2013 Best In Show – Part 2

Now comes the waiting…….

So let me pass a little waiting time and catch you up on the process of the last few days. After the steps from 2013 Best In Show – Part 1, it was off to Kinko’s. Pretty typical Kinko’s experience, all they had was heavy paper, although I had wished for something a bit less substantial. In this process we will be removing the paper so, the heavier the paper, the more work ahead of me. I recommend (code see reference later) you use the cheapest thinnest paper you can find.

BIS-1Once I got home with the beautifully printed Pearl from Kinko’s. I centered the print face down on the canvas and made marks on the back side for guides. Just little pencil marks to keep you on center as you place the glued surfaces together. There will be some wiggle room so precision is not essential. Remember there will be about 1 1/2 inches overhang to wrap the sides.

BIS-6Next comes the glue down. Set the print aside for a moment and give the canvas a good covering of the gel medium you are using. I used Golden’s Gel Medium- Regular Gel (Matte) for a thick coat. I have used Modge Podge and other similar products with about the same results. Golden’s was a little pricier and I think held a bit more of the ink in the print. It is a matter of preference. Apply the gel with a sponge brush. Just seems the easiest to me, easy application, easy clean up. Plus when the sponge brushes get cruddy they are so cheap that their is little guilt in throwing it away. Get the canvas good and covered, no gaps. Now repeat to the inked side of the print. Don’t worry about the outside 1 1/2 inch wrap part just yet.

BIS-4Lay the print’s inked and gelled side up on a flat surface (not a crochet tablecloth like you see in the picture) and position the gelled canvas on top of it. Get the side 1 1/2 inch wraps as even as possible. Smooth down the canvas from the opposite side. Flip the whole thing over and use the guides you marked earlier to double check your 1 1/2 inch overhang for the side wraps. It should still slide a little while the gel is wet.

For the sides, I recommend (meaning this isn’t the way I did it but will do it this way next time) cutting a 90 degree notch at the sides. Be careful not to go beyond 90 and perhaps even stay a little more to the inside of 90 degrees. This will allow those sides to lay down flat when you glue them. Work the side the same way as the top, gel the canvas, gel the print and then smooth it down with good adhesion.

After the sides, go back and check on the front of the canvas. If puckers or air bubbles are present then just smooth them down and work them out the best you can.  Some puckers will remain but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Try your best to get them out the main subject.  you will be able to see through the back of the print to the image by holding it up to the light at this point. A good thing to do while positioning as well.

Once everything is fully gelled, positioned, and smoothed out, now we wait. Just be sure to leave it where it won’t glue itself down to anything while it is drying.  A cake plate worked great for me. Let it dry at least overnight but depending on the amount and type of gel used probably 24 hours.

BIS-8After everything is fully dried, then we get to the messy part. Slowly begin to wet the canvas, and rub the paper backing off the print. Just start with a few dribbles of water and you will see how it works. Go slow, don’t rip the paper.  Make sure the area you are working is wet. The image will start to reveal itself as you work. This is mind numbingly slow, makes a wet soupy mess, and gets a bit tedious. After you have gone over the canvas just stop and let it dry again. Here is where your heart will stop, when you come back it will look like you haven’t done a thing.  It is OK, all part of the process. Repeat the wet and rub off more of the paper then dry.  Repeat again. Just keep repeating until you get the clarity you want. Probably three rounds of wetting, rubbing/removing and drying. Be careful as you work not to tear the image. Some tears are OK, they add to the character of the piece and to me represent the craft of the image. I found that working in a circular motion produced the biggest results with the fewest issues.

After you get the image to the desired level of reveal, then step back and really look at it.  Would a little more scuffing add to the piece? In my case it did. At this point I wetted the canvas once more and used a CLEAN scrubby to scuff the edges a bit. I will caution you to go lightly here.  This can’t be undone.

As a last step go over the entire piece with the gel to seal and protect the image. One last dry time and …. ta da, finished.  For me finished means off to the art gallery for drop off. Hard to believe that I am one whole day early. The big event, 2013 Best in Show, is in two weeks, on February 22nd at the Taubman Museum. Come out and support the Roanoke Valley SPCA and look at some great animal art including one by yours truly.

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