As promised, I have put together a step-by-step of how I am preparing the masa paper for use in my paintings. I recently purchased this paper from our art supply store. It can be found online, also. In the previous post, I included links to some sites where I became inspired and learned how to do this.
Masa paper has two sides to it. One is soft and a little fuzzy. The other side is smooth and somewhat shiny. The instructions were to draw your image on the shiny side. I have done that twice, now. Both times, the image has washed off the paper. I think it could be achieved by using ink or crayon but I have not attempted that as yet. For future paintings, I am just going to do the drawing after I have wet and toned and glued the paper down.
Mark some corner of your masa paper on the shiny side with ink in a lower corner so you will know which side is which and crumple the paper. I crumple the paper, open it gently and crumple it several times. This gives me many little hairline wrinkles.
Place that ball into a container of warm water and let it soak through. This does not take long.
Wring out the masa paper
and gently open it (it is very fragile at this time, so be careful not to tug and create tears) and lay it shiny side (marked side) down on your board. I lay it atop scott towels as the next step is a little messy and the paint can bleed through to the board and stain it.
While the paper is still wet, apply large washes of color. This color bleeds through the paper as well as settles a bit darker in the wrinkles. If you are concerned about certain colors in certain areas, remember your image is reversed in this step and plan accordingly.
While you are waiting for the above masa step to dry, tape down a piece of watercolor paper to another board. The watercolor paper should be larger than the size of the masa that you have just stained as you are going to glue it to this surface. I used 140 lb coldpress paper for this.
Once the toned masa is dry. Glue it to the surface of the watercolor paper you have prepared. On this second painting, I used a hair dryer to finish up the drying process. (Was I in a hurry, or what?)
I mixed two thirds acrylic matte medium with one third water to make my glue. Other artists have used wall paper glue and white glue with success in this stage.
I applied the glue to the fuzzy side, or non-shiny side of the toned masa paper. I covered the surface with it as I did not want air bubbles to gather beneath it as I glued it to the paper. I then flipped this over and set it on the watercolor paper I had previously taped to a board.
I used my brush with matte medium to stroke the paper flat working from the center out to chase air bubbles. Other artists have used brayers or rollers to roll this out flat. I did not worry about bumpy wrinkles I was making as I did this. The more wrinkles; the more the texture. I waited for this to dry. I waited until the paper went flat again.
Remember that I said I washed off my initial drawing? In this step, I redrew my image on the toned masa. I think this is how I will proceed with future paintings I do on masa. I could take some time to prepare my toned papers and have them dried and ready to select from when I want to use them.
Then I painted. I had wanted to see how this looked using darker pigments and if the pattern would show through. I mixed varying amounts of yellow, blue and red to create my blacks for Clyde. When I first applied the darks, I did not see the pattern and became disheartened by that. As it dried, the pattern began poking through.
In this step I experimented with using titanium white watercolor to define Clyde’s texture in his coat as well as to shape his legs and face. I really liked how this paper took the white! I shadowed under the ball and alongside his foreground back leg in this step, also.
For the final step, I drybrushed his whiskers in with titanium white watercolor.
After having worked with this paper a couple times, I am thinking of all sorts of uses for it as a support for drawings, paintings and collage works. I can also make up many toned papers to be used as torn pieces of collage papers in other compositions.
I have added an update to this tutorial, here, illustrating what the toning of the paper looks like prior to glueing and after glueing.