Sunday, January 31, 2016


I know, I was all excited about the new bunny block last week...but then I got to thinking about it (uh oh).

I decided it could be better, and once the thought was there, it couldn't be un-thought, so...

The thing is, I'm learning so many new things that, at times, it's hard to organize the information fast enough to make it useful, so  I did what I do and made a list.

Ways to improve the bunny:

- make changes to the block
- resolution of the scan
- choices during file manipulation
- resolution of the printer
- choices refining the plate
- choices during printing
- choices refining the print

Which one will fix it?  I wasn't sure, so I did all of them ;)


Before and After, changes to the block and to the ink

I like the new block of the bunny, but then I wanted to take it further and see if I could  improve the digital process. I upped the resolution on the scan and on the printer output.

I also made slightly different choices while working with the file - particularly in translating it to black and white.

Then, [fun!] I played with the file to move the ears around - I didn't even need to recarve them. I also flipped the image so that I could get two plates.

I printed with the higher resolution onto polyester plates and, satisfied, I (printmaking-) printed onto toned paper. Some of the paper was already painted to mimic the patterns of fur.

Then I cut out and refined the prints adding acrylic paint, color pencil,and ink - on the left is the straight print and on the right is the print with added color.- it really brings depth. I especially like the way the eyes come to life.

the one from the left above, after adding paint and ink

still a little ways to go - adding a little bit of pink to the nose, eyes, ears, and chin, 
and then cutting it out...
(Then, collaging can begin ..)

a test of what it might look like collaged over a background. - love this new paper! I haven't quite decided what to do with the ground and still feeling like they need a little something more...

 Ashamed of having put the prints on the floor to dry, but not really having space for a drying rack, I put magnetic strips up on the wall - much better, thumbs up!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Wing! (And a cute kitty story :) )

A very busy week in Artlandia!

I can't wait to show this - we have a wing!!

Still need to refine it and attach the parts, and there will be more (better) photos to come, but I was so excited that I photographed it the second after it came together :D!

But, I'm getting ahead of myself...before there could be a wing, there was paper marbling.

This was a very successful round of marbling - the colors came out nice and dense, even the yellow, and they were spread across the whole surface of full sheets of Stonehenge paper (thumbs up!)

Once the marbling was complete, it was time to try the press. I was a little apprehensive because there's usually an adjustment printing any type of plate for the first time, but...

This was the very first print off the new press (who still doesn't have a name...)

Near perfection! I was so excited - I think it's an auspicious start and that it means that the press and I are very compatible - I ran the plate through un-inked to calibrate the pressure and could feel really clearly when it was right.

So, then I printed this plate and the primaries on the marbled paper. Gorgeousness! Then it was time to switch to the polyester lithography plates...

I wanted to try something different to try to minimize the seams in the plates...

I decided to arrange the.seams along the form. I can't take credit for this idea, most famously, Edvard Munch used it, and I knew when I started working with the polyester plates that it was probably the way to go, but this was my first time trying it.  I cut the block for the tops of the feathers, then traced it onto the two different blocks for the feather tips and cut them so that they'd fit together like a puzzle.

This was a little challenging because it needed to match two different tips plates. So, after cutting, I drew on the plates for the tips so that the drawing lined up (the same way I would refine the print to fix the seams, but by doing on the plate instead, the corrections make it into all the iterations of the prints).

 I was still a little anxious about changing the pressure on the press for the first time to print the polyester plates. First polyester print:
We are a good team - I think the printing-future is looking bright :)

Cutting the seams worked really, really well!  See the seam across the middle of the photo? It's tiny, and that's before going in to refine it.  I'm confident that after I draw into this, it will be nearly undetectable [thumbs up!]

Polyester plate on the left and relief block in the upper right

And the combination of relief and polyester lithography plates is a (shockingly!) good match.  Still refining to do, but I think it's a close enough match that it will work to use these two different techniques to build up parts of a single object (the wing).

A new chapter of art-funtime has already begun ;) 

But the wings weren't the only thing this week. I also finished carving this block of a bunny and printed it.    
Then I scanned it and made a polyester lithography plate.

I want this for a specific reason (in addition to "bunnies are beautiful, and I think they might look great with wings, or maybe antlers" ;) ). About a year ago, in  January 2015, I tried making variants of raptors by mix and matching blocks and physically cutting out and assembling the parts:

Now, I want to try a similar thing with the bunny, but by layering in the digital space, so instead of physical parts, I'll have a single plate. (The bunny is perfect for this because it's the right size to fit on a single polyester plate).

In other art-news, I submitted a portfolio to the Zea Mays flat files. I decided to send the Fledermice for review to be included in this year's files - fingers crossed that the jury likes them :)

Even though this is already a very long post. I'm including a cute kitty story. I know, it's self-indulgent, but I can't help myself- it just makes me so happy that I want to share.

