Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Stag plate experiment

A very busy week in Artlandia! 

So...once upon a time, after doing the Green Printmaking Certificate in intaglio at Zea Mays Printmaking in 2015, I started etching aluminum plates with copper sulfate at home.  I was working on a Tarot deck...but about 2/3 of the way through, I got frustrated with some aspects of the medium, and my attention moved to other things.  However, I didn't forget about etching and always meant to get back to it. So! When I read that there was a presentation of new research by Zea Mays interns, Tessa Chambers and Nick Osetek, relating to some of my previous frustrations with the material, I decided to make a field trip to hear the presentation. It was very interesting and the results will soon be available (among other interesting projects), online at: http://www.zeamaysprintmaking.com/research/technical-research/

One of the things I was interested in but had some frustrations with was etching large flat areas. I had a good feel for the line work, but large areas of tone were a problem. The research has some tips for preparing the plate, recommendations for how to brushing the copper off the plate, and a formula for recharging the bath.  I decided to try it right away along with some other other experiments that had been percolating in my mind. 

I thought I "chose" to etch a deer (but in writing the blog and looking back at the last plates I etched 3 years ago, actually one of the only non-tarot plates I ever etched, and the one where I got most frustrated with laying down tones was also - wait for it - a deer. Haha, so maybe it's not as random as I initially thought.

I etched the lines with Copper Sulfate into an Aluminum plate prepared with BIG hardground.  I added lines sequentially in 4 rounds of etching to get variable line widths. So far, this is familiar territory
 Then, I cleaned the plate off and stopped out the deer in order to work on the background. Since I last etched, I learned more about the use of sharpie paint markers as a stop out. 

Then I worked on the background.
 Then I stopped out most of the background and worked on the deer again...
 I think it's ready for a proof - fingers crossed!

That was my main art-activity this week. 

In creature news...
Cuteness overload!

Max's first time venturing into the studio!
I love this photo of the 3 of them - I think it really captures their personalities - Mini is looking on from above as the conscientious big sister, while Max and Mo are playing (with the same toy, of course, despite the presence of multiples, haha.) Mo is blurred in action while Max is a little more tentative, but reaching out.  
The Mo - Honey dynamic remains the same .
Honey is such a sweet dog, and she took her human on nice walks.

We went to her favorite swimming spot, and we had nice dog and human time.
The garden is really starting to bloom and pretty flowers this week, including one of my favorites - the blue delphinium.

Non-color corrected!
Also, Honey and I came across this glowing, non-color manipulated view of a hydrant 
And our landscape shots of the week:

and  bonus! I caught this raptor in flight! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


A busy week in Artlandia!  

First, the art - I finished the first of the love bird and rose bush collages - thumbs up!

Work continues on the large drapery block

I finished the sphinx and snail collage.

Some work was accomplished...but I got a big surprise this week too...
So to make a long story short - during the winter I had applied to more than one rescue organization to adopt a kitten.  When I was approved to adopted Mo, I called back the other organizations to say that I had found a wonderful kitten; so, I was a little surprised to get a call about a kitten in need of a home, but said yes to meeting him... (can we guess how this story ends?)

I thought about it overnight just to be sure, but Mo and Mini have bonded so well that I thought it would be ok to add one sweet, docile kitten to our creature family.  Apart from buying and setting up an additional litter box and checking on a few vet details, there really wasn't much I needed to do to prepare at home...

Welcome our newest addition! I didn't have a name picked out, so I'm not sure yet, but I'm thinking either Mack or Max (short for Maximilian in honor of one of my favorite artworks - Durer's triumphal arch of Maximilian.)  He's a gentle, fluffy, all black kitten who I strongly suspect based on his double coat and lynx tipped ears is at least partly Maine Coon. It's been a big adjustment for him, and at first he was very frightened, but he seems to be gradually coming out of his shell. He and Mo are fast friends, and I'm so happy to watch them play together. 

