slightly wonky


Rhoda Rosenberg & new woodblock/drypoint prints
December 4, 2011, 9:14 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

This week, I went to the Danforth Museum in Framingham (which I love) to see Rhoda Rosenberg’s works:

GO. SEE. THIS. SHOW.  I loved it.  Her work is so beautiful.  Most of the works were some form of printmaking…woodblock, carborundum, etching, drypoint, chine colle, etc. etc.  She has an amazing ability to juxtapose colors and textures.  Many of her works referenced either her mother or father.   She did a really stunning carborundum print titled, “Bubbie’s Bag”.  It’s so simple…just an inky, abstract silhouette that you recognize as someone’s handbag.  But the  depth of the color is amazing for something so minimal.  The richness of the dark bag almost makes it some kind of emotional black hole that you feel the heavy density of.  Beautiful.

My own work this week was varied.  I had my last portrait class, where I did this drypoint:

It’s such a caricature of the model, but I was happy with it anyway.   I love drypoint, but it’s difficult, as you can’t erase and it’s hard to see the “drawing” as you’re doing it.  I’m sad that this class is finished, as I loved it!

I also did more on this series of abstract woodblock prints:

and:

and:

and:

and:

and:

I haven’t had time to carve more blocks for this series.  I was only working with three colors to start, but you can see the amount of variations possible.   I added the red ink towards the end of the class.  Some of the prints needed something more, and so this was an attempt at that “more”.  I definitely like some more than others.  That’s the surprise of printmaking…sometimes it’s a good surprise…sometimes not!  At least you can keep running prints, as long as you have paper and time!

The holidays are coming up, and I have yet to catch the “spirit” of the season.  Maybe if I bake some xmas cookies today, that will change.  There’s nothing like sugar cookies with a thick and colorful crust of sugar from my son’s heavy handed application to get one in the spirit!  In spite of many sweepings, I invariably hear that crunching sound under my feet from the sugar explosion for at least a month.  Don’t get me started on the whole pine needle extravaganza.  I feel like those things don’t go away until sometime in mid-June.

This year, we’re getting a real tree.  Last year, it was my fake aluminum tree…so this year we do a real one.  I must admit, my fake tree doesn’t have the lovely pine aroma…but what it lacks in smell it makes up for in exuberance.  When we get our tree, I’ll post a picture…(you can vote on whether you prefer the shiny tree or the real one).   Kidding!   Actually, I really don’t want to know if you prefer the real one.

 

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Portrait printmaking & chaos in painting
November 19, 2011, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

So, this week’s portrait class was fun…we did drypoint prints of the model.  A drypoint print is made by taking a plate (copper, plexi, etc.), and using a sharp steel tool to “draw”, or gouge, the lines into the plate.  Then, the plate is wiped with ink so that the ink stays in the gouges…and then we print it!  We were using plexiglass.  The most difficult part of this is that you can’t really see your drawing very well.  You have to keep tilting the plexi under the light to see where the lines are, as they are so faint and hard to see.  Again, we have the model who looks like Alanis Morrisette:

She was reading her book.  I was pretty happy with how this turned out.  Here is the second one:

I’m not happy with that one.  Sigh!  We only have one more class, after Thanksgiving.  I may take another stab at doing a drypoint (just a little printmaking humor…).

I’ve done more work on my vise drawing series.  I haven’t photographed the drawings, so I’ll have to show you them later.  As one of my infinite diversions, I was playing around with a few small, gouache paintings.  Here is the first one:

I like doing these messy, crazy things.  It started out somewhat realistic, with the blue sky…but then it took a turn for the weird at some point.  The next one:

Garish, right?  I like garish.  Last one:

 

I don’t know where I’m going with these.  I just like doing them. 

Any comments?  Helpful suggestions? 

Does it matter that no one may like these, as long as I like to do them?  

Does it matter that I clearly am not interested in “editing”?   

Does it matter that I often like to use practically every color that is out there?

