Thursday, December 3, 2015

On the Wall

Since it is officially the Peace On Earth season what could be more fitting than to put the Peace in Print up on the wall?  So, here it is on the wall at North Bank Gallery in Vancouver, WA, in time for the First Friday Art Walk.  Let me tell you, one has to be a bit of a contortionist to get this baby on that wall.  Fortunately, there were enough people passing through while I was attempting this that they could hand me the hammer, or hold this end for a minute -- and they were all willing to help, lucky for me!

I have a better table for the book and will take that in tomorrow and get it all set up right and proper like.

It will probably end up under the sign and poster and the small print bin will move someplace else.

Another view.  I'm betting we will have a ton of people go through and it will be fun to hear the comments!  If I can remember I will take photos tomorrow night --

To all who were participants in the Puzzle Project - here's another line on your resumé - North Bank Gallery 1005 Main St., Vancouver, WA.

Happy Holiday!

Here are those kids again!  They seem to have moved into my imagination and plan to stay there.
This is one of those times when I really need your input, if you would please.  What do you think of this direction?  Is it silly, simplistic, fun, funny, has possibilities, or junk this stupid idea right now.

The Giant's garden: Christmas Morning is the latest in this series:

The kids all seem to be pretty happy with what they've found - the puppy has yet to open her gift and is a little anxious about the whole affair.  The frog just watches.  And I'm wondering if I should be making these as woodblock prints, or doing them at all.

I'll be eagerly awaiting your ideas and comments and if they are not pats on the back, but more like pats on the head, I promise not to send the Art Exterminators after you --  ;-)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ponies as art?

I confess:  I really do not know what is art and what isn't anymore.  All I know is that my gallery has called for Toy related images for Dec.  It is a group show and the entire downtown is going to be toy themed.  Ugh.  I don't do toys.  Or do I?  For the year of the horse last year I did a little ride about pony that my granddaughters both dearly loved.  They rode that pony until I think it's little red wheels were down to the hubs.  As usual, I had printed way more cards than I needed for the Horse Year, so I took one of the left-overs and whacked off the 2014, added an eyeball and a different ribbon, and voila! We have art.  I think.  What I do know for sure is that it is a toy. Of course, I didn't think of taking photos until it was already in the frame, so I apologize for the reflections.

All dressed up in a frame, he-she-it is looking pretty fancy.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Where did this come from?

Surprise!  I know -- it has been many moons since I've sat down to actually do a blog entry (as opposed to thinking about doing a blog entry).  Last winter I broke my shoulder, actually gumming up the rotator cuff, and causing it to scream some of the most obscene obscenities.  The result has been the better part of a year with no production.  The first quarter of the year I was stumbling around with a blank mind -- absolutely nothing going on up there. The skull functioned purely as a place to stick my face and place a gob of hair on it.

Finally, at some point in the Spring, the urge to sketch and think about getting back to work happened. Maybe it was Maria's Peace Puzzle piece arriving and needing to have something drawn and carved, or maybe it was the longer days and more sunlight.  Maybe I was suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Whatever it was I started sketching every evening while propped in front of the TV.  Mostly it was Zentangle type things, but then children started entering the scene.  I have no idea where they came from, but more and more of them kept appearing.

 And then, the strangest thing of all happened, they started interfacing with the medallion/mandala drawings and the next thing I knew there were children playing in the Giant's Garden.

One of the galleries where I show my work has a Salon group which meets once a month and anyone having any questions, or just wanting to socialize, can bring a work needing a critique.  So, one Sunday I took my sketchbook and asked the group what they thought of my kids.  Maybe they were just being kind to an older person with her arm in a sling, but they all encouraged me to go on and see what I could do with them.  And this is what came of that.

Many more sketches ensued and finally I got up enough gumption to actually place one of the kids on a Solarplate and make an intaglio print.  And so here we have the result of that action:

It is actually on BFK and considerably lighter and more black and white than this, but you get the idea; fairly boring and not all that much fun. Mostly a gabble of lines and confusion.  So, we add a little color.  Considering the cost of plates and making one for each color, more or less, I opted for hand color.  What I didn't consider when making that decision was that it would have to be done with a brush with three hairs and would take all day.  Other than that everything was perfect.  Here's the result of one day of coloring, more or less:

The Giant's Garden:  Tea Time
6" x 8"
It will be a very small edition - depending on how long I am willing to sit and color!  Many activities have been taking place in the Garden.  The Giant must be a very gentle and generous being, but it has told the kids that they can play as much as they want.  And, they will! And, they are!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yet More Superb Starling and The Hunt For Iridescence

You're probably thinking that I'm beating this poor old Starling print to death, but I wanted to share a few new things I learned on the way to finally getting an iridescent Superb Starling.  I had tried everything from soup to nuts including several different inks, mixing mica with the ink, mixing gold powder in the ink, chine colléing (is that a verb?) several different papers, and finally cutting a stencil and applying the mica on top of the wet Akua ink.  Bologna! Nothing achieved the effect I wanted or came close to the bird I was trying to replicate.  And then - whoopee!  I discovered this wonderful paper at a local art store - it is --- IRIDESCENT!!  Wowie - I could hardly wait to try it.

