Saturday, July 25, 2015

more, more, prints

Continuing to learn more printmaking techniques at Zea Mays! They average to a print a day (though the timeline wasn't quite that neat in reality, it's a good organizational structure ;) )

"Temperance"  tarot card, 6 x 4.5,"-  I have always wanted to make a set :)  
Baldwin Ink Ground (hardened) on aluminum, etched with Copper Sulfate in 2 stages (9 and 3 minutes), then spit etched.
Printed with stiff Black ink on warm white Hahnemuhle paper

My interpretation of "The Devil" tarot card
Baldwin Ink Ground (hardened) on aluminum, etched with Copper Sulfate in 3 stages (7, 3, 1:5 minutes), then spit etched.
Printed with Renaissance Black ink on warm white  Hahnemuhle paper

Tiny tarot card of Death! I have always wanted to make one of these :)
Baldwin Ink Ground (hardened) on aluminum, etched with Copper Sulfate in 3 stages (6, 3, 1:45 minutes), then spit etched.
Printed with bone black ink (haha!) on warm white  Hahnemuhle paper 
(waited for the ground to set overnight for less "foul biting" - those speckles in the background, and lowered the first etching time slightly)

I know, this seems like the odd (hu)man out at first, - I was learning about  photopolymer printmaking with a photographic image. In the same vein of re-interpreting early Renaissance images - one idea was a contemporary take on the portrait of Baptista Sforza by Piero Della Francesca

Photopolymer plate in mixed warm brown (bone black, stick black, red, transparent base) on 
 Hahnemuhle paper warm white, 5 x 7"

back to the tarot cards - "the Hanged Man" (at least I gave him a parrot to keep him company?)
Photopolymer exposure of a pen and crayon drawing on Denril paper
mixed brown ink (yellow, red, stiff black and transparent base?) on  Hahnemuhle paper, warm white, app 5 x 7"

Which brings us up to the present :). I'm taking some time off to share and support a major life event in the family (:)!!). More art to come next week!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

more adventures in printmaking :)

A busy week of printmaking! I'm learning so (so, so!) much and working hard to integrate it.

A visual breakdown of this week's art adventures:
Process: Baldwin Ink Ground - soft ground with textures pressed in (tarlatan for the grass and tin foil for the mountains)
baked to a hard ground, added the horse
then aquatinted
horse masked out, then soy ground etched
 horse re-masked and re-aquatinted
4.5 x 6," Portland black ink on warm white hahnemuhle paper
Baldwin Ink Ground (hard ground)
selective burnishing
6 x 4.5," stiff black ink on hahnemuhle paper
original collage with linocuts from last September (12 x 12")

edited and transferred to copper plate

tried some selective inking

added an aquatint layer and selective burnishing,
4.5 x 6," Renaissance black ink on warm white hahnemuhle paper
more bunnies - studying up to make more linocuts and now,  maybe transfers too! :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Printmaking Adventure!

A printmaking adventure! I'm learning green intaglio printmaking at Zea Mays Printmaking!

I started the week with something non-intaglio:
ballpoint pen on polyester lithography plate, 6 x 4.5"

detail, appr. 1.5 x 1" - drawing  this was anxiety-relieving

printed onto a Baldwin Intaglio Ground  plate as a guide drawing
(now, I "just" need to draw it ;) )

Here's one I drew on the plate:
drawing on prepared copper plate

copper plate

proof! 6 x 4.5"

Other art adventures this week:

the truck came to pick up a self-portrait as Queen
of Blue Birds (more on this to come)
As it left a butterfly landed on the railing - a good omen?
I also visited the Smith College Museum of Art

wnere I saw this lovely altarpiece (late, sweet-style, I think?) By Bartholom√§us Bruyn, the ElderGerman, 1493-1555The Coronation of the Virgin, c. 1515
I was most impressed - Mary wears boots!

and orange, industrial stuff :)
And there's an owl sculpture outside:
Leonard Baskin.,The Owl, 1962

and bunnies (very, not-scared bunnies)

And nature

with cows

Monday, July 6, 2015

still listening pausing

New goodies this week! 2 new, life scale blocks:) :

 and details to show the added drawing:

I tried a new (for me) transfer technique with these, and was so focused on making the portrait, that I didn't take process photos, but I remembered to document the development of the hands block.

So a little background to explain how we got here...these are my hands in the same pose as the polyester lithography plate from a few weeks ago.
ball point pen on polyester lithography plate
So I've been thinking (uh oh ;) )...
One idea was to take this polyester plate and print it onto a relief block as an under drawing. I've done this before (for example, with the raptor), and it works. I could also just redraw the hands on the block (also something I do a lot; it also works). But...

I got to thinking about the small heart from a few weeks ago. As mentioned, I've carved a lot of hearts, but I think this is the best. I got to wondering why - I think one reason it that the tools are well-matched to the level of specificity.

If that's it - great! Just use larger tools for the bigger piece, easy - right? ("easy" ? - hahaha.)

Another reason I think the small blocks are better is a little more complicated.  I think it has to do with the fact that I can see the whole thing at once. Above about 5 or 6 inches, I can't see the whole thing at once, and even though I take photos to see it small on the screen, unless I check very, very frequently (which is disruptive) the sections become disjointed, and I get a little lost in the pattern of the marks, loosing the structure of the thing they represent. So, the problem is not just using larger marks, but how to keep them relating to one another correctly (Hmmmmmm).

These are the small scale blocks from June 
The other transfer techniques work in part because I can check and make adjustments before carving (and also, it ensures that the carving is never a first attempt at rendering the thing - practice is built in).

Even though it works, I'm not sure it's the best way - I loose the drawing underneath and the media don't relate that closely. I wanted to look for a way where the relationship between the media is more straightforward and the computer does more of the work.  I like the smaller head and hands from June, so I decided to try to blow them up digitally, print and xerox them, then transfer to the block.

 It (sort of) worked.

xerox transfer to block - had a little trouble
with getting the paper off evenly without
damaging the transfer underneath (more practice needed)
Once I had the transfer, I used it as a guide - the size of the marks increased with the increase in overall scale, so it helped as a guide for larger marks.

But the smaller scale has less detail than a larger version can accommodate. So, once, I had as much information as I could get from the transfer, I let it go, inked the block, and went back to the source for more information. I added greater detail with the smaller tools around the information that was already there.

This idea of marks within marks and patterns within patterns is appealing to me. After I had the proofs, I tinted the paper a little darker with black acrylic, printed, and then added white and a tiny bit of color on top with ink, gouache, and color pencil.

block on the left - carved with the information from the transfer; on the right, round 2, adding new information
 On the one hand, I feel like I'm making progress (Yay!). On the other hand, there are some other art-things that need attention at the moment (Eep!)

One, necessary if not super-exciting thing I did this week was organize blocks. This always feels to me like a Sisyphian task (oy!), but looking at the photo from last week made me realize just how many blocks were out (the angel of loss figure alone has 8 full-sheet blocks, so, they do start to add up pretty quickly).

Overall, I am very happy with the blocks I use - because they're so thin and flexible, they're almost impossible to crack and can be stored vertically in books instead of needing trays (also - they come in a "classroom" pack - economic quantity is key :) ). Still...sometimes I feel like the blocks are taking over the studio. I thought I was doing a good thing to order binders and put blocks away (gold star!), turned out I needed twice as many binders as I have (Oops.)

books of blocks....
so much time represented in such a small space