I don't know what's going to happen next ...

I was in Sam Flax Art Supply in Orlando the other day, when I saw these handmade papers that I just had to have.  I fell in love with their textures, colors, different weights, patterns. Every time I headed for the door, I had to turn back and look at more of them! So I bought a bunch. I didn't know yet what I was going to do with them, but I couldn't leave without them. 

By the time I got home, I was full of ideas. There are some papers I decided I wanted to use with my pastels and others I would use with watercolors. Maybe I'd do seascapes, or abstracts or, well, who knows what. I only know that I need to experiment and play and see what turns up.  

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some short videos of these papers. One shows me mounting a beautiful aqua and white mulberry paper on a piece of Gatorboard®. It's presently under some heavy weights so it dries completely flat. That was unexpected — I didn't realize as the paper and acrylic gesso were drying, they would cause the Gatorboard to bow. But this is why I love experimenting ... I never know what will happen. 

For instance, I expected the colors in the paper (the dye) to run when they came in contact with the liquid gesso and pastel ground — they didn't. I wondered if the paper would start to dissolve or fall apart — quite the contrary. I wondered if the acrylic would bleed through the paper — it didn't. 

I used a Sharpie to make tick marks for cutting — the marks bled into the paper. I expected the razor blade to catch on the thick fibers in the paper — it was smooth as silk. The pastel pencil I used to mark the 1/2" border on the sides felt just as I expected. It was rough which meant BONUS — the pastel stayed on the paper. And while the pastel didn't brush off, it didn't smudge or blend either. Cool! 

I'll be spending the next couple of days playing with this paper to see what I can create from it. I expect to be pleasantly surprised. And if I'm not, that's okay. I will have learned something new and will start plotting how I'll use the rest of that sheet. If I am and it turns out great — well, now I have another awesome technique to add to my pastelist's repertoire. 

My lesson? Always experiment, you'll never know what you'll learn.