Sunday, November 23, 2014


polyester plate lithograph, 18 x 14" pronto plate on grey stonehenge paper. I drew the raptor on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, off to the printmaking studio and printed 12 (whew!)

I started adding some ink and acrylic to some - excited to try finishing these in different ways

 I also printed the plants, flowers, and parrots on the marbelized paper I made last week

The fine marks held up well in the prints (thumbs up!)

I couldn't decide on a color for the flowers (...and, and, and)

I drew this before the workshop and learning
more about handling the plates
(hence the background "noise" that is in the plate
- oops!Good thing I have scissors to help
make that go away ;) )
Just starting to mess with these to see
how they might go together
All in all, I pulled 47 prints on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday, I stripped wallpaper, sanded and painted the hallway and made no art. None.

Because I like learning new techniques, I sometimes worry that it seems like I just gather up techniques for techniques sake, but I don't think that's really true. I'm not able to explain it very well with words, but I feel like I need this technique as the complement to relief printing so that I can work in both positive and negative directions at the same time (which I see as a fundamental characteristic of what I want my work to do/be.) 

[I'm about to nerd-out - fair warning :) ] I've mentioned before that I love (love) the Nuremberg Chronicle - one thing I really admire about it is how in a single scene, an object, like tree trunk or roof line will be carved in both the positive and the negative within the same plate. (To illustrate better than I'd ever be able to explain (and a lot prettier too), I've taken a picture and added the circles:)
a detail of "Saltzburg," from the Nuremberg Chronicle, - in the upper right - tree trunk is dark on light background;
then just inches below in the lower left  - tree trunks light
bound by line surrounded by dark background.
This brings me back to my conclusion from Tempus Fugit 1 - that everything takes longer than I think it will. I made the skull plant for the "Forest of And, And, And" exhibition last July by scanning a found card of a plant, digitally modifying and printing it, then drawing and collaging on top. It worked as a place holder, but I wanted to be able to make my own plant images on a bigger scale/quantity.

The location of this (as we can see by the tank and tissue roll in the
lower left) ensures that I have been looking at it
every day, several times a day for the last 16 months.
It's taken me over a year to: determine, what it is (a reproduction of a late 15th - early 17th century N. European woodcut); find good examples (I heart Gerard's herbal!); get an economic/accessible version to spent lots of time with (for less than 3 fancy cups of coffee - a version with the image disc from Dover ). Then evaluate what's the best way to go about making this type of image now (polyester plate lithography didn't exist back then - yay technology ;)). Learn this technique, and finally practice it (on-going - Eep!) 

My desire for this technique is not random, but I feel like I still have so (so) far to go before I can use it the way that I imagined.

It was a good time for an art-time-out, and this  weekend I visited with my family in New York and we went to see exhibitions together at the Morgan Library and the Met. I loved the Crusader Bible at the Morgan, and "Death Becomes Her" show of Victorian mourning clothes at the Met costume center. We also saw "Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry" which I'd been looking forward to! (and I don't think I was tormenting my parents with wanting to look at tapestries for hours - I think it's more a case of the apple doesn't fall far from the tree).

I was impressed with the scale of the tapestries, and it was an informative to see preparatory drawings and even pieces of the cartoons close to the finished textile pieces. Naturally, one of my favorite parts was seeing the parrots and birds in the decorative borders, but the scenes themselves were ambitious in their scale and complexity too. Another favorite part was a multi-part woodcut that Coecke made based on his travels and a panel painting of Lovers Surprised by a Fool and Death which I was interested in for the content and association of the Fool with Death.  On the one hand, I like seeing what's possible, on the other hand, it sort of makes me feel lame and under-ambitious (how can I make room scale pieces on fabric too? Hmmmmm (and uh oh)).

I also went to the Museum of Natural History with my dad which was lots of fun. It's a little funny because even though it's not an art museum, it's like art is a google glass that overlays everything I see... 
posed just like Durer's
I'd been thinking that the parrots in Master P.W. of Cologne's 
cards must be African Grey's because of the date of the artwork.
(They look like they're drawn from life and what types of parrots would the
 artist have had that much access to at that time )
After looking at the markings and beak shape closely, I think that they are
(- which means the colors in the hand painted versions may have been added later - hmmmmm.).
Azurite - used to make blue paint in Medieval and Renaissance Europe (so pretty!)
and an owl, just because :)