Metallics…I don’t have any metallic paint yet…

 



Back to intaglio
June 23, 2011, 8:36 am
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

I have a few new, drypoint prints to show.  These are a bit different that the woodcuts that I just posted.  I got some positive feedback on the woodcuts…so, what do you think about these prints?  Comments?  Do you like the woodcuts better, or are these interesting in their own way?  Feedback, please!

I’m going to post them in the order that I made them.  I really liked how this one above turned out.  The odd, prickly image is a magazine clipping of a strange sea creature.  I loved how it looked, so I thought that it would look cool incorporated into a print.  This odd sea creature is making me think of my odd plant woodcut.  Maybe there is actually a theme here.  Next print:

I also like this one.  I like the punchy, graphic quality with the scratchy marks.  I may do more like this one.  Next:

You can see the red plate printed again here on another magazine scrap.  I thought that the vertical arrangement in the photo of the people worked well with the long plate.  I think that this one initially looks abstract, until you notice that there are figures in the print.  Next:

I was on the fence about this print above.  I wondered if it was too “even”, without any focus.  Someone in my print class thought that it was nice, but does anyone else have a comment?  As this is not a big print, perhaps it doesn’t need much more.  The print size is only 3″ wide x 7.5″ tall…thoughts?

It’s so hard to decide what kind of printmaking to do.  I loved the woodcuts, but I also like doing these intaglio prints.  I feel that I should have a certain aesthetic that I build on, but you can see that my aesthetic thus far is rather varied.  I suppose only time will tell, right?

Any artist out there have a suggestion on how you narrowed down your focus to get a unified body of work? 

Any non-artist have thoughts on this as well?

 



A new class…
June 15, 2011, 6:24 pm
Filed under: Collage, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I started a new class this week!  This is good, as my collage class is ending tomorrow.  My new class is woodblock printing with Annie Silverman, and I am so excited!  She’s super talented, funny, and nice.  It was great to see all of her work, and she got me started on a woodblock, which I can hopefully print next week!  This is very different woodblock printing than the traditional Japanese technique of moku hanga.  I took a weekend course this summer on that type of printing.  This class is more free-form/free-wheelin’ woodcuts.  Moku hanga, in my opinion, is sort of the opposite of free-wheelin’…it’s very precise…very methodical…very controlled…etc.  So, I’m excited to try a new way.

I have another new print in this “dark” drypoint series.  I tried to do something more with the background, but it came out a bit too subtle.  Here’s the print:

So, the black area in this image is uniform…but there is actually some texture there that you can see better in this print:

See the texture?  So, I tried to get a subtle figure in the background…but it was too subtle, in my opinion:

Hmmm…I want to pursue this idea, so I’m going to have to do it differently.

I also did a little collage this week for a friend:

I like how this turned out.  I really like collage.  I’m not sure that my collages are worth pursuing more seriously, or if this is just an artistic diversion that I’ll continue to simply play with.  I don’t mean that collage isn’t serious…just that I’m not sure that I want to try to do any more than I’m doing at the moment.  Any thoughts?  I asked once before if anyone out there has a favorite collage artist…so I’ll ask again to see if I get any more responses:

Do you have a favorite collage artist?  Who is it, and why?

It was a GORGEOUS day today…70 degrees and sunny…no humidity.  We get just a few days in the year like this.  I can’t imagine living in a place where it’s this lovely all year.  BTW my poison ivy has subsided quite a bit, so it was just about 1 1/2 weeks of torture.  I thought that it was a good sign that I woke up this morning, without having gotten up in the middle of the night to slather on more itch cream.

Maybe I’ll do a series about loathsome poison ivy?



