Since this painting has a lot of original photographs and paperwork, my first thought was to print it out on Stonehenge drawing paper, paint most of it in pastel and leave the printed pieces, such as the discharge paperwork, as printed off of my printer.
To accomplish this, I coated the Stonehenge with Ink Aid. This is a fantastic coating which allows you to print with your inkjet printer onto almost any type of surface that you can get through your printer. For more information on this product, click here InkAid. I let the paper dry overnight, and then tried to feed it through my Hewelet Packard HP130nr printer the next morning. I knew that the printer would give me some hiccups because I hadn't used it for a while, but I certainly wasn't expecting what I got. I cleaned the printheads, and was able to get a good print on 11x17 paper. Silly me, I thought that one good print would be enough. I tried to feed the coated Stonehenge through the printer front feed, quite a few times but failed miserably. I then switched it to the rear feed and was successful on the eighth try. Phew. I then sat back and let 'er rip. Well, unfortunately, I got a good print for half of the 30x22 paper, and then the rest of it printed with a bright red cast. I don't usually swear a whole lot, but there were some choice words coming out of my mouth at this point.
For the rest of the day, I tried cleaning printheads, changing printheads, reading forums, querying HP, and everything else that I could think of to make it print properly. I've got a huge stack of half good prints here to prove it. HP's answer was to call them in the morning and pay them $80.00 to help me. By dinner time, I had had enough and quit. The next morning, I was sufficiently calmed down enough to try one more time. I searched the forums again, and found one spot of hope. Someone suggested aligning the printheads and sure enough, that did the trick. So, if anyone else out in internet land is searching to find a way to fix your prints with half a page with a bad color cast on them, do a printhead alignment.
At this point, I decided to take a good look at the piece of drawing paper that was already printed on. I hadn't realized just how much "printed material" that I had in the composition. It seemed that more than 1/3 of the painting was going to be printed. That kind of seemed like cheating to me, so I thought that perhaps I would paint the printed matter in colored pencil, to keep the detail and do the rest in pastel. So I coated the uniform, boots, canteen etc in Art Spectrum's pastel primer and left the rest uncoated. I then started to paint the honorable discharge paperwork with Prismacolor colored pencils. After getting the top left corner by the mess kit done, I realized that I had the lettering too dark, that it would look a lot more faded after sixty some years. I tried to tone it down by going over and over it with a lighter french grey pencil, but I just wasn't being successful. I then took my battery powered eraser to it, and got most of the pencil off, with what I thought was no damage to the paper. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful again. When I went back over top, I was getting a lot of wax buildup from the pencils and what looked like white gobs of wax. I continued on, in a vain hope that it was just a small portion of what I had already painted, but wrong again. I'm not sure what went wrong, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the original coating on the paper. So, heads-up to anyone using InkAid and colored pencil, erasing it can be damaging.
My next step was to coat all of the areas where I was going to do colored pencil. I didn't want to take a chance of a reaction with the Ink Aid, so I coated everything that wasn't previously prepped with Art Spectrum. This time I used Liquitex clear gesso, which seems to have a very nice tooth all by itself. My current plan is to paint the text with colored pencil and paint everything else with pastel, but my plans obviously don't seem to be going according to plan, so we'll see...