Saturday, June 18, 2011

On experimentation with glues

As I had the opportunity some years ago to learn the Asian style of watercolor painting, it seemed to me that I ought learn the traditional practice of mounting the paintings as well. I have seen the process done a few times and it seems not at all difficult, although I anticipated that there would be some amount of experimentation involved to perfect the technique, I did not expect my first attempt to be quite the dismal failure it has proved to be. For although I did exactly as I had been shown, something went most horribly wrong as I mixed the glue. Alas but I failed to realize this until I began to spread the glue and realized that I did not have the nice smooth paste I was supposed to, but instead my paste was filled with many tiny dough-balls, as the paste is made of a mixture of wheat flour and water. Somehow in my cooking and preparation process, I had made dough rather than paste. And as I began to spread my mistaken mixture over my painting, I was depositing tiny blobs of what might have become bread upon baking. Most assuredly though I had not created a smooth watery glue with which to bind my painting to the backing. I was forced to carfully brush off what lumps I could, and when that failed, I gave up entirely and threw the entire batch of glue over the side of the ship. I have since peeled up my painting carefully and set it aside that I might try with it again later, and am now attempting to make another batch of paste, hoping this time to create the smooth liquid that is my goal, however I will be the first to admit that my confidence is somewhat shaken, as clearly it is not at all the same to watch the process be done as it is to attempt it myself. But really the question is also how difficult is it to make a paste of flour and water? I would not have thought it so difficult until of course I had tried it and found that it was indeed rather much a challenge.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Travels and Returns

I am most relieved that my recent studies of the flower Cypripedium acaule has not prevented me from taking further travel. I took an airship to the southern state of Louisiana and spent most of the weekend dining on the local cuisine. It was quite more spicy than that which is prepared in New England, however quite good. And they used crawfish in everything, which in the North is hardly considered edible when compared to the Lobster... It is so much more work for such a smaller amount of meat, but the advantage of course is that it can be eaten without resorting to weapons to open the shell - the tail can simply be pulled off and the shell torn away using just one's fingernails, which would lead to no small amount of frustration and failure if it was tried on a lobster. I will need to consider further the differences between the species, as it is quite striking that they are indeed related species, and yet such markedly different sizes...