slightly wonky

A pair of squares…in layers…
April 21, 2011, 1:54 pm
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I received a phonecall this week, telling me that the class that I had been SO looking forward to is going to be cancelled for low enrollment.  WHAT?  Am I the only person who was interested in doing huge woodcuts?  I highly doubt that.  Needless to say, I am really disappointed.  This has happened to me before, and it’s always a big bummer.  I suggested that perhaps the artist could do a one day workshop.  I was told that I needed to speak to someone else about that.  Sigh.

I don’t have class tonight, as it’s vacation week.  So instead, I tried to work on carborundum collagraphs in the spirit of the work that my teacher does.  Hmm.  It’s much harder than it looks (of course).  One of the challenges of printmaking with transparent inks is that you have to have a good sense of what the print will look like with each layer that you add.  Layers of printing on top of another can bring depth and interest into the print.  It can also make your print a muddy mess.  My teacher makes this layering look easy.  My work today seemed to only be marginally successful.  I worked on these next two prints simultaneously:

and this one:

You can see that they have many similar elements.  I’m fairly content with the first one, but the second one still makes me think that it needs something.  The risk, of course, is that I do another layer and say, “nooooo! It was better BEFORE!!!!”  This is typically why you should sort of leave your prints alone, and get back to them again with fresh eyes.

Here are other ones that I did:

The background is actually slightly “greenish”, which I don’t think comes through with this photo.  Can you tell that I liked that blob?  It keeps appearing…

This one is another that is borderline for me…add another layer?  Keep it as is?

Then, I tried doing two plates together.  This is harder to do (for me):

I like how this one turned out.  I’m not sure if each print individually would have been interesting, but together I’m happy with it.  Apparently, there are new colors for these inks coming out.  Exciting!!!

And now for something completely different…I’ve also been working on a lino print.  This has taken ages.   I have done it in a few color schemes.  This is the “green” scheme:

Kind of odd, I know.  I like it, though.  I like the boldness of relief printing.  THUS, my serious disappointment with my cancelled class.  Yes, I’m whining about that again.  Yes, I’ll give it a rest.  So, any comments?  No…not about my CLASS…about the prints!  (I can hear you playing your tiny violin for me…stop it!)  :p


Just blah
April 15, 2011, 1:49 pm
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This has been a blah week, work-wise.  Most of what I’ve done, I’m not thrilled with.  Last night, I had my carborundum collagraph class.  I was NOT pleased with how things were turning out.  Here is the result:

*insert big sigh here*

I’m NOT happy with that at all.  It’s just a mess.

I made another tiny plate.  I kind of like these tiny plates.  This one is just 2″x3″.  That’s a bit bigger than my other tiny plates, but still small.  My first printing was over wiped:

So, I left more ink on it this time, and it was much better:

In general, I like these kind of plates, because I can work on them at home.  I’m not very good at working in a busy studio.  I know how ridiculous that sounds, but if I have to try to concentrate and think…then I need to be alone with time and space.  So, if I prepare a decent looking plate in peace and quiet, I can be productive in the studio with printing.  But if I don’t prepare, and try to work in the studio…I can’t do it well.  I know that I have to work on this a bit, but it does made me feel pretty deflated at times.  Like, right now.

I’m also working on a lino print.  Here’s a little preview picture:

I’m happier with these, as they are very “graphic” and “punchy”.

I know…why so blue?  Well, I wasn’t thrilled with this week’s output.  At least there was some experimentation, with the woodblocks and trace monotypes. 

So, back to the drawing board…*SIGH*

[UPDATE: I’ve decided to throw in a trace monotype at the last minute…here it is below…definitely a work in progress…]

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.

Thank you, ACA!
April 7, 2011, 9:14 pm
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Just want to extend a very grateful “thank you” to the Arlington Center for the Arts!  They had a lovely reception at the “Images of Arlington” show opening, and a nice ceremony where…I received my award!  It was great to see everyone’s work…such a diversity of media, ideas, viewpoints, etc…  The show is up until mid June, I think, so stop by!

