slightly wonky

Grey drizzle
February 25, 2011, 9:20 am
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

A rainy, grey day here in the Boston area.  My son has caught a cold, so I’m trying to avoid having him cough on me excessively. 

Last night’s printmaking class was a lot of fun…just five of us trying anything out that comes to mind.  Everyone does such different stuff.   I wish that I could show the other students’ work as well!  You’d see how interesting and diverse our things are.

I had made a drypoint plate, which shows up in several of the works.  I also did a lot of chine colle this week.   I had some interesting origami paper that I incorporated into lots of these pieces. 

I’m also working on a bigger linocut.  It’s going much more pleasantly than my previous one, as I’m using a better kind of linoleum.  I’ve decided that the classic, “battleship grey” linoleum is a pain.  This one is a golden color…cuts more easily…doesn’t crumble as easily, and is generally more pleasant to work with.  I’ve also pulled out my woodcarving tools, as my little Speedball set of tools is limited and clunky.

So, here are the prints from last night.  I like the greys with the bright pops of color.  My favorite is the last one…


All of the pictures are going to be dark, as there is no sunlight today!  This one above is the drypoint plate with chine colle.  I did this a few times:

And again:

I was experimenting with how I removed, or wiped, the ink from the plate.  Some are better than others!  See how “inky” that one is?

Then, I took a break from that drypoint plate.  I had springtime colors on the brain…in amongst the grey…

Even brighter:

I’m not sure if I’m finished with that one.

A bit of an experiment with scratch foam…kind of like the styrofoam trays that you get from the grocery store.  I like the fact that the pieces look like they are part of the sky, but somehow the overall isn’t great.  I need to help it somehow…suggestions?

Some layered chine colle…I’m not sure if I’m finished with this one yet either:

I like this one the best, even though the registration was off.  I started with a monotype, then I decided to put my drypoint plate on it.  Unfortunately, the plates weren’t the same size…but I didn’t care…spoken like a true novice:

What do you think?  Helpful comments?  Advice from experienced printmakers?  I have to say…I look over these prints, and most seem incomplete.  So, I’ll see if I can revist them at my next class… 

Are you as tired of winter as I am???  I planted some bulbs this year, so I am hoping to see some pops of color in a couple of months!  Until then, I have to stick with ink…


February 22, 2011, 3:05 pm
Filed under: painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Okay, it was 12 degrees this morning.  Tonight, it’s supposed to be 6.  Seriously.  In spite of this cold snap, our lovely igloo that my husband made has melted.  Here is what’s left of it:

It was right next to that tree.  I took this picture yesterday when my son and I were playing out in the yard.  I was frozen, and he was gleefully throwing snow around with a beach shovel.  Here’s the winter light in front of our house:

Isn’t it amazing?  I love that kind of light.

So, I managed to finish that linoleum block that I was working on!  I just tried to hunker down and finish it.  I like the prints, more or less, so I think that I may do more…in spite of the fact that I’m still not in love with carving linoleum.  I also collaged some interesting Japanese papers into some of the pictures.  The solid paper was a success…the patterned paper was a total fail.

Here is just the block print:

Here, I’ve added some red paper:

The red looks much darker in the photo above than it really appears.  Detail:

Here it is with the patterned paper…not good:

I like this one, with the ochre paper:


That turned out pretty well.

I also finished that trace monotype with watercolor.  I’m not happy with this.  I may try to “help” it in some way.  Suggestions?

I kind of like the colors, but the overall effect is blah.  It’s kind of flat and boring.  Thoughts???

Small things in progress…
February 20, 2011, 4:24 pm
Filed under: painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , ,

Not much to show since my last post.  I have several things in progress.  Nothing remarkable, but it keeps me busy.  I’m working on a linocut.  I am now realizing that while I love the way block prints look…I find actually carving the block to be tedious.  I can only do it for a limited time before I get bored and have to do something else.  I think that this is because I’m impatient.  I want the image done NOW.  Having to wait while I carve it takes patience and perseverance. 

