Monday, August 18, 2014

phase 5 - have the fortitude to try again

The adventure continues with a busy art week!
Starting to come together...
Last week and early in the week I made this - blue birds of happiness -  as a gift for one of my favorite people. 

I started in plenty of time...I'm especially proud that I matched the background color almost perfectly with color pencil between the buildings and branches (gold star!). It was all going on time and according to plan (haha - uh oh ;) )...but then I decided it really needed the bird with it's wing outstretched...and flowers... I guess I'm still working on fully integrating one of the main conclusions of Tempus Fugit: Things take longer than I think they will. (I was right about the additions though ;)).

Part of the reason is that I usually don't get art things quite right the first try. (I composed, photographed, then decided that it needed different/ more elements). I think this is one of the great things about block prints and collage is that I get to try again (and again, and again ;) Also, as much as I wanted it to be ready on time, I have learned some things from the past - like not rush the varnish! 

I also made this to hang on my wall. 
That's right, Tatiana has learned to use glue and a bone fold! :P
This is my city print cut out and collaged onto a heavier weight of the same color paper
- making it look as if I pulled an extremely sharp and clean print
(or "using the skills I have to fake the ones I don't" ;)  )
As much as I told myself I was going to rest a little and not carve as much for a little while - I was lying (fortitude!)

I made another parrot. It's sort of an inverse but with a variation. With biological things, I think a pure mirror image has a different meaning beyond a change in position, so I modified it subtly - the head is tilted more and the neck a little more extended.

I do looooove parrots

I tried printing with white on toned paper. The blue one turned out best...
may try again on darker papers (fortitude!)
Working with the theme for phase 5 - have the fortitude to try again...
I feel like my blocks are better now than they were 6 months (or even 6 weeks :) ) ago, but I was having trouble pinpointing the exact reason until I realized that there may be multiple factors. So I did an experiment ('cause it's what we do :) ):

#1 Materials
This is the bunny block from this winter. On the left is a print from February, on the right, from this week. I haven't changed the block in any way, the difference comes purely from the change in paper and ink:

The finer marks are showing up better now. On the one hand, the materials are doing the heavy lifting in this improvement, but I feel I played a part in recognizing that this was a better block than it was originally printing and seeking out advice on the ink and paper choices from printmakers who are much more knowledgeable than I am

#2 Refinement 
On the left is the frog print without any drawing, on right with added gray, white and gold ink. It took me a while to figure out how to finish these. To me, the added drawing makes a difference, and I like that it makes each one unique (though it also means that they aren't technically "prints" anymore.) I've given this some thought and decided I'm ok with that because I'm more focused on how it looks than what it's called. I may never be a real printmaker, more like "an artist who uses prints," - it's all good :).

#3 Carving 
Lastly, I think some of it is just trying to be better at carving the blocks. The one on the left is from last month and the one on the right from this week. It's subtle, but I think the light is a little better in the one on the right and there is a greater variety in size and shape of the marks. With the mini-project, I felt like what I needed to get better at carving was to take some time to make lots and lots blocks, and I think spending that concentrated time has helped (...though, now that it's complete, I want to raise the bar for the next project...)

In para-art news:
Spontaneous still life (seriously!, Haha)
 I had the skull out to teach a portraiture
class and the rose is from my garden.
And, naturally, all is within the domain of my Feline Assistant 
My lovely feline assistants and plants seem particularly happy lately. Some shots from my yard (spreading the love :) )