Some background:
Princess, in her pre-Junior days
Jr. is 6 years younger than my princess. She joined our family when an acquaintance's cat had kittens, and the conversation went something like:

- "So, I noticed you really love your little cat (Princess)."
Me: "O yes, she's my baby."
- "Yeah, black and white cats are really cute."
Me: "The cutest!"
- " my cat just had some black and white kittens..." [We see where this is going. ;) ]

Junior as a baby
I hadn't been planning on expanding our human-feline family, but when I heard about the kittens, I decided that it would be nice for my lovely assistant to have a buddy, and that the timing was right...but I knew who would need to remain Alpha.

So while all the kittens were adorable, I knew I was looking for a little girl Beta kitty. and when Jr. trotted up and rolled over on her back to have her belly petted. I knew she was the one.

Ever since then, she has followed her big sister everywhere adoringly.

It's taken a little while for Princess to get used to not being an only-kitty.

In the early days

But being a very clever kitty, once she realized that Jr. was here to stay, she decided to interpret the expansion of our family as a promotion from Princess to Queen.

grooming earlier this week
Everyday at about the same time, she comes over and settles next to Junior on the bed, and that is the sign that she is ready to be groomed.

The Queen does not reciprocate.

Not ever.

...Until, this week [!!!] My elegant Princess came over to a napping Jr., and without any prompting, gave her a lick on the top of the head. I couldn't believe my eyes :D.

It's a triumph of love. Everyday since she was a tiny kitten, Jr. has been giving her big sister love and affection without the expectation of receiving any in return. Until, one ordinary day, Two and a Half Years Later, her big sister decided that today was the day to show her love for our little Jr.

Jr. didn't open her eyes, but I could hear her purring from across the room. :)
She may act like she merely tolerates her little sister, but we know the truth ;)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lovely Article and Press!!

A very (very!) exciting week in Artlandia!

First, a lovely article by Chelsea Campbell about my recent work at Women''s Studio Workshop:
 "The In-Between Space: Tatiana Klacsmann in the Studio," :

Very cool! So well-written and really getting to the heart of my art-mission in a clear way.

In the studio, I (finally!) finished the final wing block! (!!!)

I did a similar thing to last week, where I printed the block, which is 12 x 18" on 3 sheets of paper, then scanned them individually and cut and pasted them back together digitally.

the 3 hand printed 8.5 x 11" sheets from a single 12 x 18" block

digitally reassembled - think I'm getting better at putting them back together seamlessly on the computer - thumbs up!
I can't believe the human-scale wing may actually be complete and ready to print(!) The timing is perfect because (drumroll....) look what's joined the studio!(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I can't believe she's truly mine (heart!) - game-changer/life-changer - going all-in now! :D 
This is so exciting that words sort of fail me. My kind friend helped assemble and level her, and she's all ready to go this week (though still looking for the right name - hmmmmm.)

 In other art news, I got to decorate a bowl for the upcoming Chili Bowl Fiesta at Women's Studio Workshop . It was a wonderful day with friends, and it makes me happy to think I might be helping through art! 


 :) - Feb. 27th, 2 - 7 pm, admission is free, and this and many other beautiful bowls will be for sale to help support the studio :)

Just because the wing is (*possibly, maybe*)
complete, doesn't mean I'm done carving
(though maybe a small break from feathers
 for a while ;) )
  - already started the next block.
Can you guess what it is? 

This is kind of random, but the color of the snow
was so intensely indigo that I felt I needed to take
and share an un-color-manipulated picture:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Still listening, listening, listening....

Guess who made their first polyester lithography plates at home today!!!(!!!)
(And I only had to return to the store to exchange the printer once, and yes, when the first plate printed,  I jumped around the house while my feline assistants looked on perplexed, probably thinking: "crazy human.")

But it works(!!!!)

new polyester plates, laid over the cartoon.
This is excellent news because it means the large block I'm carving can be the last for the giant wings; AND if the printing goes well, and I can get good enough at joining and printing the polyester plates, then I can scan and flip the wing blocks and transfer them onto polyester plates instead of carving a second wing (fingers crossed!) This would save me hundreds of hours of work - not that I don't want to put the time into carving, more that, now that I've carved it once, I don't really see the benefit of carving it a second time as a mirror image. I'd much rather spend that time carving something new (like a unicorn perhaps?)  

Progress on the final wing block.

keeping my carving pillow warm for me - such an
excellent helper
Initially, I thought there were going to be 5 blocks, but it turns out there are 8 parts, 7 block/plates, with one of the polyester plates being used twice. Then again, I thought there were 18 blocks/plates in the figure, but when I counted, there are 34; so, not the best track record on estimating here - maybe just like everything takes longer than I think, everything is also more parts? 
 It wasn't all blocks and plates this week (though mostly, it kind of was :p ), I've also continued with the January "Big Clean."  Still not quite finished with this, but made progress on the stairwell down to the basement - discarding, cleaning, repainting...fortituuuuuude!
Some very exciting developments in the works...stay tuned :)!