DOES ANYONE OUT THERE DO LINOCUTS?  If so…do you find the cutting of the block tedious?

(i do) 

Maybe I should just put on NPR, and the whole thing will go along more pleasantly…

The next images are of a watercolor and a trace monotype, which I’ll add watercolor to afterwards.  I like watercolor.  I don’t feel that it’s very easy, but I like blobbing around the transparent colors.  I know.  If I was doing a more complex picture, perhaps I would find it too hard to enjoy!  Perhaps I should try a still life, or something.  I’m certainly not doing anything en plein air.  My paint would freeze.  Yes, the warm weather is long gone…this morning it was a chilly 19 degrees. 19 DEGREES!!!

I’m lukewarm about this trace monotype too.  The picture is of the back of the paper.  I almost feel like the pencil drawing on the back is more interesting.  I’ll see how it goes…I may have needed the ink to be darker.  Who knows.  You can let me know your thoughts when I finish it…

This is a bit of a random post.  Here’s a paper cut that I did ages ago. 

Papercutting is kind of interesting.  It has tons of possibilities.  Once again, I think that the process of cutting the paper is not as much fun as other stuff.  It’s much easier than hacking into that lino block, though…I can see getting carpal tunnel from that.

This is school vacation week.  We’ll have all the kids home quite a bit.  I have a feeling that I’m not going to get much done, other than making meals/cleaning up from meals/putting away toys/tripping over toys/passing out on the couch from sheer exhaustion, etc.  I’m going to have to try to do artistic things while managing the household…you know: dust kitty sculptures, junk mail collages, spilled cereal installation art…the usual…

All over the map…
February 18, 2011, 3:01 pm
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I made quite a few prints this week!  It’s also been a lovely 55 degree day today.  I think that we’re all giddy with the warmth and sunshine.  It does feel wonderful to look up and feel the warm sun on your face and a fresh breeze…as opposed to biting wind and frigid air that makes your eyeballs ice over.

So…dabbling.  Lots of dabbling this week.  The prints are all over the map.

This week, I had a class with Debra Olin.  She was wonderful!  So talented and fun.  You can see her work here.  She showed us stencil work, and chine colle.  Chine colle is sort of like collage, but one typically puts the pieces of paper to be glued onto the print not directly ON the print, but on the plate instead.  When the plate is rolled through the press, the glue backed chine colle pieces adhere to the print.  Very cool!  I didn’t do much of it.  Here is one with a collaged piece:

The large square is another piece of inked paper stuck on the larger print.  Neat! 

Here are some things that I did with stencils:

These were fun to do.  I’m definitely going to play around with this stuff some more.

I also tried a collagraph.  I wasn’t thrilled with it.  I kept trying to rework it to improve it.  A collagraph is a plate where things are stuck onto it, and those things are inked and a print/emboss is made from them.  Here it is:

It looks like a circus.  Hmmm…

In my other printmaking class, I made a couple of solarplates.   I was pretty lukewarm about these.  Also, you will notice in the brown print that there is a whitish margin.  This is caused from the solarplate having a slightly curved edge, which allows light to seep in and make that mark.  GRRRRR…shoddy plates.  So, next time, I may try making a smaller image, and then cutting the plate edges, to hopefully get rid of this problem.  VERY frustrating.

See the whitish margin?  Frustrating.  I was excited to do solarplates, because of the photographic possibilities.  But, I haven’t yet done anything that I’m thrilled with.  Perhaps the fact that I’ve only been printing them with one color…

This last print is one that I did at home.  You’ll notice the sort of washed out look of it.  This is because I hand burnish it, as I don’t have a press.  I looks okay.  I always seem to encounter some registration problem.  I’m still happy with it, though.

So, what do you think?  Do you like any of these?  Throw them all out?  Keep them?