Got goals?
June 10, 2011, 9:29 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

There are lots of goals that one can have in life.  One of mine is to pursue art.  Lucky me…I’m getting to do that a bit!  But, then what?  Art is a field where there is no clear path.  In some ways, being an architect is simpler…as once you get hired, someone is coming to you with their problems to solve: “We’re designing new student housing for this college”…or…”Find out what the zoning restrictions are for this site”…or…”Draw up some wall sections for this facade”…etc.  Even when you own your own firm, and you’re “the decider” (silly word), the client comes to you with their problem to solve.  In art, you’re coming up with the problems, and the answers.

Back to goals: there are so many different goals that one can have as an artist.  Someone might dream of getting their work shown at the Whitney.  Someone else might dream of just making a living off of one’s art.  Another person might just want to feel happy with the work itself, regardless of any outside recognition.  These are all reasonable, of course, but they require different strategies for working.  In the first one…the cutting edge fine art world is your “client”.  Are you innovative enough to be at the Whitney?  In the second example, the art buying population is your client.  Is your art buying population people who love landscapes…so, you’ll do landscapes?  Or, is it people who love photographs of people?  old buildings?  puppies?  In the third example,  you are the client.  Are you happy with your work?  Do you feel satisfied/stimulated/excited by the work?

Ideally, I suppose, one would be able to satisfy all three of these goals at once:  to be recognized by the fine art world as worthy…to be able to live off of that worthy art…and to feel a sense of satisfaction with the work.  Not an easy thing to do!  I have yet to decide where I’m putting my energies.  For the moment, I seem to be focusing primarily on goal three:  just being satisfied with the work.

If you are an artist, what have your experiences been in regards to these types of goals?  What are your goals?

Food for thought that I have been gnawing on for some time now…

Here’s is what I printed last night in class:

On the day that I was making sketchy scribble doodles, I also made a drypoint plate.  This is the print from the plate.  I like it.  I like the feel of it and the look of the lines.  I may do more of these.  I also added some chine colle to another printing of it:

Sort of interesting…the paper looks very dark in this photo.  It’s actually a sort of dark, orangeish, sand color.  I’m not sure about these pieces, as they are a bit of a distraction.  I may try this again with a more neutral/lighter color of paper…but I didn’t have any at the time to try out.  Here’s a close up:

I also made another print of a child, similar to the previous one.  This one was printed with different ink and different paper, however.  I think that I might prefer the other ink that I was using.  Here it is:

This is based on an image of my friend’s daughter.  I’ve also got a closeup, so you can see that the black area actually has some texture:

I think that on my next print in this series, I’m going to do more with that texture…play with it a bit more.  Any comments?

It is very cool and mild today…we had lots of rain and thunderstorms yesterday.  I love this kind of post-storm weather.  I also like pre-storm weather as well.

OH…for those of you in the Boston area…you MUST go to Berryline for frozen yogurt.  There is one near Harvard Square on Mass Ave.  SO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS.  I despise TCBY, which tastes like frozen plastic.  Berryline, however, is so delicious.  The yogurt actually has that tangy, yogurt taste…and it’s FABULOUS.  You know it’s good when instead of getting M&Ms on my yogurt, I decided that fresh mango was better.   It was.  Go now and get some.  I’m suffering from some serious Berryline withdrawl, I think…



Portfolio review
May 22, 2011, 5:52 pm
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

It’s been SUCH a crazy week.  I spent the whole week preparing for a portfolio review, which was held today.  SO INTERESTING.  I met with four reviewers: Philip Prodger of the Peabody Essex, Dina Deitsch of the DeCordova, Katherine French of the Danforth, and Jane Young of the Chase Young Gallery.  It was fascinating to hear each of their reactions to what I presented, and their suggestions of how I might proceed.  By the end of the morning, my head was spinning with all of their comments and thoughts.  So much to think about…

 P.P. suggested that I consider learning aquatint and soft ground etching.  I think that he liked what I’ve been doing with the carborundum in my prints, and thought that aquatint/soft ground etching would benefit me.   Both of those types of printmaking require acid, so I’ve not been able to try them.  I think that he felt that my work was interesting and had potential.  He seemed to like the complex layering and gestural mark making.