This morning, I finished up a TINY linoleum print, and the pronto print that I was working on.   The tiny linoleum print is a mere 1″ x 3″ (approx).  So small!  The darkest color was actually a layer of transparent blue…but it becomes a deep reddish/purple on top of the other colors.  This photo makes it seem a little darker than it really is:

What do you think?  Kind of interesting…I think that the faces turned out well, considering how tiny they really are…This was a reduction linocut, so I can’t reprint this one!  I’m going to do more of these with transparent ink…

This is the finished pronto print:

I like the “vintage” feel that these prints have.  I think that printing on this new paper is also better.  In addition, I bought some “anti-skin” spray for my inks.  This stuff is AMAZING.  Normally, this ink will dry and form a tough, chewy skin on it, which has to be removed.  This is messy, frustrating, and wastes a ton of ink.  This happens, even if you cover the ink with wax paper, etc., in the can.  But this spray somehow works miracles, and keeps the ink soft.  I love it!  Everyone should go out and buy some!

I had my first carborundum class with Christiane Lippeveld.  She does amazing work.  We created some plates, which need to dry to print for next week.  I think that I may try to get some more plexi and make some plates on my own.

Also, I have made several more TINY plates.  I will try to print them tomorrow.  If they turn out reasonably well…I’ll hopefully have photos to post.  Bonne nuit!

Technical difficulties…
March 15, 2011, 4:57 pm
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Today was a day of mild frustration.  I have finished carving a woodblock to print.  It will have two colors.  I was kind of excited about it.  I couldn’t decide what ink to use.  Unforturnately, I am out of the fine, mulberry paper.  I only have Arches 88, which is thick, but absorbent.  I ended up deciding to try using my oil based relief inks with a lot of transparent medium.  WELL.  It did NOT print well at all!  Here are the hideous prints:

See how blotchy the prints are?  Here is a closeup:

Depressing, isn’t it?  I’m not sure if I needed to sand the wood before printing, just to remove any possible residue on the surface, and to make the surface slightly rougher to accept the ink.  Well, I didn’t do that.  IF ANYONE OUT THERE IS A WOODCUT PRINTER, COULD YOU OFFER ANY SUGGESTIONS?  I have now cleaned the block, and have put on a thin layer of shellac.  I’m not sure if this will help.  This is odd and frustrating, as I never had any problem in the past printing with those inks on wood.  Granted, I typically use a shina plywood, not this solid piece of wood.  Hmmm.

I also did another drypoint to print, hopefully on Thursday evening.  It’s impossible to see, as it’s on plexiglass, but here it is:

The grainy white area is where I’ve added some pumice medium.  I am hoping to get the carborundum effect here.  I am also hoping that this medium doesn’t wash off when I try to print it!  Seriously.  As if it isn’t hard enough creating an image that one is happy with…then one has to contend with technical struggles.  I know.  Most printmakers get help with this in school.  Well…I’m here with no one to ask!  I may try to bring those ugly prints in to one of my classes, to see if the teachers can provide any insights.

Lastly, I am going to try to do a larger relief print.  Who knows how it will turn out…I’ve only sketched on the surface…no carving yet:

On Saturday, I dropped off my two Regent Theater prints to the Arlington Center for the Arts, to submit them for an upcoming show.  I asked the person who took them from me about the open studios in the fall.  She said something to the effect of: “Oh, it would be great for you to participate.  We need more printmakers.  Do you know so-and-so?”  Me?  A printmaker!  REALLY?!!!  I know how silly this is, but it felt very good to be treated like I WAS something that I WISH I was.  A printmaker.  Coincidentally, I discovered that one of my teachers used to be a landscape architect in Paris.  Seriously! 

I also went to a printmaking exhibit at Laconia Gallery in Boston.  The show is titled, ” Guanajuato: Boston Printmakers collaborative workshop in Mexico.”  It was SO amazing.  Beautiful, vibrant colors…tons of relief prints.  All of the artists collaborated on a long, accordian fold book.  They all worked within the pages in such a way that one could tell which artist did which parts, but the whole was still very integrated.  I was also so lucky that one of the artists was there monitoring the gallery.    She was so nice, and answered my multitude of questions.

It might just be Spring here…I don’t want to speak too soon, as it has snowed in April before…but I’m seeing little flowers coming up!  YESSSSS!

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