Monday, May 1, 2017

Landscape and Chipmunk!

A very busy week in Artlandia!  

Here is one of the proofs with a quarter for scale.
First off - Good News!  I heard that the miniature print I carved using a sample of Gomuban from McClain's back in February was selected to be included in the 11th Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition 2017 at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking! (Third time's the charm ;) ).  I used a similar process that I developed for scaling and will be teaching this summer at WSW, except going in the opposite direction than I usually use it - making a template to carve smaller instead of larger.  

Speaking of small vs. large - one of this week's main goals was printing the 4 ft long woodblock for the unicorn's ground. 

This block was unusual for me in that it's pretty close to abstract.  Yes, it's grass...sort of, but really it's more of pattern that stands in for grass. (I know, technically, all art is a representation standing in for a things, but what I mean is that this felt like a step further removed for me because the carving was driven not by any observation of grass, but by building the pattern around the grain of the wood. )  I wire brushed the block (hard!) to raise the grain and give it that grainy texture. I selectively inked it to fade off at the top with Akua ink and printed by hand using a handy, new barren (thumbs up!)

It's a little hard to capture it in pictures, because of the size, so here it is in 3 views, getting close, closer.

I printed it several times, the idea being that I'd use them in overlapping horizontal bands.  I painted them and added gold speckles to help ease unify and ease the transition from the foreground to background. I've cut a shaped edge on two of the pieces, and will likely shape the biggest piece too (waiting for it to dry). Even though I'm still not quiiiite sure of all the details in terms of how to layer it in, I think the decision to redo the ground was the right one.

To reward myself for working on the giant, abstract-ish block, I carved a chipmunk.  I'm working on a commission and even though, strictly speaking, I could have used existing blocks, I've been really wanting a chipmunk for a while now.  I carved almost all of this in a day, practically in a single sitting ( though I did get up for human and creature bio-needs O:) ).  I admit, I really enjoy this one. Even as I'm trying to expand the range of what I can and do make, I still feel at my best carving small animals. 

The printing was challenging trying  to get all the detail in the block without it being too light or spotty, but (eventually!) I think I got it.
Also,  I think the next piece of studio equipment on my list needs to be a drying rack, haha :P 
 On the topic of creatures...remember how Jr. especially loved the rats? She used to carry the prints around and hoard them. looks like she's recognized the chipmunk as a rodent, haha.

And on a puppy side note - the rope toy for "aggressive chewers" was no match for my particular chewer-pup.  In fairness though, it lasted about a month, which is 3 weeks longer than other rope toys. And she loved it so much (as we can see, haha) - so the sneaky human "fixed" her toy, (by replacing it with a new one of the same while she was at day care. ;) )
Exactly a year ago!
black bulbs!
Now that she's over a year old (last year at this time she still fit in my arms and loved being carried, haha!), I've started taking her to daycare once a week so that I can mop, vacuum, wash bedding and toys and do prolonged work (it was the day I printed the landscape block and did all the prep work for the chipmunk.)  I think it's working out well all around.

made a special trip to the nursery
for some of my favorite annuals from last year.
Now that it's spring, it's also time for gardening!

My "safety orange" tulips came back