another technique from Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise's Plaster Studio: Mixed Media Techniques, etc . it started with a square of burlap coated with plaster, then rolled to create cracks.
the burlap was glued to an 8x8 canvas using wood glue, and the excess trimmed off (undoubtedly to find a new life adding texture somewhere else!)
the book suggests adding paint and working it into the cracks, then wiping or sanding it off so that the cracks are emphasized. good luck with that. my experience was that unless the plaster is sealed the paint soaks in and isn't easy to sand- or wipe- off. which is fine, just not what i was expecting.
this is me with a transparency over the plaster after a few painting and sanding sessions. it isn't strong enough to carry over the blue. i also decided that i wanted the meadowlark bigger (the nice thing about working with transparencies!
so i added a layer of gesso over the blue to knock it back (and didn't take a photo). for added insurance, i decided to use a laser transfer rather than an inkjet. the colors are more opaque, which is what i wanted for this piece. i coated the plaster with golden soft gel matte medium and placed the inkjet image face down in place, rubbing and brayering to ensure good contact.
normally i would wait overnight for the gel to dry then rub my fingertips raw trying to remove paper. i covered the whole thing to keep the texture consistent, even though the only color is the bird & branch. once i saw the image showing through because the paper was soaking moisture from the gel i decided to try removing the backing.
and it worked great! i was able to peel off much of the paper in strips, with only a little bit of rubbing stray fibers here & there. the gel medium filled in the cracks and provided a nice level surface for the image.
i am quite happy with this and look forward to playing with this technique more. now to dig through photos!