First, I printed Babette onto plain, untreated Lutradur. Nice effect, but a bit ghostly.
Sorry about the image--it was incredibly hard to get good photos of these in the lighting I had available to me at the time--and the flash completely wiped it out. I did a little bit of adusting for brightness and contrast so you could see anything at all, but I didn't want to do much because it would misrepresent the effect.
So, meet Babette the Ghost.
Again, just a hair of adjustment for brightness/contrast for the sake of a photo for the blog, but not much. In this case, Babette worked pretty well on the version with matte gel. It's still a little on the translucent side, but also clear enough that you can see the actual image.
However, that in itself could be a fun technique to play with. Underlying streaks create their own textural element. As they say, "it's not a mistake, its a design opportunity." Babette actually looks a bit like she's sitting behind a sheer curtain or something, with those streaks.
I was surprised--I'd have thought the gesso version would be the most clear in terms of detail, but I actually find the matte gel version to be the most clear in this case. That being said, if I'd really saturated that gesso and used a photo with more defined edges and detail in it, I'd probably have very different results.
Of the three versions of this particular photo, I like the matte gel the best. That being said, I'm still remaining open to playing with all of them in projects. I'm now in search of Golden digital grounds (I don't think I have the name right but don't have time to check right now) that Heidi recommended--that may give very different results.
My sister is coming up to spend the weekend over Memorial Day and she's a talented artist. When she emailed to ask if it was a good weekend to visit, I said, "Great! We can play with Lutradur--you're going to love this stuff!" I've laid in some more supplies and expect to have great fun, and probably make a terrible mess. She'll push my creativity, I'm sure.
Not completely digging the way the colors worked, and there was some puckering along the edges when I put the binding on (which I didn't realize until after I had it done). I still have to hand-stitch the binding to the back, but to all intents and purposes, it's done. I had originally planned to make another of these for my daughter's room with another charm pack and a couple of fat quarters--not sure at the moment whether I'll still do that or not. It wasn't a hard pattern by any means, although there were a couple of details left out. And making something the second time always turns out better because you know what tricky points to watch out for. But I also hate doing the same thing twice, LOL.
Now I need to spend the next couple of days catching up with my Quilt University class on EQ--I'm two lessons behind!--then I can get back to working on some other projects on the docket. Somehow I suddenly got very quilt-busy!