Monday, July 7, 2014

phase 3 redux - develop thoughtful algorithms, conclusion, and relief print mini-project week 1

I couldn't resist;
I had to cut it out and play with this week's blocks to see
how they might look as part of a larger composition

Firstly, to conclude phase 3 - develop thoughtful algorithms.

I feel like I had an opportunity to put this to the test with making the 3 still lifes last month, and I learned a few useful things:

1) the first step of an algorithm is usually subtractive rather than additive.

For me, it seems like the most productive general pattern is: subtraction, organization, addition. This is challenging because, as someone who's devoted to adding extraneous stuff into the life-mix, my first impulse is to jump right into the making (adding) part; but one conclusion I came to with phase 3 is that most projects go better if I remove excess material and ideas first, then organize, then add.

2) Fix some factors so that they can act as a "control" group.

With the still lifes, I was trying to learn a new paint, new support, and a new construction method, so I stuck with iconography (skulls, flowers, fruit) that I know well. It helped me focus and a few technical conclusion - golden high flow acrylic is incredible - high pigment load, ink-like viscosity, and a drying time so fast I couldn't believe. I love the new arches oil painting paper, but the support has to stay consistent between the objects and the background for it to take varnish evenly (oops - now I know ;) ).

3) The goal may not be the material result.

With the still lifes, I made the objects individually then combined them instead of paintings the still life as a unit because I wanted to know whether I could adjust the composition to existing objects instead of adjusting the objects to the maintain the composition (Yes :) ).

Now that phase 3 has reached its conclusion, I'm ready to jump into a mini project :)!

Relief Print Mini-Project

week 1 - blocks 1 - 6.
Following on the principle that not all time is the same, I looked back and concluded that July is by far my most productive art month. I tend to wake up in late March/ April, try to learn new techniques in May/June, and then in my excitement, test it out in July and early August, analyze in the fall and consolidate/ fix/ ruminate over the winter.

Over the past year or so, I've gotten really interested in relief printing. It took a while to find the paper, ink, and printing method that work best for me and to learn the tools and practice carving. I feel like I have a good grasp of the basics now, and I want to get really good at it.

Ever since I saw Durer's paper monument, I can't stop thinking - what would it be like if I had my own personal library of blocks? Picture the endless variations - different colors, different papers, different backgrounds, that I could arrange, and re-arrange, and re-arrange, in all sorts of combinations, adding blocks as needed...

On the one hand, it's a fantasy. Durer is, well, Durer (my heart be still!), and even he didn't carve the blocks for the paper monument himself (and neither did Hans Holbein the Younger for his Danse Macabre, another favorite). And I - am a lone cat person armed with a classroom pack of linoleum and a wooden spoon to print them, hahaha.

So...yes...hmmmmmm (Better not to think about it too much ;) )

If it were possible, I feel like I would need a certain minimum number of blocks as the baseline - maybe 50?

I got to thinking (uh oh ;)) - I bet if I carved a block every day, I'd get good at it, and I could reach the minimum of 25 new blocks to add to the app. 25 I've already made in about a month.... (steeples fingers -hmmmmmmm).

And so the mini-project was born.

 I'm going to carve 6 blocks a week* for one month - starting last week ;)
*with one day a week reserved for proofing and photographing

drawing based on
one of my zoo photos

in process
I use blue marker over the
areas I'm working on to
I can see where I've carved
I made the branches dense so that I can make variations
by cutting off the smaller limbs in different pieces 
In process, then cut into 3 for printing

Instead of adding black and white
ink to individualize the branches,
I printed them on found book pages.
I like the way this makes each piece
unique, but I felt terrible destroying
a book (even ones I get free off the
street). So this week, I searched until
I found a book I didn't mind tearing
apart and printing
over :p
My "classroom pack" of 12, 9 x 11.5" blocks arrived Saturday...which meant Sunday night I was up carving and proofing the parrot, snail, and frog trying to "catch up to myself," (Ahhhh, memories of the power in precision project!), but I did it - 6 blocks!

Onward :)!
with added black, white, and metallic ink

from my yard!
I predict there will be plants in the
blocks to come...
I carve kneeling on my grassy pillow on the floor and
there's just enough room on the pillow for a
small human and a feline assistant ,
(or rather, feline assistant #1 deigns to allow
the human to occupy the outskirts
of her pillow, while Jr. runs around the room,
coming over to head butt my elbow  for a pet and/or
sit on me every 30 minutes or so :)