Monday, August 22, 2016

fox and raptor

A busy week in Artlandia!  Having completed the blocks for the life-scale fox last week, this week I printed the head and tail blocks and booked press time (the week after next) to print the 30" block of the body - thumbs up.  

I made two subspecies of prints - first, I printed the blocks on a thin (acid free) white paper.  I loathe bright white paper, but the computer loves it (sigh), so I pulled one version of all the blocks that is specifically made to be scanned - the goal with these is to get a very clear, even, high contrast print that will be scanned to create a digital master and act as a physical "archive copy." 

The other subspecies, is on my favorite grey printmaking paper, toned by hand, and then heightened with white ink and gold (Mmmmmmmm).  These will become part of collages.  

Side by side for comparison - I think the difference shows in terms of the way the added white helps create volume - for example, rounding and bringing forward the muzzle, showing the planes in the forehead, and accenting the tips of the ears.  I also love having metallics in the eyes so that they react to shifts in viewer's position and light. Sometimes, I feel like the computer just doesn't fully appreciate the value of subtlety :p.      

And since I was printing blocks anyway, and they've been on my mind, I decided to re-print the raptor blocks. 

And then I digitally assembled them in layers, just like I would with a physical collage:
Once  that was done, I started trying them in digital collages combining them with the scans of the Gothic Tree block and a pattern I drew. Still not 100% sure if this is finished...I feel like it still needs just a little something more [and when I think that, it's usually true, so hmmmmmmm] - it's a start. 
The truth is that the raptor blocks are among my favorites. In part, they've been on my mind because I'm trying to adapt and expand the technique I used to make them to larger animals, like the fox, but beyond that, they're on my mind because I don't feel like I've used them as much as I'd like to yet.  These are a beautiful set of blocks,  and I feel like they deserve more/better. My hope is that by reprinting, scanning, and creating digital versions, I can expand the number and range of artworks in which they feature.

Following that same line of thought, I reprinted this - a Gothic architectural ornament. This is one of my early blocks, from July 2014, and it's always bothered me that I haven't used it in a collage yet. So I reprinted and scanned it while I think about how best to use it...(baby steps)

there's a metal trellis under there, with the paper held to both
sides with magnets (in case you were wondering how I can have all these prints out in a small space O:) ).
 Speaking of space...I did my annual summer space transformation.  This room had gradually become a disaster zone (in my defense, the "before" picture was taken after I started clearing out the room and had taken everything off the shelves that had been there.)

before - sadness.
after - muuuuuch better

 I am so happy with how it came together.  Mostly, this was just cleaning, organizing, rearranging, and adding one shelving unit.  It's nice to have all my art books together because I've been looking through book after book after book lately. Not exactly sure what I'm looking for, it has something to do with pattern/ornament and layers of space and Gothic tapestries/ stained glass/ architecture...(see what I mean by "not exactly sure," haha.)

Since looking at pictures hasn't yielded a clear answer yet, I decided to try to draw and not think about it (and hope that the question is running as a "background program" while I draw.) I took some stencils I have (these are about 5 cents each in a big multi-pack from the big box store.) I traced the stencils with pen and scanned the initial tracing, then printed it out multiple times to use as a personal coloring book which I filled with patterning.

I find doing this relaxing, (not unlike the line patterns I sometimes make, for example the ones from March).  While that's nice, I want to be able to do something with them (oy.)  So I tried scanning them and did some fun things - turning them into custom brushes and changing the size, color, repeating them. But one thing I wanted to do and was having trouble with was making individual shapes thicker (changing the stroke in Adobe CC terms). Finally, I had to admit what I already knew, that the program I was using isn't best suited to that, and that it's time to artist up and learn another program (it's been on my "to do" list to learn a vector based program, since so much of what I've been doing has expansion as a goal.) So, I bit the bullet and signed up for an online class in Adobe Illustrator...Let the games begin.

 In para-art news - my Little Bear continues to grow, and even though I don't have a puppy photo this week, I have a photo because of the splendid giant puppy - she led me to this excellent tree trunk in her quest to find the biggest stick (and sits on my feet and/or leans into my shins patiently while I photograph - good pup :) ).

Favorite flower of the week - the blue morning glories are blooming!