50 degrees in February
February 15, 2011, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Drawing, painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was a fabulously warm day.  My son and I took several walks to soak up some sun and work on our vitamin D levels.  It felt amazing to be out in the warm air.  I was tempted to open all the windows in the house, but then I thought that might be premature. 

Everything feels like it’s slow going.  Every day, I hope for something I do to be “the thing”.  By this I mean, “MY thing”.  So far, what I’ve done puts a furrow in my brow.  Sigh.  Just the reality of where I am, and where I am not in my creative endeavours.  I love seeing inspiring works by other people.  On the other hand, it often leaves me with a bit of a pit in my stomach…knowing that I couldn’t possibly do what they do.  I know.  It’s supposed to be that way.  I have to do what I do.  BUT WHAT IS THAT?  I wish that I knew…

Here are some odds and ends from the past week.  Any comments?

I know.  My search to figure out what to do will be a lifelong one.  At the same time, so many people have figured out “what” their art is all about.  I’m not there yet.  It feels like it’s taking forever to figure out.

Drypoints and solarplate
February 11, 2011, 3:38 pm
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, this was a moderately productive week!  I think that I managed to produce things in my classes that interested me.  Granted, I have a long ways to go in the world of printmaking, but these prints are yet again…something new.

No, I haven’t worn my crazy sweater yet.  I didn’t want to risk getting ink on it today.  I tend to get ink just about everywhere.  I think that I may be too messy to be a printmaker.

Here are the prints.  This first one was my first solarplate.  Not successful.  I used a china marker to draw the image, but it just didn’t print well at all. 

I tried to get as much of the linework to print as possible, but it was just too faint.  These next plates were using a drypoint plate that I made a few weeks ago, but had not printed yet.  This first print is ok…I needed a stiffer ink consistency, so it’s a bit inky looking.

This is the ghost print:

Both of these are “monoprints“.  This means that part of the image is repeatable from a plate with some texture/marks on it…and some is non-repeatable…just ink from a smooth plate.

These are some “monotypes” in this series.  A monotype means that nothing is repeatable in the image.

and the ghost:

This last one is the drypoint plate again.  This time, however, I had the right ink consistency.  So, the lines were more fine…less smudgy.  It’s kind of neat…

And this was a more successful solarplate print.  You might recognize it as one of my previous ink sketches…

So…a bit of work done!  Progress is so slow.  I hope that in a year’s time, I will feel that I’m getting somewhere!  Sometimes, that’s hard to tell week to week.  I am learning a lot, so I suppose that’s good, if nothing else. 

I have a delusional aspiration to somehow participate in the Arlington Open Studios this fall.  Wish me luck!

Is this too crazy looking???
February 9, 2011, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Felting | Tags: , , , , ,

Okay.  I had a side project going that has NOTHING to do with printmaking…painting…drawing…etc.  I was working on a crazy felted sweater.  I JUST FINISHED IT.  I was so excited, that I put it on, even though it is still DAMP!  I’m so thrilled with it…even though I know that most people will ask me why I am wearing what looks to be just a big pile of yarn.  Philistines!  It’s wooly poetry… perhaps in an e.e.cummings sort of way.  What do you think?  Too crazy?  Not crazy enough?  I have no problem wearing this…I just wonder how many birds will be following me…trying to collect scaps for building their nest.  Please excuse that I could not wait to photograph it tomorrow in daylight…so, here I am in the downstairs bathroom…

A break in the clouds…

Today, an odd thing occurred…I was driving along the highway, and, for a brief minute or two, there was sunshine.  But this didn’t look like winter sunshine.  It looked like spring/summer sunshine.  I actually had a momentary feeling of it being summer.   HOW BIZARRE.  I’m sure that you know what I mean…there is just a feeling associated with each season.  It was so strange to have that feeling of summer for a minute or two, in spite of the fact that it’s February and we’re up to our armpits in snow.  It was like a deja vu: “Oh…this is so familiar, yet weird…”  I know.  Just keep my eyes on the road and pay attention!  But still…it was SO nice!  I wish that it didn’t disappear…

Well, I’m still experimenting.  I’m starting to feel that I need to work on something “bigger”.  Everything that I do has just been little sketches.  Perhaps I need to try to tackle something…MORE.  Who knows what that means.  Can one get loopy from the smell of ink?  gum arabic?  banana bread?  (I made some yesterday). 

