About the new patterned background….

The other night, I took a bunch of pictures of some art papers. Most of the pictures are being used on another site which I’ll give you the url to real soon now. But this squiqqly one didn’t fit. And it had to be used. So it’s goin’ here.

closeup of brush texture
I made that pattern using a very special brush. The brush is from my hair. Back in my only-analog art days, I went to a lettering arts workshop at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. (later I put on a Bryce Camp there; shipped two dozen computers to remote New Mexico and built a computer lab in a day for a week-long event. packed ’em up again and left. No additional proof that I am a crazy person is required.)

So. Where were we? Analog art.

At Ghost Ranch, I learned the art of paper marbling from Paul Maurer. Paul also had a curious set of brushes, made from animal hair of various sorts. (He used to go on veterinary rounds with a large animal doctor and collect hairy specimens for his brush collection. He’d also add to his collection from road kill. One brush was a stomach-hairball, about the size of a baseball. Paul cut it in half and made interesting marks on paper with it.)

After seeing his collection, I packed an envelope containing a lock of my hair from that long-hair-cut-short haircut, and brought it with me to a conference he was also attending. I gave it to him. Next year at Ghost Ranch, he did his fun brush demo again. I recognized a new coupla brushes, one with a thin long lock of hair. During his demo, he said, “These are brushes I made from human hair” and then swirled the paint this way and that. Then he said, “They belong to Susan Kitchens,” and handed them to me.

So this image is a detail shot of a page with an overall texture I made from dipping the brush into paint and dabbing it onto the paper. This is what a lock of my hair does when dipped in gouache and laid down onto paper. The brush is so long that it folds down this way and that, collapsing onto the page in fascinating random patterns. I covered most of a sheet of paper with ’em. Thanks to Photoshop I made it a seamless tile, and changed the color to match the site. So, though I greatly admire all those nice tiles proliferating about the web thanks to Squidfingers, I’m glad to do my own variation on tiled backgrounds (True, mine is bandwidth-hogging compared to the ones there. But it’s mine!)

On a related note, after letting my hair grow out too long, I recently cut it again. (just before Bloggercon.) I have the leftover hunk, a 6-inch long ponytail. It’s destined to be a new brush. Like the ones Paul Maurer made me.

5 responses to “About the new patterned background….”

  1. Julie

    wow, that is cool! and I love the new look of your blog!

  2. Susan Kitchens

    Thanks! I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. The banner, that is. It’s been up in the 404 page for this site for a while. But the brush background is a very recent spur-of-the=moment addition.

  3. Dave

    I like the new design. Wresting with WordPress certainly paid off.

  4. Susan Kitchens

    Thanks, Dave! Most of the WordPress wrestling has been for elsewhere, but once something’s learned, all sites benefit. 🙂

  5. nikole_id@yahoo.co.uk

    Great design… Very impreessive!