Decalcomania – A method in which paint is squeezed between two surfaces to create chance effects
To remember what decalcomania is, recall the following mnemonic:
They decided to calculate what a kleptomaniac (decalcomania) stole but the workings out were ruined because somebody spilt ink on the workings and tried to remove it with another piece of paper.
Decalcomania is a technique that can be used by absolute beginners and expert artists alike. Each one is unique and the possibilities for experimentation are endless.
Remedios Varo would have created this piece by putting ink onto paper and folding it in half. She would have then gone in after the ink had dried to add details and make it into an illustration.
Max Ernst created this work by laying a piece of paper or glass over a painted area and then removing it. Suction is created by this movement, which pulls at the paint to generate a scaly, biomorphic effect.
For this project, you'll need several different colours of acrylic paint, paper and a pen.
Start by folding your paper in half so you have the middle line and then open it back up and lay it flat.
Squeeze some of the paint over one half of the paper. You can try to guide where the paint might go by squeezing the paint in patterns or in a rough picture or, you can just squeeze the paint where ever you fancy and see what happens!
Gently fold the paper in half again and press the paper together. You can either just press the paper together or you can try to guide the paint into a pattern using your fingers.
Open the paper back up again and see what pattern you have created!
You can either leave it as it is, or try to see if you can see a face, animal, plant or object in your pattern and draw around the outline with your pen.
You could even draw a butterfly body in the centre of your paper. Try a few different things and see what you can come up with!