I’m swamped with grading and finishing up at RISD and Wellesley this week, but I had a moment today that pulled me away to briefly consider a new medium for these drawings. I was initially excited about drawing with lithographic rubbing ink and moving the ink around with a mars plastic eraser on paper, but from my sketches and experience it didn’t seem like that medium was going to translate well to a large scale. I think what was hard about the lithographic rubbing ink is it’s permanence, and inability to erase, especially on paper. I knew that I was looking for another medium that could provide more flexibility but still have the same kind of weight and heaviness that the lithographic rubbing ink provided.
Today it occurred to me that perhaps using printmaking ink could be a possibility-several years ago I had used printmaking ink to paint on canvas, and I remember it took an obscenely long time to dry, which in this case would be important. I tried the printmaking ink on a sanded Dura-Lar surface that I had leftover from my previous project. It was the perfect balance of flexibility and permanence that I had been looking for. As I sketched I found myself wanting to move the ink across the surface with my hands more than with a brush. I worked a mars plastic eraser into the surface and was able to erase away to a complete white since the Dura-Lar doesn’t catch ink the way paper does. The printmaking ink has a stickiness and a stiffness to it that I found easy to manipulate across the surface of the Dura-Lar. I was able to make dark, blunt, marks, but also light tonal passages as well, where the marks from the abraded surface became apparent. Who knows whether this approach will actually work in the end, but I think it’s at the very least steering me in the right direction in terms of media.