Dribbling, Squidging and Blebs

Review by PPA member Claire B

Our recent Tips & Tricks day at our Primrose in the South venue just over a week ago was entitled Colour & Pattern on Paper, but I feel the title of this blog post is a much more apt description of the day!

We had a healthy turn out of members all eager to puddle around with water colours on paper.

As I provided much of the equipment – paper, paints, sprays and mini print press – it was up to me to get the day started with a few demos of different things to try out.  I’ve been messing around with water colours a bit recently (you can see my efforts here) and have had fun seeing what works and what doesn’t.  The very name of the paint in question, water colours, indicates the watery flow of this medium and the lack of precision when applying the colours to damp paper or acetate sheets.

We dribbled paint onto plastic and allowed it to dry before running the plastic and damp paper through the press.

Above left: acetate with dribbled paint, drying.  Right: printed on to damp paper.

Above: prints of dribbled and sprayed paint (onto acetate and allowed to dry) on smooth and textural paper.

We had a go at squidging.  For those not familiar with this very technical term it involves using a dropper (or several with different colours) to deposit water colours onto damp paper.  The paper is then tilted so the paint will run.  A dry piece of paper is applied on top and squashed down thereby squidging and mixing the paints.

Water colour pencils and crayons were used to add surface drawing.

I’m told that the word ‘bleb’ isn’t commonly used in Australia.  My view is that many Aussies are seriously missing out as this word describes perfectly a random, unintentional mark.

So exactly what is a bleb?  Have you ever tried getting baked beans on toast between plate and mouth and realised that a blob of tomato sauce couldn’t defy gravity and landed on your shirt?  Or perhaps a drop of mustard dribbled from your hotdog before getting to its destination?  The resulting mark, always on your clothing, is called a bleb.

A quick aside: I once sat through a 2 hour workshop fascinated by the tutor’s sweatshirt.  She had obviously had fried egg for breakfast but it hadn’t all made it to her mouth.  Yolk had dropped onto her top, travelled about 2cm and ended in a rounded (then dried) puddle.  An epic bleb!!

So, usually blebs are unintentional splodges but we concentrated on manufacturing our own random ones on paper.

Above left: some excellent dribbling with overlaid red blebs.  Right: some seriously blebbed gamboge (deep saffron colour) with line work and water colour pencil patterns.

Let’s face it, we were there to have fun, to experiment and apply colour to paper in whatever way we could think of; by brush, spray, dribbling, with fingers, through stencils, by pencil and crayon, swirling and squashing colour together and whatever else we could dream up.  Did we achieve this?  That would be a YES.  Did we enjoy ourselves?  That would also be a YES.  Did we create great art?  Art is so subjective, don’t you think?

Here are a few more pics of the day:

About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in Activities: PPA, Member Activities, Print-making, Techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dribbling, Squidging and Blebs

  1. cfclarke@internode.on.net says:

    Dear Claire

    I find this information below most interesting. When I make gelli prints, I hand colour with either gouache or acrylic. I make either random, or deliberate marks. Well done to your Primrose in the South group. Cecelia Clarke


  2. Pingback: A painterly mark | Primrose Paper Arts Inc.

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