Part I: I have loved Mark Tobey's white writing since I first saw a photograph of one if his paintings with this element. Before my friend, Margo, moved from Seattle, we went to SAM to see an exhibit of the Northwest Mystical Artists. I studied and studied his work, but left, appropriately, mystified. I so wanted to be able to create using white writing.
Part II: Last summer, when my friends Mary Jane and Grace came to visit, we went to an exhibit at the Lightcatcher of Helmi Juvonan's work. She had been completely in love with Mark Tobey, who she knew, to the point of creating a story about that love. She, too used a white mark-making technique in compositions surrounding in dark. I was still mystified as to technique.
Part III: Answer the question: which comes first, the dark or the light? How does the artist maintain the white marks while moving in the darkness? I did the only thing that, at the time, I could think to do--I called in Mark and Helmi. Then I started playing with a technique I remember that I knew how to do--I could make the light marks rise above the dark. So a used a thick coat of gesso, mixed in the teeniest bit of perfect grey to grey the gesso down a bit. Then I used stamping tools. I had recently acquired the cover to a fax machine and loved the shapes it made. I used the spiral and serpentine arm band Christina had given me, and parts of parts to other equipment that had come my way. The greyed-gesso moved up to fill in the spaces the stamping action made. When it dried, I floated in dark grey. a little violet, a little blue green. I did a little sand-paper scratching and then patina-ed it with azo gold quinacridone nickel. I look forward to many more visits from Mark and Helmi.