Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tracery, Snow Leopard, Birds

12 x 22" new tracery block
 sitting on the press bed
 A busy week in Artlandia! I finished the tracery block and proofed it - thumbs up!  This is a pretty subtle block with lots of very tiny cuts, so I was worried they wouldn't show up in the print. 

detail of first proof
The good news is I did get most of the detail to show up in a proof; the bad news is that it seemed like each time I printed it, some of the detail "filled in." I don't think the block healed over, but I may have to clean it and let it dry between prints and/or try proofing it with a slightly stiffer ink.

For now, I was just excited that the detail showed up in the proof, and I got to see it with the turrets. I'm relieved that they seem to co-ordinate well.

new tracery block proof with proofs of the turrets
Once the tracery block was proofed, I wanted to carve a new block.  It was the first block I've ever carved in my home studio without Sunny by my side.  I miss her very much and since carving was something we always did together, at first, it was just too sad working without my faithful feline assistant. One of my friends had the good idea to carve a block that in some way reminded me of Sunny, so that I could be thinking of her in a happy way while working and making something to honor her.  Sunny had beautiful, fluffy fur - I loved brushing her and she was very proud of her long silky coat and thick mane. I decided to carve a snow leopard. 

Having this block material in a roll allows me to carve larger. (The minimum is 12" for the width of the roll instead of  9" for the 9 x 12" pre-cut blocks). So, this is a slightly larger scale than the previous animal I've carved from this material.  It didn't feel that different to me, but I'm glad for the extra size/ greater detail because I'm thinking that I will follow the same process that I used with the fox - scan the print and blow it up to use as a template for a life-scale block. 

proof of 12 x 15" new block of snow leopard
I'm very happy that the detail from the block showed in the proof, but I had almost the exact same problem I had with the tracery block - the detail "filled in" with each subsequent print. Between this block and the tracery block, I quickly ran through the end of my paper roll before I was able to work out this issue (which may be for the best because I was getting pretty frustrated.)  Sometimes I find an issue can be fixed just by completely cleaning everything and starting again from the beginning. So I cleaned the block and my work area and will try again when the new roll of paper arrives.

Since I'm out of the large grey paper that I usually use,  I went ahead and finished an experiment I'd started a few weeks ago that was intended for black paper. I had scanned one the prints from one of my bird blocks, inverted it, drew on a print out, re-scanned it. I combined the new image with the scan of the winding key block I made 2 weeks ago to make a polyester lithography plate to print in gold on black paper of new automata bids. I think it worked pretty well and am in the process of printing more of these to use in upcoming collages. 

I also re-proofed some recent bird blocks on letter sized paper.  I liked these, but thought the first state was a little too dark, so I carved away a little more to make them brighter and try to get the heads to really come forward over the bodies.  Seeing them with the automata, which is based on a bird block from 2014, I can see how I started with poses with limited foreshortening and am gradually working toward more complex (and lively) poses. 

 "Endless Forms - Most Beautiful" at Scarlet Seven Gallery 
In other art news - I got to see two great shows in Troy - "Endless Forms - Most Beautiful" at Scarlet Seven Gallery and "Please Exit: Doors are Closing" at the Arts Center of the Capital Region.  

Tatana Keller, "Please Exit: Doors are Closing
"at The Arts Center of the Capital Region

In creature news, I know poor Junior misses her big sister (how can she be Feline Assistant Junior without Feline Assistant Senior?) I've been giving her lots of snuggles, and she's been sticking close.  One thing I changed in the studio was the carving pillow - it was just too sad for me seeing the carving pillow without Sunny on it. As we can see, Jr. has taken to the replacement pillow immediately and is ready and eager to assist. 

Honey has had an exciting week - she got a beautiful new harness from her Grandma (size XL - she's all grown up now :) ). It's nice and orange and we got to test it out on our first trip to the conservation area for 2018. 

Miscellaneous nature shots: 
A no-filter sunrise in Hudson
A no-filter sunset...from the parking lot of the big box store.