Tuesday, February 1, 2022


Thanks to a helpful reader, I have chosen to not use the word 'play' in reference to time spent trying this and that in the studio, rather I am now scheduling Experimental Time. It seems I am truly a person who need to give themselves permission to play by doing something that appears purposeful.  

Although interestingly, the play has all been purposeful - with something potentially far-fetched and a fair way off in the future, I wanted to experiment with options; so purposeful play, or educational experimenting it is!

I have been quietly working away trying to learn about ways to write poetry, and I have really enjoyed that time exploring.  I have decided I want to try and write one of the poems to use in this future work; but I want it to be 'hidden'. So I decided to experiment with different tools, paper, techniques and styles.

I recently bought this pen - a masking fluid pen; and set to work writing on BFK Rives and Arches Velin printmaking papers. 

I used a style of lettering  first used back in 2015 for this momentous book.

I then did a watercolour wash over it and waited for it to dry.

And then tried to rub it off! Oh my goodness, horrid disaster. I wasn't sure if it was the pen, the application of it not enough, or the paper.  

I went with the paper and tried another version on cheap watercolour paper and ta da - it rubbed off beautifully!

I began to get the look I was hoping for...

Using a syringe to write (just like the lettering in Endure above),  I did a trial with a similar lettering style; and a cursive handwriting style - done very quickly with the aim of being somewhat indecipherable.

The syringe makes it hard to control; and creates some lovely pooling as well as some great mini splatter marks.

I went on and masked off part of the page; and ran a grey watercolour wash over the top. And I quite liked the effect. The shapes were just random shapes I had around; the future work would be quite a deal subtler I hope.

And then I played with filling in counters and negative spaces with bright, jewel-like watercolours.

Delicious and stunning and it made me very happy. Again the future work would be more subdued but something is beginning to look like it could work.

Experimental Time got a big tick from me this week.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Irene - it has a lovely bouncy feel to it I think!

  2. These are exciting experiments Fiona, I especially love the masking fluid letters. I would guess that the BFK Rives was much too soft and fuzzy to remove masking successfully. So glad you got a better result with watercolour paper. This makes me want to give it a go too.

    1. Thanks Jennie - completely agree about the soft surface of the BFK! I just love it as a paper for so many things, I did kind of forget it might not like the rubbing. Also the masking fluid just soaked right in - there was nothing to feel on top of the paper if you know what I mean?The watercolour paper was cheap and cheerful and passed the test so I hope that proper paper might do even better. Go well.

  3. the look of the watercolor wash on masking fluid just prior to the disastrous unmasking is actually quite interesting (although I doubt masking fluid has long-term staying power, so never mind) ... glad to see things went better as you got on ... although I can't quite imagine writing with a syringe!

    1. I quite liked the look the 'before' shot as well Liz. Blue lettering might work in some instances...Working with a syringe can be a bit hit and miss - trying to push the plunger down slowly enough to keep the ink flowing, but not spurting, and moving quickly enough for it not to pool, all make for letting go of the perfect!


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