slightly wonky


Sketchy stuff…
April 13, 2011, 2:17 pm
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It’s a dreary day here…lots of rain.  I am experimenting with some woodcuts with trace monotypes.  I had fun with this…I can see trying it again.  I layered transparent woodcut prints together, then added the sketchy doodles on top.  Here is the first one (sorry it’s so dark…):

I know.  It’s awful.  But, it’s a start!  As you can see, I was also playing around with full bleed prints.  Messy!  Then, I made this triptych:

This has some potential, I think.  I’ll have to mount these onto another paper.  I’d really have to do that anyway, as this is thin, mulberry paper.  Here is the last one…a bit of a mess:

Again, it’s so dark!  Not much light here…I started drawing the scribbly blobs.  I didn’t like them, so I switched over to the boxes.  I like those better.  Next time, I’ll try that type of doodle first.

I always get a bit deflated when I have visions of grandeur, only to be squashed by reality.  I still don’t have the hang of relief printing at home.  Actually, in general, my prints at home are not as good.  There is no comparison when you use a press.  I will hopefully be taking a class on relief printing, so I hope to get my questions on all of this answered.  It doesn’t start for a few weeks, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Any helpful suggestions from any relief printers out there?  I think that I needed to seal the woodblocks better, as the impressions were “grainy”, instead of uniform.   grrrr.



Trace monotypes
April 10, 2011, 8:27 pm
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Today, I took a great class with Joyce Silverstone.  We focused on trace monotypes, which is something that she incorporates into her work (which is outrageously beautiful).  Apparently, Paul Klee often used this technique.  You can see an example of his work here.  How it’s done:  you basically ink up a plate, gently lay a piece of either blank or previously printed paper on top, then use any sort of tool to make marks on the back of the paper.  The paper is pushed against the inked plate, and will pick up the ink, where you apply pressure with a tool (pencil, finger, anything!).  It seems that Klee would often watercolor these trace monotypes.  We just printed other layers of color on our drawings.

Here is my first print…I was relatively happy with it:

I liked the little yellow boxes…This next print didn’t start out well, but I worked to improve it:

 I am now more happy with it.  It could probably do with more attention, but I stopped to work on other prints.   Here’s the next one:

I think that I’m content with it.  While I think that on it’s last pass through the press, I “equalized” the color more…which wasn’t so great…but I created the abstract yellow marks, which were what I intended.  The last print:

I like this one too.  I had some technical troubles with some of the white lines.  If I had had more time, I would have worked on improving them.  But, it was the last print that I was working on, so I think that it is complete enough for now.  You may notice that elements of one print sort of show up in another print.  I sort of worked on all four prints simultaneously, so they all influenced each other.   It was also really great to see what other people in the class did…so inspiring.

All in all…it was a very fun day.  Plus, I got a Happy Meal for dinner…what more could a person want?  Well, one of those Takach presses would be nice, but a Happy Meal fits my budget more.  (Anyone have a press that they are “tired” of?  I can promise it a good home!)  🙂



End of semester!

It’s the end of winter semester!  Boo hoo!  Last night, I had my final class with a wonderful group of women.  We all have different backgrounds (artist, art journalist, photographer, etc.), but we were all there as beginner printmakers.  I will miss them…the running commentary…the oohs when a print was first peeled off of the press…the jokes about our shoddy skills.  For you local people, Somerville Open Studios is coming up in a month, and one of my classmates will have her work on display then…I hope that I can go and see it!  I wonder if she’ll include any of the prints that she made…I’ll give more details when it gets closer to the date.

Here are the prints from last night.  I was working again with viscosity monotypes, as shown in the first two prints.  But I also incorporated a carborundum plate into the mix, as shown in the third and fourth prints:

That was just one pass through the press…I liked how it turned out.

This one went through the press a few times:

The carborundum element in this next print are the lavender brushmarks.  So, I printed that lavender carborundum plate on top of a monotype (thus creating a monoprint):

In this print, the dark purple areas are from a separate carborundum plate:

You’ll see this plate again in some of the following plates. 

