of the screen that was covered by the opaque image washes away, leaving a thin stencil that is the inverse of the image. So, the transparent background in the transparency is now a green coating on the screen and the black image is now open–or uncovered–mesh.
- When I squeegee ink through the screen, it can only pass through the washed-out image area, creating a print that looks just like the image.
More information on silk screen printing
The images are a mix of photographs of lichens that I’ve taken on my hikes in the Rocky Mountains and drawings I’ve made, usually during musical performances.
The tip of the tool is interchangeable and comes in a variety of shapes, which make a range of different marks.
More information on woodburning
I also added metallic paints to my colors to mesh better with the silver background and to extend the shimmer created by the different metals.
The Parlour Games Series is about testing the limits of what is acceptable in art we bring into our homes with color, with the degree of chaos in design, and with the subject matter–lichens.
L’Électrisation du Nuage means electrification of clouds in French and refers to the collision of water droplets and ice crystals in the formation of cumulonimbus (thunderstorm) clouds.
The arrangement of the lichens in this piece makes me think of growing towers of storm clouds. The crackling energy I feel just before the storm is represented in the shimmer of its metallic hues.
I associate L’Électrisation du Nuage with violent summer storms, the type that grow slowly, letting you know that there will be a break in the heat and humidity by the afternoon.
That charged atmosphere, that potential for violence is something I want to bring into our home nests. It’s too easy to isolate ourselves from Nature’s might, and to forget that she will always balance our careless actions, sometimes through brutal means.