Monday, September 14, 2009

New Work

A lot has happened around here in the last couple of months and sandwiched between the earth shaking events of daily life I've managed to find a little studio time to produce some new work. Because I've been having so much trouble with my hands (ugly old arthritis) I've temporarily given up on woodblocks and been indulging in solarplate™ intaglio. With this medium all you need to do is get the desired image onto a transparent format and you're good to go. I like to draw directly onto aquaeous media acetate. It allows you to remove and add to your heart's content, take as long as needed, and then just expose it onto the plate using UV light, develop the plate in tap water, harden with a little more UV and print. In this case I've printed many layers of colors and textures and stenciled some blocks of color onto both sides of a very thin, transparent mulberry paper, then printed some small plates on the paper's right side. Meanwhile, I've printed the drawings/images onto another piece of fairly transparent (but not as much as the original paper) and very carefully torn around the image while the paper is damp. Mulberry paper is very tough and almost impossible to tear when it is dry. When dry the images are dampened again, sprinkled with adhesive and placed on the background sheet on a plate and run through the press. Then I may print a bit of color over the top of the two sheets which have now become one. When the image is completely resolved it is trimmed and chine collĂ© to a Western printmaking paper - I like Somerset Satin. It is versatile and has a nice hand and is a soft white. The image above is named Persephone after the ancient myth of Demeter's daughter having eaten a seed of the pomegranate while in the underworld (she was forbidden to eat anything if she wanted to come back up topside) and thereafter having to spend 3 months down under (winter) and the other 9 with us (spring, winter and fall). Her mother brokered that deal. So, she is here with her scythe, watering can, rake, and a few samples of what she's grown so far. Since we have gone from "yard" (rather shabby & kind of unkempt) to "garden" (a place to be kept free of weeds, moles, voles, slugs and looking decent) I see that three of my new images deal with gardening and critters. As you can see there is no mercy in my heart for voles. I don't understand why they were invented in the first place and am certain that the world would be a better place if they were not here. The varmints live on the roots of your most expensive plants. They will gladly pass weeds by giving them nary a thought. They can completely wipe out a yard in a heartbeat. One day your plant is looking robust and healthy and the next day it falls over dead & has no roots. My plan is to lead a hunt and not look back until they are all gone. However, my feeling is that one pregnant vole will always be missed and before you know it you will be infested again. They were probably here with the dinosaurs and will still be here with the cockroaches long after we are gone and forgotten. But, while I'm here I will be doing my best to win the fight.