My teacher last night looked over my bevvy of prints, and tried to give me a little critique on a direction that I might pursue (as I am fairly all over the map, as you may have noticed).  She noted that I typically either use a very linear/drawn/crisp language or a swirly/organic language.  Why not combine them?  Well…okay!  I think that this may sound obvious, but if you see others’ work in the class, then you’d see how different all of our work was.  I also felt that this was kind of a true assessment of me as a person…my left brain and right brain are fairly evenly balanced.  I’m not saying that either half is brilliant, not so…but I think the balanced relationship between the two has been true for me.  As an example, I got nearly identical scores in the SATs/GREs between my math and verbal  (umm…not a perfect 800 on both, sheesh).  So…instead of trying to be either one or the other, I’ll try to combine them.  This is kind of hard, as I don’t really shift well between the two.  But, I guess that’s part of the challenge.

Here are my prints from today.  Again, I started with a monoprint:

Then, I started to layer in the carborundum plate:

and again:

And then, my printmaking teacher wanted to see the carborundum plate by itself.  I think that she didn’t like all of my colorful craziness.  So, here is the plate the first time…I didn’t do a good job wiping it:

Here is the second time that I inked and printed it:

See the difference?  Then, here is the ghost of this print:

She really liked these.  Hmmm!  Shows how little I know!  I thought that perhaps they were too simple.  Next time, she wants me to layer in a very thin transparent layer…nothing too crazy, as I was doing above.  She said that the previous ones were “just experiments”, and “now you need to focus.”  Hmmm!  I take it that she is not keen on the crazier ones.  Well, good to know…less is more, perhaps!  Any comments/suggestions????  Random thoughts?  Artists that I should take a look at? 🙂



One in every color…
March 18, 2011, 3:59 pm
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So, the past few days were a bit productive.  I did lots of drypoint prints on Thursday, and some more solarplate prints today.  Last night, we had an amazing class with Catherine Kernan, who showed us viscosity monotypes.  This is where you work with both very thin ink, and very stiff ink simultaneously.  The two inks react to one another in very interesting ways.  I don’t have any images to show this week, though!  Our class worked collectively on five prints.  It was fun, as we just experimented with making marks, and were amazed at our results.  Hopefully, I will be able to show you one next week!

These are the drypoint prints that I made.  I incorporated a little of that carborundum technique.  This is where there are areas of dense color.  I’m not sure that it was so successful, so I’ll have to try again.

Hmmm…I also tried rotating one of the plates:

Hmmmm.  Then, I tried some chine colle

Also just “hmmm”…then I tried one of the plates in isolation…I liked this one the best:

Any thoughts?

Here are the solarplate prints.  I managed to print the relief plate this time.  This means that as opposed to smooshing the ink into the grooves, and wiping away the rest…a relief plate has the ink just rolled on the surface.  I liked this, as it created an emboss, and gave the prints more character.  I’m not so fond of the “flatness” of the smooth solarplate prints.  Here is what the emboss looks like:

Can you see how the paper is raised?

Here are the actual prints:

The greenish in the photo above is from the relief plate, so it is not just ink on the paper…it also has indented the paper as well (as shown above). 

I’m showing these in the order in which they were made…

My teacher thought that this one above looked “complete”.  So…I have to “complete” the others at some point…

And another:

I generally like these.  I agree that there is something “missing” in most of them.  I need another layer.  It’s always hard to add another layer later.  When these are printed, the paper has been soaked.  When paper dries…it shrinks, so you can’t put the same sized plate on unless you resoak it.  Unfortunately, sometimes the paper still won’t expand up to it’s previous size when you resoak it, then the plate marks at the perimeter won’t line up with the previous marks.  You can be VERY VERRRRY fussy in printmaking.  Actually, I should say…you are supposed to be VERY VERRRY fussy.  The only people who can thumb their nose at these rules are established, celebrity artists.  So…not me.  Not by a long shot.

Any comments?  Feedback?  Helpful suggestions?  Random thoughts?  Favorite place to get coffee?



Drypoints and solarplate
February 11, 2011, 3:38 pm
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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!




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