Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Preparing Pergamenata

NOTE: I will update this post with photo's as soon as I can.

When reading about pergamenata, it's often described as not needing any further surface preparation. However, experience has taught me, that isn't necessarily true and I offer this post to address the problems I have encountered, and the solution that has worked for me.

When painting on the surface, from time to time I would come across what I can only describe as oily spots. Paint would roll back from these areas like it had a mind of its own. Could it be oil transferring from my hand onto the surface, yes. However I also believe that some oils, or surface coatings from the manufacturing process remain and cause the problem areas.
Ingredients for pounce.

After much discussion with various people, both off and online I have found that preparing the surface by roughening it with pounce works wonders. Pounce, for this purpose, is a combination of ground Gum Sandarac and fine Pumice which has been mixed together and contained within a small piece of linen, held together with a rubber band. Both Gum Sandarac and Pumice can be purchased through John Neal Booksellers and a little goes a LONG way.

My process is as follows:
  1. Mix together a small amount of Gum Sandarac and Pumice, maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of each.
  2. Combine the mixture in the middle of a small linen square and secure it closed with a rubber band or other appropriate closure.
  3. With clean dry hands, lightly rub the linen pounce sack, first, up and down, then left to right on your surface area. You are basically trying to gently rub away any residual oils from the surface and raising the nap a little for better "tooth". I usually finish off with large circular motions.
  4. The surface is now covered in pounce dust, gently brush this away with a large, soft brush. I've been told that makeup brushes work wonderfully for this purpose, although I use a 2" artists brush I found at a craft store. If you're feeling frugal you can actually collect this dust for reuse.
  5. DON'T TOUCH YOUR SURFACE WITH BARE HANDS from this point on as you will transfer oils back onto your working area. Instead, cover everywhere except the area you're working on with a barrier. Glassine paper is my preference and can be purchased in rolls from an art store.
  6. Now work as you usually would, drawing your design then applying ink and paint.
Random Notes and Tips:
  • I've found than I tend to wash my hands a lot when working, to keep them clean from oils and random mess. I like to apply 100% talc to my hands every time I wash them.
  • Pounce is also great for cleaning up calligraphy mistakes. After I've scraped away the mistake with my knife I will carefully rub the area with my pounce sack.
  • Occasionally I will discover a small area intended to be painted that I didn't prepare properly, I'll just grab my pounce sack and give that small piece a light rubbing.

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