I think Mini knew he was scared and gave him some space at first. She is a wonderful big sister, checking in on the kittens and watching them from a little distance.  I think she's happy that Mo has a little sibling to play with now, so he can expend his energy playing with his brother then come over by her to rest.
Mini and Max touching noses
Already captured all 3 together!
In other creature news, the creature's grandma sent us a present! It's a gate within a gate and all three took to it right away (*Max is not ready to come downstairs yet, and it may be quite a while before he and Honey meet.)
...and notice Mo in the background on Honey's bed...

Mo has decided that he belongs in the middle of Honey's bed, and she graciously allows it.   
Honey Good Girl.

I am beginning to suspect that Momiji may be an Alpha-kitty in training.  He loves to be held and cuddled, and this week, he started to ride on my shoulder. He takes his role as Feline Assistant, Jr. very seriously.

Admittedly, I spent a great deal of time playing with the kittens this week, but I also went on some adventures with Honey - landscape shots!

 The last 2 are not from walks with Honey, but instead from a walk I took near Rosendale, NY after attending an excellent opening and slide night at Women's Studio Workshop

We close with a bouquet from the garden in a pretty davistudio vase - onward!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

love birds and drapery

 A busy week in Artlandia!

Work continues on the love bird and rose bush collages started last week.  This week I printed the roses on color paper to collage in.  I decided that they were a little too dark not only due to pressure/ ink, but because they could use another round of carving.  Sometimes, I hesitate to go back into a block that is already so close to completion, but after the second state carving went well on the love birds last week, I decided to go for it, and I think it was the right decision - state proofs below:

Once I had the roses, I turned to deciding which birds to use.  I wanted to try something new with these - I printed them in a non-water soluble ink to see if I could marble after printing. The Answer: yes. I think this might be more efficient because this way I only marble successful prints (no mis-prints on marbled paper). Though I did need to be pretty careful with the marbling to try to place the colors where I wanted them.  

 Once I'd marbled the love birds, I added ink, acrylic, and watercolor.  I cut the flowers and birds out and started arranging trying the different color combinations and placements.

right now I'm working on 3 collages with a blur of kitten-in-motion for scale :)
I was going to carve the foot separately, but decided to draw it in
(my thinking is that I can always cut it off the print and collage in a different
one later, but because the drapery indicates only a single position for
the foot, it's ok to go ahead and carve it in). I can confirm that those are indeed my toes. 
 In addition to the love bird and roses collages, I kept working on the drapery block. It's slow going, but still, progress!

It was very nice to have a two kitty audience again keeping me company while I carved. Junior loooves the carving pillow - I had put it away after Sunny died because it made me too sad to see it out of the corner of my eye and think for a split second that she was there waiting for me. It's funny though because he found it and went right to it.  I wasn't sure what I thought about that at first, but put it back in the room and it quickly became his favorite spot. As much as it was a little sad at first, it's so sweet to look up and see him napping next to me while I work.
Mo, Feline Assistant, Jr. happily napping on the carving pillow

Sunny, last August, doing one of her favorite things in one of her favorite spots 
Since we're on the topic, in other creature news - I caught Mo observing with great interest as Mini pawed at and tried to reach into her food bag (ah, there's a reason it's in a basket suspended off the floor, haha).  It was funny to observe knowledge being passed from one feline generation to the next. 

In terms of canine - feline sibling bonding, I've started letting Mo come in the kitchen with me and Honey. He seems very curious about her, and she seems to love him - though she might prefer that he not lounge in the middle of her bed with her toy, haha: "Um, Human...?" Ah, family bonding :). 

Honey continues to be an excellent hiking buddy, and we're enjoying the summer weather in the woods. 

In addition to our adventures in the woods, we've been spending outside time in the yard. This year's roses are very pretty and the most numerous yet.

Caught the fireworks, in focus and at just the right moment, at night
-photography gold star!
had to capture the stripes in the sky

This week's no filter sunset