Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Little of Everything

If a person were to judge the activity here from the number of posts it would appear that most of the time there is absolute quiet.  However, even though we don't make much noise, several things have been on-going.  Firstly, there is the LaPierre Lane sign.  About 2, maybe 3, years ago hubby brought this poor bedraggled worn and soggy wooden sign in and asked if I could re-hab it.  Oh sure, I answered with fake confidence, and quickly stuck the thing under the press and forgot about it.  Maybe 6 months later I got it out and sanded it a bit.  At that point I began to realize just how much work was going to be involved and quickly stuck it back in its temporary home, under the press.  Now the several years passed and it accidentally surfaced again.  I decided it would make the perfect birthday gift for the guy who has everything, including me.  So, I set to work - and honestly, I wish I had a before picture because the transformation has been shocking, to say the least.  It involved a lot more sanding, which was infinitely easier to do once it had r-e-a-l-l-y dried.  And, then the fun began: first with the oil-based exterior primer where ever paint was going.  Then the staining for the background, followed by 3 coats of exterior latex paint (dark brown edge and back) and raw sienna (they call it cedar) for the lettering and last, but not least, 3 coats of Spar Varnish over the part that was stained.  The last of the varnish went on today, so it should be good and dry by next Wed., which is the Lucky Guy's 80th birthday. Unfortunately, he will not be surprised because he walked right by this thing half a dozen times and didn't notice it and then on the 7th time he saw it.  I should have known that my luck was not going to hold out indefinitely.

The origin of the sign is unknown.  It was something that the younger brother, Len, had at his house in Salmon Creek, Idaho.  When Len died his widow gave it to Mr. Lucky and he brought it home.  So, we don't know whose handiwork it is, nor do we know its age.  All we know is that now it is looking good and will hopefully last way past us.

Meanwhile, the other day I got the ladder out, moved a bunch of furniture and other stuff around, and hung the Puzzle Print "City of The World".  It consists of five 22" x 30" sheets, or a total of 30" x 110".  I don't know if there's any significance that the road in the middle heads off down to the bathroom door, but I choose to think that there just might be...

And, here is where the nonsense ends and the, more or less, serious work begins.  Below are two (you probably will have to take my word for this, two pieces of acetate with black ink.  The one on the left will be the background and the one on the right will be a Superb Starling (the ornithologist name for him, not mine - if I had my way he would not be in the Starling family -).  These will be exposed onto the solar plates  as soon as I get back to the studio.  And, then we will see if we can get a decent print to develop.  Or, it may end up a woodblock - but since this has a deadline and the holidays are nipping at my heels, I'm hoping to knock out a quick little intaglio. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Fantastic Fantastic Garden

Somehow time has flown by and I am just getting around to hanging the Fantastic Garden print.  I'm sure that I will enjoy it much more now that it is out of the drawers and up on the wall.  Hanging was not an easy project and definitely not for the faint of heart, or those of us who have our qualms about teetering on step stools on top of cabinets leaning precariously over exposure units thinking all the while that we are about to fall and break our neck.  But, the job is done and I am breathing again.  (Isn't it strange that when we put our bodies in peril, no matter how slight, we tend to hold our breath until back to normal footing?  You'd think we would be busy getting as much air in as possible, not keeping it out.  Oh, well.... that's what most of us do, anyway.)

I suppose to really appreciate the peril involved in this  activity you first must realize that the ceiling is at least 10 ft.  (I'm sure it is 15 ft. if it is an inch, but I'm told it is 10 ft. and he has made me a believer after all these years that he is always right.)  But, I was the one hanging in mid-air hanging the garden.   NEWS FLASH!!  This just in:  the ceiling is 12ft.  This is the first time in the history of Francis that he has been mistaken.  Not wrong, mind you, but a little mistaken.  There's a difference.

The Fantastic Garden is a puzzle print - the result of the organizational, drafting, cutting, sawing,  creative, herding, and printing skills of Maria Arango-Diener.  I've forgotten how many artists are involved, but they come from all over the globe and each contributes their idea of the project theme, in this case the Fantastic Garden, and then Maria re-assembles all the parts, prints them and sends us each a print.  This print is 4 sheets, each 22" x 30", so that would make the total surface 44" x 60" if my calculator doesn't lie.  Altogether it is a pretty fantastic woodblock print carved from cherry plywood and printed on Stonehenge Rising.

Thanks to all you wonderful Baren Forum woodblock members (and especially to Maria the Wonder Woman of the World of Woodblock) for enriching my life and making my studio Extraordinaire.  It will be even more extraordinaire when I get the City of the World up on the wall.  But, that will have to wait until next week - it will take me that long to drag the ladder back in again.