Monday, August 24, 2015

Phase 8 - make the right choice easy(er)?

A busy week here in Artlandia!  
I individualized all the rats by drawing on them with ink and colored pencil, then I sewed whiskers on. But they weren't standing out I ironed them to get them to stick out properly (that's right,  I spent time this week ironing the whiskers on collages of winged-rats - silly human.)

 Studio update - I broke in the new space! It's successfully transitioned to being an active space :). 

I didn't think I'd need any more flat space to store wet prints since they'll only sit out for a short time...but [of course there is a 'but' ;) ] I ended up filling the shelves in an single afternoon (and adding a temporary shelf as a result) - ah, 'the best laid plans of mice and men...'                                                                                                   The drastic under-estimation is actually a good thing though - it's because in the new space, I can print much faster - that's about 50 pieces from 16 blocks in a single afternoon. I'll take a drying rack issues due to productivity any day, and it inspired the theme for Phase 8: make the right choice easy(er) :)!
But I'm getting ahead of get to that point - New blocks this week!
I carved those beautiful hands in July...only to decide that I actually
want a different gesture for this piece (doh! - will have to come up a different piece for those :) )
I tried a new transfer technique for this block -
I photocopied a picture of my hand onto water soluble paper,
then transferred it to the block with gel medium and heat.
At first, it looked like it worked great!...
But, then as my hand moved across the block, it rubbed off.
I was disappointed because I had thought it worked
well initially, but I'm not giving up - there are
a few variables I can think of to try adjusting, and since,
 ultimately, it's about the result...about half way through,
 I ended up wiping away most of the transfer and free
 carving the rest.

I also carved this because, it turns out the
small rats are too small for the wings I had....
(sometimes I feel like Goldilocks when it comes to
matching the blocks)

And on the topic of Phase 8...I tried some new things with the paper as well this week.

 by printing on painted or marbled paper,
each one is unique and irreproducible.
I wanted to print the wings and tails on marbled paper and the fur and crown on painted paper -increasing the overall complexity of the piece and adding to the individuation to each element.
It occurred to me (admittedly, somewhat belatedly...:p), that to get the marbling denser, instead of adding more paint, I could just shrink the container [hand to forehead- duh!] For less than the cost of a fancy cup of coffee, I got a container just a little larger than a standard sheet of paper...
Maybe because of the small container size, I finally got the white paint
to show up! This is fantastic because up until now, I've only been able to
marble dark onto a light surface, now I can also marble light onto a dark surface
- this doubles the number of options for the color of the paper (Whoop!)
Still working in the bathtub though ;), but clean-up was much easier.
And! Turns out the print drier works great for drying marbles paper as well
 - two big thumbs up!

And in other Phase 8 developments...

Finally got a full-scale support up onto the wall[!!!] It's not exactly pretty, and I'm sure there will be changes as things develop, but this was one of those "done is better than perfect" things where I just needed to get something (anything!) up onto the wall and functioning so I can move forward... 

standard D rings, 2 thumbtacks, a piece of wood, pet screen
and some quality
time with the staple gun

In addition... 

Also trimmed the edges, framed, packed, and shipped this one: Angel of Loss is headed to New York where happily it's going to be included in the upcoming 126th Annual Member's Exhibition of the National Association of Women Artists at the
Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery - opening September 10th 6 - 8 pm
Lastly - a kitty story.

So...I mentioned last week, that it seems like my feline assistants particularly like the rats. 

But then, I told myself "O, no, it's probably just confirmation bias...maybe they'd be drawn to anything that I was working on in a cool, comfortable space and was getting lots of attention.    
And Yet...

 I almost couldn't get a shot of the rats without Jr.'s assistance.

"Well, maybe Jr. has just missed being a 'helper' while I was working at Zea Mays..."

Then, one of the rats went missing. This is unusual - active parts of collages do not often go missing...

It turned up later out in the hallway. "That's weird...but it has tape on the back; it must have gotten caught on something and tracked out here..."

That was a good rationalization...until later that evening, when Jr.trotted into the bedroom with the same rat between her teeth and proudly dropped it on the floor next to her toy.

....Or maybe, it seems like she particularly likes the rats - because she particularly likes the rats. [Hahaha!]

This confirms my opinion that the idea of "anthropomorphizing" is inherently flawed (not to mention species-centric/narcissistic) because it assumes that qualities, like aesthetic appreciation or altruism are somehow "human-specific" in the first place.

Jr., at least, has excellent taste in art, and I appreciate her vote of confidence in the naturalism of my work :)!