Friday, January 18, 2019

Emerald Print Exchange

Just finished another small print for the Emerald Print Exchange.

A dozen 5" x 7" prints ready to go. There's something about creating an edition of small prints that appeals to me. It's a great way to keep up studio work when time is tight. The Solarplate was printed using Akua Carbon Black intaglio ink. I finished up the image by hand-coloring the glasses with red watercolor.

The image is based on my granddaughter Scarlett who refers to herself as a "fancy" girl. Oh to be five again!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Leftovers Again

For a few years now I've been participating in WingTip Press' "Leftovers" print exchange. It's a fun way to use up small scraps of paper and plates and helps support a good cause: The Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force.

I usually end up with a stash of small photopolymer plates along with odd sizes of paper. This exchange is a great way to put them to good use.

I was having some trouble working the plates because some were so old that I wasn't able to get a good plate exposure. A few pieces were the old dark reddish color, some were the newer copper color, and a few were the new gold color. Needless to say, it took a number of trials to finally arrive at a good exposure time to achieve a satisfactory print. I need to remind myself that when I stash scrapes of plates, I should date them on the back and make notes of exposure and developing times.

It took a bit of trial and error but after a mornings work, I had the edition completed.

When I was working up sketches for the image, I was thinking about all of the ideas I have flying around in my head that don't often get realized due to life's everyday interruptions. Personal "leftovers" that hopefully I'll get around to exploring.

I think I'll spend the afternoon cleaning up my messy studio. It's way overdue for some organization!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Continuing the momentum

2018 is quickly running out of days and there is the numerous obligations and usual holiday preparations underway. I was determined to keep my progress moving along in the studio so I began work on a second exchange portfolio print. Working on these small plates is perfect for this time of year when studio time is limited.

Moondance Studio

I was away from TreeTop Studio for a couple of days so I just brought everything I needed to print with me.

A few years ago, I was very fortunate to get a hold of a small second hand Conrad press. Its perfect for the beach house and even though the studio space there isn't totally resolved, I managed to clear an area to get some work done.

Solarplate and first proof

Every year I enjoy participating in this international print exchange. This image is based on my grand-kids enjoying the final days of summer. The silhouetted figures and elongated shadows from the setting sun really emphasized the fading season.

After an afternoons work I had an edition of 15 plus completed. Nice to know that if I put my mind to it, and with a little preparation, I can print when I'm away from my main studio space.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Good work day.

Sometimes I just need to stop procrastinating and get to work.

Decided to get a jump on an upcoming exchange portfolio. I worked up the image yesterday and pulled an edition of 20 prints today. It felt good to not get distracted and complete a project.

This piece is based on the current political turmoil and ongoing negative headlines. I couldn't help but wonder what kind of world our grandchildren will inherit. Sad to think about.

Inked Solarplate

Monday, August 27, 2018

Favorite time of year

For me, the summer is always hectic and I end up having very little uninterrupted studio time, but as September approaches I feel a renewed sense of energy. I attribute this to decades of teaching and
the approach of the new school year always promised a fresh start and I'd feel a surge of excitement and anticipation. It's no different now that I'm retired; there's still that feeling of rejuvenation.

I had been working on numerous sketches and recently, while I was home in my studio, I felt compelled to start working on a new plate; even if its completion will be put on hold until after the Labor Day holiday. I just needed to get something going.

I have a few older Solarplates and decided to see if they were still viable. 

After playing around with exposure times, I ended up with 45 light units for my aquatint screen and 35 for the image. As you can see, even though the plate was wrapped in its original black plastic, the edges of the plate had been compromised and didn't expose as well as the center. I still think I can work with this.

I printed on Arnham cream paper with Akua carbon black; one sheet wet and the other dry. I much prefer the contrast on the dry.

This looks promising. Now to see where it takes me.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

New Toy

It's been a L-O-N-G winter; not only because of the weather but my care giving responsibilities have derailed my studio practice. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and Spring is finally here.

For months, I've been thinking about purchasing an Xcut Xpress. I've seen a few printmakers on line using this die cutting craft machine for a printing press. One artist, Colin Blanchard has done a lot of experimentation with this small machine and has even put together some great YouTube videos. Check out his site. Anyway, I finally ordered one.

I found it on Amazon for a decent price because they said the box was slightly damaged. That was an understatement! I was concerned when I saw the condition of the box, but after unpacking and checking it out,  the unit seemed fine.

Since today is Print Day in May, I thought it was the perfect time to spend some time in the studio playing with my new toy.

First I needed to find some blankets. Digging through my fabric stash I found some scraps of hot pink craft felt that I had used to make a cape for my granddaughter.

My first test was with a Sintra plate. This lightweight PVC board can be used in a number of ways and for this test, I laid a few objects on the surface and ran it through the press. I inked the plate up as a relief using Speedball water based relief ink. After some experimenting, I found that the 5 setting on the Xcut worked perfectly.

Success! The bed rolled through the press fairly easily and I ended up with a decent impression with one pass. I printed on a dry sheet of Arnham paper. Next test, an intaglio plate.

This is a small 3" x 3" Solarplate mounted on matte board. I inked it up with Akua Ink and printed on a damp sheet of Arnham paper. I needed to change the setting to 4 to get enough pressure and ran the plate through the press twice to get a decent impression. The important thing is that with some tweaking and experimentation you can use this press for intaglio plates.

Finally, I tried a relief Solarplate . With the setting back to 5, I ran the plate through the press and got another fairly successful image. Again. I printed on a dry sheet of Arnham and used Speedball relief ink but I think I under inked the plate.

The bottom line is this small "press" does a decent job printing relief and intaglio plates. The bed measures 12" x 8" but you could easily make a new longer bed. 

For anyone who's interested in printmaking but has shied away because of space issues or cost of equipment, this could be an affordable alternative. (I paid $133 for mine.) The press folds up into a neat compact unit and weighs about 13 pounds or so.

I purchased the Xcut Xpress so I could take it on the road for printmaking demonstrations. Looking forward to sharing the pleasures of printmaking with others.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Last Print Exchange in the works

I'm working on the final print exchange that I had planned on participating in this year; 9 IN HAND PRESS' 3rd Annual International Print Exchange.

This one caught my eye because it's a much larger format that the average print exchanges, which usually require the paper to be 5" x 7" or smaller. The paper for this one is 11" x 14" and image size is up to the artist. I've been working on the image off and on and finally started printing the edition of 15 today. The March 31st deadline is looming but I think I can pull it off.

The image is based on one of my body prints, which was photographed and reduced in size using Photoshop. I'm using a Solarplate and printing with Akua ink.

 I'm happy with the stark simplicity of the falling figure in a field of black.