Cyanotype, Watercolor and Gouache
Artist Julia Whitney Barnes has an absolutely fascinating process for creating her stunning botanical pieces, combining cyanotype, watercolor and gouache.
WHAT IS CYANOTYPE?
Cyanotype is a cameral-ess photographic printing process invented in 1842 by scientist and astronomer Sir John Hirschel, which produces a cyan-blue print when a chemistry-coated surface is exposed to sunlight.
Julia has combined this printing process with fine art to create beautiful botanical masterpieces. Here is a look at her process.
► Julia cuts a roll of our 400 Series Watercolor paper to size. This is a heavyweight paper at 140lb/300gsm and is manufactured to withstand wet media techniques, making it an ideal choice for Julia's process.
► The watercolor paper is coated with cyanotype chemistry, causing it to have a temporary greenish color.
► Julia uses real plants grown locally in her Hudson Valley home garden, from her generous green-thumbed friends, and other nearby areas. Each selected flower is preserved through a pressing process in which she dissects and shapes each form (akin to a specimen from a natural history museum) then lays everything out in massive flat files in her attic studio.
► She meticulously lays out the pressed flowers in an elaborate composition at night.
► The piece is then exposed to natural or UV light to create the cyan-blue print.
► After the cyanotype process is complete and the design is "printed" by exposure to light, she uses a mix of watercolor and gouache to paint the negative areas of the paper, creating her final masterpiece.
Here's another look at a cyanotype print with watercolor and gouache added to complete the piece:
Thank you for sharing your fascinating process with us, Julia!
Cyanotype process taking place as the sun exposure "prints" the blue background on the paper.