Monday, September 30, 2013

phase 1 redux - appreciate and develop expertise

"Tinyland" at New River Community College in Dublin, VA
through December
So many art-adventures last week that I couldn’t write about everything all at once. In addition to the opening of "Tinyland" in Virginia and trip to Luray Caverns, there were two other art-relevant time/space events:

1)   the dark half of the year has commenced

2)  the feline assistant and I celebrated the one year anniversary of our move to Hudson (!)

The first one is not so good. Even though it’s still nice outside– I sort of feel like foliage is a conspiratorial form of beauty to distract from the fact that each day is a little bit darker than the one before it. (“Light” is on the “things I like” list – top 3). One of the first things I did when I moved was add lamps and start adjusting the color and brightness of all the bulbs. It’s kind of a weird and foolish thing to spend energy on, but it matters to me, and it bothers me that I haven't gotten it right yet (a “space” mission for the coming months.)

Reception n Virginia -
thanks to the fabulous and amazing Tammy!
It starts with an owl with a candle inside,
progresses to cookies in the middle, and ends
with diet soda with lots of ice. (Mmmmm).All on
an orange tablecloth with intricate, open-cut
leaves.and tiny transparent fall-themed baubbles
(and that's The Scream  in the background)
(Perfection !!!)
The happier thing is that I'll have a chance to work on this - the feline assistants and I have now been living in Hudson for a year! (Well not Mini, because she hadn’t been born yet, but she’s part of the family now J). I can’t believe it - 10 years, 3 countries, 5 states, 12 cities - and I'm here, living in the same place for a year with lots of nice people and no impending move hanging over me(!) I'm looking forward to seeing things for a second time. I'll be like: “well, last winter…[blah, blah, blah]” haha!

But on to the concrete aspects of the project (enough of this “reflecting,” onward to the art!) In Virginia, I gave a workshop on tiny printmaking. I loooove tiny prints and was super happy to share. In terms of expertise, I'm not sure I'm there yet - my total knowledge could easily be condensed into about 45 minutes of lecture and demonstration. On the other hand, it’s quick to say: “put your guide hand behind the carving hand so you don’t stab yourself,” but it is pretty helpful to have it explained (because sometimes, learning by doing hurts ;)). The printmaking 1 class and guests did a fantastic job! I hope everyone had fun and that (besides ways to avoid getting hurt) I was able to show that everyone can make things with devotion of time and attention - the tools and materials for tiny prints are about the cost of two fancy cups of coffee, and they fit easily in a sandwich container. Yay for tiny-art-making!

Prints from the demo used
in Viriginia
Trying to follow my own advice...I’ve had awesome opportunities to study and learn about engraving from experts, have obtained the tools and materials, and researched historic examples.

That whole "kitty-free-zone" idea -
good in concept...
(how's that working out?) haha
For me, learning a new technique feels like starting over, and this one may take a very long time to master (if I ever do), but then, that's not really an excuse for delaying (meep.)

 I’m using what I already know – I made this tiny print as the demo in Virginia. Engraving is a similar technique, but more difficult because the material provides more resistance (which is also what allows it to hold more intricate detail). The action of carving is similar, and it gave me a chance to practice with this image. I printed it directly onto the toned resin block so the resulting print will be a mirror image of the initial tiny print. It's pretty complicated iconography to start with (tiny horse with wings!), but even though I may be kind of setting myself up for failure, I'm going to go for it anyway (because it's not that big a deal if I mess up and better to have a bad image of something I want than a good image of something I don’t want, no?).
As-yet uncarved, toned resingrave block with transfer print

hmmmm - I’m can feel myself getting distracted haha - less talk, talk, talk, and more carve, carve, carve ;)