Here’s the Story…

Today’s experiment:

I had a modicum of success making a painting of the fig tree in the back yard as seen through the window screen in the kitchen. The only problem was that it was a pain in the neck to draw the screen on the paper in preparation. Even with the coarseness of the grid (1 millimeter squares) it was a major production.

I couldn’t resist taking another photo of the tree the other day. There was only one leaf on the tree, and I liked that it was red.

Digital Photo: Screened Fig Tree with One Leaf

Screened Fig Tree with One Leaf
Digital Photo Through Screen

However, in order to do justice to a mosaic portrait of this lone red leaf, I would have had to construct a much finer grid. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.


I had the bright idea of using a real screen, rolling on a coat of black acrylic and printing it on my watercolor paper, letting it dry and then doing my pointillist schtick through this ready made grid. Simple!

I went to the hardware store and got one of those screens that one would buy if one didn’t already have a screen on the window. It was the type that fits into a partially-opened window. I promptly tore it apart when I got home, used my 3.5 inch brush to coat the fine mesh of a screen, placed it on my watercolor paper with a thick piece of cardboard on top and pressed as hard as I could.

Here is the result:

Screen Experiment 1 - Attempt to print black acrylic on watercolor paper

Screen Experiment #1 9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


Not so good… Not good at all…

Actually, the cardboard looked better:

Screen Experiment 3 - Attempt to print black acrylic on cardboard

Screen Print Experiment 2
9″x12″ Black Acrylic on Cardboard

(The only artist-added feature in the above ‘abstract’ was the white outline of the track of the black drip.)

Finally, in desperation I used a little elbow grease to press the screen, which still contained a lot of black paint, onto a 12×18 inch piece of watercolor paper.

Screen Experiment 2 - Attempt to print black acrylic on watercolor paper

Screen Printing Experiment 2
12″x18″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Pad

This is my hand after I used it to make experiment 2:

Digital Photo: Hand with black acrylic paint

Post-Screen Experiment
Digital, One-handed Photo

I got more of the screen pattern, but nothing good enough to paint the fig tree portrait I envisioned.

Isn’t there an entire discipline called ‘screen printing’? Perhaps I should have looked that up before I started.

On the bright side, I now have three basic abstract Rorschach patterns to work with for future abstract compositions.

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