D.D. really liked my drypoints, and wanted me to push this further.  I showed her that small drypoint of my son, which is the print recently accepted at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking.  I found her positive response to the drypoints really interesting, as I think of the drypoints as much more “conventional”.  She felt that I could take advantage of my ability to draw and drypoint’s “traditional” aesthetic, and do something different with it.

K.F. was very positive, and said that I need to find the “right teacher”.  She suggested that I consider a master’s program (gulp!).  She said that my work was visually sophisticated (!), and on the edge of being really exciting.  She also encouraged me to continue with the more energetic mark making that appears in my work.  That comment seemed to be a running theme from the reviewers.

J.Y. helped me to understand more what a gallery owner is looking for.  They are looking for a “clear voice” in the work.  She liked the tension between the “uncontrolled” abstract marks in the prints, and my clean drawing that gets overlaid.  I also learned how works on paper can be more challenging for a gallery to deal with.

I have so much to think about now.

Here are some of the new prints from this week:

This is a continuation of  the “long” series of prints on Japanese paper.  This paper had some existing marks on it, from previously toying around with some printing.  The large, textured piece of paper is chine colle, which took the ink in interesting ways.  I like the abstract vertical form.

and

This series on chairs got some interesting comments.  I think that people responded well to the layering and textures.  The icon of “chair” brought much debate/discussion.  Several of the reviewers talked about “narrative”, which comes when one uses a recognizable form like this. 

and:

and:

and:

This series was an exercise in restraint.  Perhaps I have pulled back on the reins too far…but I wanted to try to work more “simply”.  These prints are very much about “chance” and do not have any drawing marks on them.  These prints got mixed reviews.

All in all, I learned so much.  I know how important good teachers are.  My teachers at UPenn for architecture were amazing.  I absorbed an incredible amount in three years.  I’d love to be able to do a fine art master’s degree.  Maybe it isn’t as out of reach as I think!  I can eat ramen noodles for a year…it will just be a year of being bloated and thirsty with an MSG headache, no prob.  🙂



WOO HOO!

GREAT NEWS!!!!  The print titled, “Iain” was accepted at the 8th Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Prinmaking in Norwalk, CT!!!!  The show will be up from June 2 through September 4.  Go see it!

That bit of news definitely makes my month.

The OTHER bit of good news is…I have a website up and running!  Check it out  here!  What do you think?  I have some comments from friends about it…I’m looking into making some edits.  As is the case with this blog, it’s a work in progress.  I’m really happy to have a tiny bit of internet real estate out there.

I also completed another long print.  Here it is:

Once again…there is a lot more going on in the dark areas than this picture shows.  The camera (or my use of the camera) doesn’t seem to capture the layers in those areas.  Here is a detail, but that doesn’t quite show the background layer well either:

This was inspired by Hokusai’s, The Wave.  It’s such an amazing print.  I bask in it’s brilliance.

My collage class was interesting.  Last week, we were supposed to make a double sided collage.  I had a hard time doing that…so I mainly focused on one side, and just left the other side to chance.  Here is the side that I worked on:

Interesting, right?  Okay, here’s the back:

Hmm…a bit random.  Our teacher was showing us, however, that you can use a viewfinder (cardboard with rectangular hole cut out) to isolate areas that ARE interesting.  I might look at that.

Our assignment in class was to take copies of these collages, and create a new collage that also incorporates a photo.  Here’s mine:

I was really struggling with it for a while.  Then, I decided to get messy and sketch all over it.   I think that it got much better!  Here’s a detail:

I like it! 

I’m going to my 20th high school reunion this weekend.  I know.  Egads.  Where does the time go?  I think that it will be fun, but a bit overwhelming.  It was such an intense time.

I am also a bit self conscious of the purple ink at the edges of my fingernails…hopefully no one will be horrified.  I should just carry around a bar of Lava soap with me at all times.  And a nailbrush.

I hope that the sunshine that’s outside right now is here to stay!  WOO HOO!




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