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News & Muse

Getting the Picture

Updated: May 7

For the latest of my bas-relief animal portraits, "On a High Perch," I wanted to use the photo I had taken for the background of the piece. I had recently discovered water-soluble paper designed for a laser printer and wanted to see if it could be used to transfer the image clay.

I first coated the raw clay sheet with a very thin coat of clay softener liquid and then laid the printed image face down on it.

Faint image seen through the soluble paper on top of a sheet of light colored clay with a bottle of clay softener to the side

Here you can see that the liquid has permeated the paper and I've trimmed excess clay away.

The image of the transfer can be seen more clearly on top of the clay, excess clay laying slightly to all four sides

Starting at the center of the image I began dabbing the paper with lots of water a little at a time. This proved to be a very delicate operation requiring an extremely gentle touch to remove the paper pulp without smearing the ink. I did make a few smears to the right of the bird before I got the hang of it.

The image transfer with paper removed, clear & slightly shiny, with a bowl of water and a pile of paper pulp to the side

Using a wet brush, I was able to fix the smears and I then dried and set the ink with a heat gun.

The image transfer with a wet paintbrush and a heat gun to the side

After baking the sheet with the transferred image, the last bits of paper were removed with water. Finally, I used colored pencil on the transfer to adjust its colors to more closely match those of the bas-relief clay and to give it a more hand-drawn feel.

A detail of the finished piece showing the colored pencil work with three pencils laying on top
The finished piece with a few of the colored pencils used.


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