Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Drapery, studio preparations, nature

A busy week in Artlandia!

Work continues on the life-scale drapery block...

As we can see, Max has been carefully observing Mo and Mini and learning how to be an excellent feline assistant. Since I now have 3 feline helpers, I'm not sure the former monikers of "Feline Assistant, Sr." and "Feline Assistant, Jr." really apply anymore - maybe "Feline Assistant, Sr." and "Junior 1" and "Junior 2"?   Hmmmmm.

There isn't as much new art work as usual this week in part because I spent a chunk of time working on the studio itself.  With 2 young kitties, it has become urgent to put into place some studio modifications I've been thinking about to get collage parts and colleges in process off the floor and onto the walls.
In preparation, I patched, sanded, primed, and painted the largest wall in the studio. 

Mo was such a helper while I worked on the wall,
and it was exhausting. (Also, notice how the fuzzy ball
that used to be tethered to the cat tree is now missing
leaving only a piece of black string, haha). 
While I was working on tasks that have been on the "to do" list for a while, I also took advantage of the few cooler days after the heat wave to go ahead and mulch the small strip of grass at the side of the house (Mini watched from her perch in the window the whole time I worked.) 
The heat has been hard on Honey, and I took her on a nice adventure to get ice cream and swim in her favorite spot. When we got home, she got a good brushing...

I especially like this one because it looks like she's walking on water, haha.

O My - sooo much shedding! I was worried she'd be bald,
but she's still her fluffy, beautiful self
(though hopefully, cooler and more comfortable now :) ). 
I got some beautiful landscape shots while Honey swam:

And also this one, that I really like, from when we were walking at dusk. 

Also, last, but not least, the garden is in high gear and I think everything survived the heat wave (whew!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Tiny stag plate 2

Proof of tiny deer plate #1
 A busy (and very hot) week in Artlandia! 

First, I printed the tiny deer plate from last week - testing out new techniques for Copper Sulphate etching of Aluminum plate with BIG ground (drumroll...)

I think it's a good first attempt (gold star!), but... there were definitely aspects I wanted to make adjustments to, so...

Tiny deer plate #2, which is roughly a mirror image of tiny deer plate #1 with all the compositional elements slightly larger.

For this plate, I wanted to include more line work from the initial phase of etching in the background (especially the tree) as well as the deer because I felt like it would help unify the composition as a whole.

I still added the tone in stages with multiple phases of masking - here is an in process stage after the deer had been masked out.

On the press bed all inked and ready to print

State proof with quarter for scale
For Comparison:
Proof of the first plate with quarter for scale

Proof of the second plate with quarter for scale
Overall, I think the second plate has better contrast, and the first plate is more subtle with the mid-tones. I think bringing the line work into the tree worked well. It's a good start and still ahead - editioning both plates, then more practice to refine the technique. 

From above, with Mo seeming
content despite his seemingly
precarious (at least to the human)
In creature news, Max and Mo continue to grow and thrive, and I love seeing them playing and cuddling together. 
I can't believe they both fit on the top of the cat tree.

Kitten Pisces
Max is still shy and a little hesitant, but he definitely loves Mo and is gradually getting more comfortable being around Mini. He's started coming over to his human for pets (good boy :) ) and is quickly picking up on the concept of "treats" from watching Mini and Mo (though he doesn't run over at the sound of the bag - yet ;) ).  And speaking of kittens learning by observation...

Here is Mini teaching Mo about the press:"Our human really likes this, so it's important that we make sure to biscuit it and nap here. regularly," "Ahhhh," thinks the little one. 
It has been very hot and I've been doing my best to make the house comfortable for the creatures. Luckily, Mini is a very smart kitty and always able to find the best napping spot in any room - here she is between the fan and the flowers.
Poor Honey, the heat is hard on her, and  I'm not sure she really understands why her human won't take her outside during the afternoon (she sits by the door around the time we usually go out and looks at me hopefully with her "now we go for a walk? Pleeeeeeease O:)" expression). Here she is with ice water and a new fox toy (already missing a few parts).  

One up side to is that we've gotten to see lots of pretty skies during long walks at dusk. Landscape shots of the week:

An excellent no filter sunset

I like the the star in this one.
This is a no filter shot where a very photogenic kitty graced us with their presence. :)  

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Stag plate experiment

A very busy week in Artlandia! 

So...once upon a time, after doing the Green Printmaking Certificate in intaglio at Zea Mays Printmaking in 2015, I started etching aluminum plates with copper sulfate at home.  I was working on a Tarot deck...but about 2/3 of the way through, I got frustrated with some aspects of the medium, and my attention moved to other things.  However, I didn't forget about etching and always meant to get back to it. So! When I read that there was a presentation of new research by Zea Mays interns, Tessa Chambers and Nick Osetek, relating to some of my previous frustrations with the material, I decided to make a field trip to hear the presentation. It was very interesting and the results will soon be available (among other interesting projects), online at: http://www.zeamaysprintmaking.com/research/technical-research/

One of the things I was interested in but had some frustrations with was etching large flat areas. I had a good feel for the line work, but large areas of tone were a problem. The research has some tips for preparing the plate, recommendations for how to brushing the copper off the plate, and a formula for recharging the bath.  I decided to try it right away along with some other other experiments that had been percolating in my mind. 

I thought I "chose" to etch a deer (but in writing the blog and looking back at the last plates I etched 3 years ago, actually one of the only non-tarot plates I ever etched, and the one where I got most frustrated with laying down tones was also - wait for it - a deer. Haha, so maybe it's not as random as I initially thought.

I etched the lines with Copper Sulfate into an Aluminum plate prepared with BIG hardground.  I added lines sequentially in 4 rounds of etching to get variable line widths. So far, this is familiar territory
 Then, I cleaned the plate off and stopped out the deer in order to work on the background. Since I last etched, I learned more about the use of sharpie paint markers as a stop out. 

Then I worked on the background.
 Then I stopped out most of the background and worked on the deer again...
 I think it's ready for a proof - fingers crossed!

That was my main art-activity this week. 

In creature news...
Cuteness overload!

Max's first time venturing into the studio!
I love this photo of the 3 of them - I think it really captures their personalities - Mini is looking on from above as the conscientious big sister, while Max and Mo are playing (with the same toy, of course, despite the presence of multiples, haha.) Mo is blurred in action while Max is a little more tentative, but reaching out.  
The Mo - Honey dynamic remains the same .
Honey is such a sweet dog, and she took her human on nice walks.

We went to her favorite swimming spot, and we had nice dog and human time.
The garden is really starting to bloom and pretty flowers this week, including one of my favorites - the blue delphinium.

Non-color corrected!
Also, Honey and I came across this glowing, non-color manipulated view of a hydrant 
And our landscape shots of the week:

and  bonus! I caught this raptor in flight!