Seeing in Colour – Image transfer with colour laser prints

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Seeing in Colour – Image transfer with colour laser prints

Seeing in Colour – Image transfer with colour laser prints

I can’t believe how fast the summer has flown by!  It’s been busy with summer camp for my kids, going out to visit family in Victoria (I went to the great annual Moss St. ‘Paint In’ – terrific local artists!) and spending time at a cottage in Haliburton.  So basically, I’ve not been in my studio over the whole summer – too busy being outside and enjoying the hot, sunny weather.

Now that my kids are headed back to school, I’m trying to get back into my studio to work and play again.  I’m participating in the Visual Arts Mississauga event, ‘Art in the Park’ on Sunday, Sept. 23, so I need to start making lots of new art works to sell.  I’m also going to submit three new works to be considered for the 10th Art in the Workplace exhibition at McMaster Innovation Place.

To ease myself back into the studio, I wanted to try doing an image transfer with coloured laser prints.  This is based on the same technique as the black and white photocopy transfers where the pigment is transferred onto the wax surface of the painting.

I used a colour laser printer for making text sayings in six different colours (taken from a black and white rubber stamp image which I reversed to mirror image and converted in Powerpoint to various colours).  I had a prepped piece of wood with white encaustic paint over natural (non-filtered) encaustic medium (gives a creamy look to the paint).

Materials for colour transfer onto wax: prepped encaustic wood panel, colour laser print-outs and bone folder.

Materials for colour transfer onto wax: prepped encaustic wood panel, colour laser print-outs and bone folder.

I cut out the sayings out into thin strips and briefly heated up the surface of the wax.  I read in Daniella Woolf’s ‘The Encaustic Studio’ that toner transfers worked best on surfaces that had been warmed within 30 minutes of the transfer, or slightly warm to touch.

Printed text sayings cut out for transfer.

Printed text sayings cut out for transfer.

Next, I placed the text sayings face down and started to burnish the back of the paper with a bone folder (easier to work with than the old spoon I had been using).  With burnishing, you can never burnish enough – you want to make the surface of the paper almost shiny from the constant rubbing to make certain all the toner transfers onto the wax.

Colour laser printed text placed face down onto encaustic painting surface.

Colour laser printed text placed face down onto encaustic painting surface.

Here is a close up of the burnished paper strip.

Close up of burnished paper strip by a bone folder onto encaustic wax surface.

Close up of burnished paper strip by a bone folder onto encaustic wax surface.

After all the burnishing is completed, I used a bowl of warm water (nicer to work with than cold) to start rubbing off the wet paper fibres from the wax surface.  Again, it is almost like putting on a fake tattoo, you don’t want to rip off the toner from the surface when you rub off the wet paper crumbs.

Bowl of warm water to wet burnished paper for image transfer.

Bowl of warm water to wet burnished paper for image transfer.

Here is a close up of the completed colour transfer onto the wax surface.

Series of different coloured text sayings for image transfer.

Series of different coloured text sayings for image transfer.

Looking at the final colour laser printer transfer, all six text sayings transferred equally well (colour did not affect the transfer).  The only issues are overzealous removal of the wet paper fibres or under burnishing the colour toner onto the wax surface.  Obviously, the background colour of the encaustic painting will affect the appearance of the colour transfer, but the possibilities are endless for this technique!

Completed colour laser toner image transfer onto encaustic painting.

Completed colour laser toner image transfer onto encaustic painting.