Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Technique'N: with Guest Artist Pam Tucker

Pam Tucker
is a self-taught mixed media artist.
She enjoys creating all types of art;
collage, abstract painting, textile art, and
digital art are among her favorites right now.
You can visit her blog at:
to see her work.

CitraSolv Technique
Beautiful Backgrounds:
[text & photos by Pam Tucker]

Here are the supplies you'll need:

National Geographic magazine
(Note: It has to be an issue printed within the last ten years.
I'm told the technique won't work on issues older than that.)
CitraSolv Concentrate (make sure it's the concentrate and not the spray)
lots of newspaper or other absorbent material
paper towels
container and brush (I used a chip brush)
apron (it gets messy)

Also, have a good-sized place prepared to
lay your finished pages to dry.
I cleared a space in my loft, laying down a sheet of plastic
and then covering that with newspapers.

Before I start actually soaking the pages,
I'll go through the magazine and
tear out pages that have lots of text.
What you are looking for are pages with vivid color.
I'll leave in some text pages for "neutral" backgrounds.
There is an advantage to this as you'll see in an example below.

With your newspapers layered onto your working surface
(I used an old padded card table),
open your magazine and just start "painting" the pages
with the CitraSolv.
You can be very liberal with your application.
I literally splash it on the pages,
give it a good couple of swipes with the brush,
and move on to the next page.
Coat the front and back of all the pages you wish to use.
This photo shows how I've coated
one of the two-page spreads:

Work your way through the magazine,
coating the pages with the CitraSolv.
You may have to replenish your container
a couple of times since the magazine has quite a few pages.
Just make sure each page you want to use has
a good coating front and back.
You'll start to see black ink spill from the pages.
This is why the newspaper is a must.
I always get some ink on my hands when I do this.

When you are finished coating your pages,
close the magazine and pat down the cover with your palms.
You'll see a lot of black ink ooze from the sides.
Blot all of that up with some paper towels.
Here's what my magazine looked like
after I blotted the ink:

Now, wait for the magic to happen!
The time will vary, depending on how humid it is where you are.
I found that usually 25 minutes is a good amount of time.
It's okay to peek after about 15 minutes or so,
just to see how it's progressing.
You don't want your pages to stick together,
so make sure they're still wet when you go to remove them.

Start to remove your pages.
Since the magazine has been soaked,
the pages will usually just lift right out.
If you need to, just give a little tug and they'll come free.
When you lift your pages out,
try to grab them by the corners.
The wet ink will show where your
 fingers have been if you aren't careful.
Also, depending on how much of
the CitraSolv you put onto your page,
it will still be drippy when you remove it.
Be careful not to let it drip onto your floor.
I just hold a paper towel under the page as
I carry it to the "drying station".

Take your pages to the place you prepared for them to dry.
Lay them out flat, not touching each other.
Drying time will depend, again,
on the humidity level where you are.
It was really cold here yesterday when
I made these and it took a little longer to dry.
I left them to sit for a couple of hours while I ran errands.
When I came back they were dry.
The first batch I made only took about 20 minutes to dry;
 it was much warmer that day.

Here are a few of my favorite pages from this batch.

You will also discover some really cool surprises with this technique!
In this example, I had left the text side of the spread alone.
I didn't put any CitraSolv on it at all since
there wasn't any color there to blend.
But I liked the opposing image of the man and
thought the colors around him would
make a pretty background.
Evidently I didn't coat this page very well and
the image didn't really bleed out.
But look what happened:

The image had transferred itself onto the text page!
And, totally by chance, there happened to be an ink blot
exactly on the man's eye.
I didn't plan that;
I didn't even know it was happening.
So the transferred image had a hole
where the man's left eye would be.
I was thrilled with this little discovery!
I will definitely be using this guy in my art
(embellished, of course).

That's the beauty of this technique.
If two people paint the same page from a pair
of the same magazines, they will turn out different.
It's all chance, depending on how much
CitraSolv you coat your page with,
how much pressure you put on the cover
when you close the magazine to let it cure, etc.
If I did this again, using another copy of
this same magazine, I would get different results!

I hope you try this technique.
I'm sure you'll be amazed and delighted with your results!
CitraSolv has a website where they post
the different artists' results using their product.
Check out all of the tips and techniques
they've put together for using CitraSolv in their art.
I am not affiliated with them in any way; just a happy customer! 

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If you have a technique you'd like to share on
Tuesday Technique'N,
please contact me at antoniafufu@yahoo.com


  1. that is sooooo cool!!!! i actually really like the way the last photo of the man turned out....

  2. Very interesting and the results look amazing! Can't believe Citra Solv can achieve that, I must try it right away.


  3. That was very interesting, you may get me doing this yet my friend. Amazed at the images.

  4. Wow, thanks for this mini class! How fun and cool-I am going to have to try it for my journal pages. *Sherri*


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