It is listed as Purple Somethingorother, and it can be solid purple until you move and then this luscious limey green appears, and some turquoise and some gold, or wait maybe that's pink.  It is amazing.  The red paper under it is regular red mulberry.  Well, I got right to work cutting out little bird bodies and red breasts.  And then I tried to print.  Surprise!  Ink printed everywhere, but none on the bird body.  This wonderful paper would not accept ink!  What the ...? 

Phooey, (or similar exclamation) as we seasoned printmakers like to say at times like these.  I gave up on that process for the moment.  On the same day that I bought the problem paper I also bought some plain white lacy papers with the intent of exposing them onto solar plates and using them as background texture.  The first exposure went as usual: nothing on the plate.  Not to be discouraged I inked some of the paper with black ink, exposed again and voila!  Perfect.  So, that is what I used for the background on this Starling print. 

Now back to the reason for the Phooey (it's a technical term) statement.  I put the Akua inks away and went back to the old standby: Gamblin Artist Colors Portland Black.  Same result - ink everywhere but on the iridescent wonderful glorious paper which is now causing me to become mildly irate.  Back on to the shelf it went and down came the Litho Roll Up ink - the muscle bound, body builder of inks. Yes!  A little difficult to maneuver, a bugger to wipe, but it prints beautifully on my wonderful heart fulfilling purply-green-turquoise, gold, pinkey paper.  Yaha!  We have success, Houston!  Not the best photo - ignore the shadow in the lower corner -

It is still difficult to see the iridescent quality in a photo - maybe you just have to take my word for it or maybe it will be more evident if you click on it and see it larger.  Or, maybe this little close-up will help  (there's darned shadow again, darn it) -

Yeah, I think you can see the sparkle in his coat in this close up.  The detail of the background from the lacy paper shows up, too.

So, those are my recent successes, you really don't want to see all the failures that transpired during the trip to the final printing of the Superb Starling.  I'm confident that all the East Africans from Kenya and Tanzania will approve of my take on their resident bird.

My apologies to all my woodblock buddies - this is not a woodblock, but it could have been!  And, maybe my struggles with the ink and chine collé will help you someday - maybe - could happen -

Monday, January 26, 2015


There has been little or no printmaking taking place around here while waiting for a broken shoulder to mend.  The break was in mid-December, so we are pretty much healed and ready for rehab. Physical therapy (aka Extreme Interrogations of muscles and ligaments beyond what any human is expected to endure) starts this week.  I am such the wimp.

Meanwhile, however, while sitting around waiting for healing to occur I discovered The Pi Project which is a collaboration put together by local Vancouver (WA, not Canada) fiber/textile artist Sally Sellers.  Sally was clever enough to notice that March 3 of this year will be 3/14/15, the first digits of pi = 3.1415 ad infinitum, so she asked artists from all over the planet to make 9.5" square flags with any number from 1 - 0.  There was a great article on the project in our local paper, The Columbian , which explains it all.

Being temporarily one armed this was right up my alley and provided several evenings worth of entertainment.  First came Four:

And then came 0:

The ouroboros seemed to me to be the perfect representative for 0 -  you can't get much more circular than when you consume your own tail.  

Next on the agenda is a return to printmaking - first comes the sketch and then the decision: should it be woodblock or should it be etching?  Guess I should do the sketch first....

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Startled Starling

When we left off we had two transparencies ready to expose.  We exposed and then had: 2  exposed plates which I'm sure I photographed, but can't find and so we're moving to the next bit.

First, the background plate was inked.  It may be hard to determine in this photo, but the dots are an aqua blue with a lime green surface roll.

Two stencils were cut, one with the bird, and the bird.  (Sorry, I forgot to rotate this one -)

 The one without the bird was placed on the inked background plate

And, then the one with the bird was inserted and the one without was removed leaving the bird stencil in place.  Now we're ready to print this plate leaving a white space for the bird.

A little ink has come through in the white space, but it won't matter since it will be covered by the bird.

Next, we ink the bird plate

And cut out the two chine collé pieces from very thin Japanese papers: (oops, forgot to rotate again!)

And, after applying glue to the wrong side of the papers, but placing glue side up, they are placed on the plate in the proper place where they will stay if they know what's good for them.

This is placed on the press bed in the registration jig aka blue masking tape:

And, the print paper with the background lowered into place, run through the press and voila!

We have a Superb Starling

Superb Starlings are all over Tanzania - like Seagulls at the beach.  Every rest stop is well populated as they scrounge for tidbits of dropped or discarded food.  But, they are gorgeous.  They are much more iridescent.  I was unable to get any combo of ink with gold powder, or mica, to achieve the desired effect, but maybe I can find a paper which will do the trick on my next trip to Portland.