Here are some of my latest sketches.  I’m trying to think of things to potentially make a solar plate from.  The black and white ink sketches are some thoughts.  The color image is my first pronto print at home!  Yay!  It sort of worked!  It’s one of those procedures that is a bit temperamental.  The first few prints went well…then for some reason, things started to not work well.  The ink wouldn’t stick to the plate, so that later prints are more faint.  Sigh.  Well, not bad for my first at-home attempt.

Did anyone else see that sunshine today?  It was hovering over route 95 in Waltham…

Sepia tone series…
February 5, 2011, 12:55 pm
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In spite of the fact that this was the week from h*ll, I did manage do get some prints done.  The majority of my week consisted of leaden snow, a feverish preschooler, a cocoon of ice, and general malaise.  I had two, brief moments of peace…my two printmaking classes!  I am SO lucky that, though kindness of my family, I was able to go to both.  Otherwise, we probably would have had a scene here not unlike “The Shining“.

My prints this week are in sepia tone.  I think that this subdued color resonated with me.  I just wanted something simple, straightforward, familiar…and perhaps, easy.  There is a certain recognizable comfort to this color…

The prints which are a street scene in Venice, were printed from a drypoint plate.  The test plates of the hand are from solarplates.  Both are intaglio, which means that ink is pressed into the grooves in the plate, with the excess wiped away.  Just the ink in the grooves is printed (primarily).  The first print of the Venice scene has too much ink in it.  It’s too dark, and the detail is lost.  The ghost print of the Venice scene (a ghost print is a second printing, without adding more ink), has more detail.  I also manipulated it afterward with a watery tone to the sky and piazza.  This makes this print a “monoprint“, where there is a combination of repeatable, and non-repeatable marks.

This was SUCH a tough week.  I’m glad that it’s over.  I hope that I can have some kind of normal schedule next week.  This art endeavour is challenging enough…without having only fragments of free time to work, and no space to set up.  I know.  “Waah”. 



and the ghost print:


test prints of my hand drawing…hopefully i’ll have one printed next week!

I don’t think that there is a big difference between any of these exposures…


I’m trying to convince my DH that we should hire someone to finish the basement.  So far, no success…I’ll just have to keep working out of the large tupperware bins stacked in our dining room, a.k.a. my workspace.  CHAOS!  I don’t think that our home is going to be featured in Elle Decor any time soon…

Buried alive
February 3, 2011, 11:13 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

The snow is…ridiculous.  I have done nothing productive this week…on account of the blizzard/ice storm/feverish & snotty preschooler.  I have some pictures of the snow nonsense to make all of you not in the area cackle with schadenfreude.  I’m glad that I also got a parking ticket the other night for being PARKED IN MY DRIVEWAY.  Apparently, I was interfering with snow removal.  Maybe we should have our driveway shortened.  I wonder if the telephone poles nearby also got a ticket, as they are as close to the road as my car is…

I will hopefully make it to my TWO art classes this week.  I may actually be able to do something productive, besides shoveling, cleaning up, being Big Bird, cooking, reading stories, and general domestic nonsense.

The igloo:

my husband’s car:

our street:

the neighbor’s house:

our house:

Okay.  So, I have done some work.  Here are a couple of drypoint plates in progress.  They may be printed tonight.  Right now, my son is laughing to himself.  I have  him home because he’s “sick”.  I must go check and see what destruction is afoot…

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