Amy Wise-“an artist living and working in Southern California. Her work focuses on the figure and the manipulation of the human entity, to compose a psychological portrait. Working with people in her life or herself as the subject matter, she embraces the duality of each individual’s character and story. Each piece is comprised of mixed mediums; primarily graphite drawings over watercolor.”
One of the hardest decisions when you’re a parent- how much of the truth do we share with our children? And when is the right time? Amy Wise struggles with this decision in her essay.
THE LAST SECRET
“Mama, do you believe in abortion?”
My daughter Tatiana and I had talked about pretty much everything during her seventeen years, but this was one topic we never discussed. I always made sure the conversations veered around it. Now here I was, standing in the middle of our kitchen, posed with the question. I stuttered and stammered, “Oh, uh…that’s a tough one. There’s so much more to it…um…than you know… just believing in abortion.” Before I could answer her, mercifully, the phone rang. Tatiana went about her business and I never had to address the question I had avoided for so many years. What she didn’t ask me, thankfully, was if I had ever had an abortion…
a. A clean, smooth, wood board that is a bit larger than your watercolor paper. Solid wood, or plywood will work (avoid fiber/particle board, masonite etc.) The thickness of the board should not be less than a ½ inch (as the board itself might warp over time!)
b. A container slightly larger than the width of your paper, filled with a few inches of cold water.
c. Watercolor paper, or any heavy weight paper of your choice.
d. Gummed paper tape. If you don’t know what this is, it’s water-activated tape which means the tape won’t stick until water is applied to the adhesive, just like an envelope! This should be available at most art/craft shops.
e. A medium sized sponge, to activate the tape and absorb any extra water.
2. Begin by cutting your strips of tape, one for each side of the paper. You want each strip to be slightly longer than the length and width to make sure the entire sheet will be taped down well.
3. Take your paper and slip it into the water from one end to the other, back and forth about 3 times on each side just enough to moisten the paper evenly. This shouldn’t take longer than 10 seconds.
4. Allow the paper to ring out any extra water before applying it to the board.
5. Lay the soaked paper down on your wood board nice and flat. *These next couple steps should be done pretty quickly as the paper will begin to warp shortly after applying it to the board.
6. Begin to activate your first strip of gum tape by wiping the adhesive side with a wet sponge and tape down the first edge of your paper. Once it’s down run the sponge along the top to make sure the entire strip is taped down. Do this one at a time for each piece of tape. *again, this should be done quickly!
7. Once you have taped down the perimeter of your paper. Run the sponge along the tape just to make sure it’s thoroughly adhered to the board. *You might notice your paper beginning to warp and the tape lifting up slightly, that’s okay! It will flatten out, I promise.
8. Take your sponge and pat the surface of the paper to soak up any extra puddles of water. * don’t drag the sponge this will cause the fibers to fray.
9. Now that you’re finished, place your board flat in a cool dry place and allow the paper to dry for a couple hours until the sheet flattens out entirely.
10. You now have a flat sheet of paper to work with! You may saturate your paper as needed since it won’t become as soaked as it was when you stretched out all the fibers. Keep the paper taped to the board while you’re painting as this will help the sheet continue to dry flat. Once you’re finished working, take a blade and straight edge to each edge of the paper and release it from the board. Behold your completely flat watercolor painting! It’s truly witchcraft.