Thursday, November 19, 2009

Plexiglass Plates

These are the plates for the "girdle" images. They're a little difficult to see but are Plexiglass bases covered with ImagOn
. We'll see what happens when they're proofed. I'm a little worried that they may print too dark.

Now that I've caught up on my blogging, it's back to the drawing board (or the printing press in this case).

Using Photos

I'm always trying to get to something--an image, a color, a feeling--that seems honest and real to me. My work often begins with my own photographic images, but that's just the beginning. I put the images through various processes, working to transform them into something more emotionally expressive. Transformations come about in several different ways: sometimes they're created through deliberate action, sometimes through the very nature of a particular printing process, and sometimes through pure accident. What is consistent is that I'm always looking for that point when what is photographically real remains in the image but finds a new life, vitality and a new reality through the lines, colors, gestures, scrapes, and textures that are layered over that memory. What matters to me in the print, is what that subject matter is trying to express.

This is another multiple plate image; two photopolymer plates and one collagraph strip with lace.Shown here are the negatives I've made and the lace plate below.

I began by photographing myself in an old corset. Images were loaded into PhotoShop and altered. I then "collaged" images to create the second negative. Right now my intentions are to print the plates but leave the lace as an embossing. We'll see how the proofing goes.

Making Plates

The large plates have a Plexiglass base with ImagOn adhered to the surface. After seeing the proofs, I've decided to add a couple of additional layers of ImagOn to the top and bottom portions of the right hand plate. ImagOn works really well if you are someone who enjoys layering and building up images. The best part is, if you find the plate isn't working out, the film can easily be stripped off so you can reclaim the basic plate.

For the small plates, I'm using roofing copper. The square plate was easily cut to size on my old paper cutter. I wanted an oval shape for one image and had to figure out the best way to get the most accuracy when cutting the plate. My first thought was to grab my jewelers saw and blades and carefully cut out the shape. After some experimenting on scraps, I found that I could quickly and accurately cut the shape using my metal cutters. Next step is to apply the ImagOn.

Maze Image

I've been playing around with incorporating mazes in my works to symbolize the often convoluted paths we take to reach our destinations. This piece has been in my sketches for awhile, just pulling at the edges of my mind, so I needed to get it out; soon.

I began by designing a large rectangular maze. Once I had the design in place, I laid a sheet of Mylar over the sketch and then used strips of solid black tape to lay out the image. This in essence created a large transparency that I could use to expose a plate.

My intentions are to use four or five plates to create this piece. Two large background images, one large wood block to create texture and color behind the maze plate and then two smaller plates. With the exception of the wood block, the plates will be phoyopolymer intaglios.

I'm now at the point where I'm contemplating the background proofs, deciding where I need to make adjustments, and whether or not to incorporate chine colle for the smaller plates. Lots of decisions at this point and since there are so many "pieces", all I can do is spend a few days experimenting with my options.

In The Works

I've been playing around with a couple of ideas and working out sketches for the past few days that deal with images and themes that crop up in my work. As I work, my goal is to keep alive spontaneity and the original intuitive impulse as I search for elegant solutions to creative challenges. Because I enjoy layering and piecing together plates, there are times when I'm never really sure if the piece will succeed or if it will have to be scrapped completely. If I'm successful, hopefully, the unexpected results will speak of dimensions beyond my original intent and lead to revelations about feelings and ideas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Relaxing Evening

Got up early this morning and was at work in the studio by seven a.m. Managed to get two plates ready for proofing, paper cut to size and a few works prepped for a show. The best way to end a satisfying day is to sit out in the yard and watch the crows put on their daily show as the sun sets. Then sitting by the fire with some excellent sipping rum puts the finishing touch on a perfect day.

Six for NAC Gallery

Six by six ready to go. Since I've never participated in this kind of holiday show, I have no idea what to charge. The gallery charges $20 to submit 6 works and will take a 30% commission on all sales. Charge too much and the work won't sell, too little and it won't be worth it. Any suggestions?

Holiday Sales

This is the time of year that a lot of galleries hold holiday sales and my local gallery is no exception. The only criteria is that all work must be no larger than 6" X 6" and ready to hang. The gallery's goal is to encourage folks to consider original works of art and crafts when doing their holiday shopping. I decided to give it a try and spent the morning rounding up a few pieces that fit the guidelines.

After breaking out my shrink wrapping supplies I needed to come up with a way to make the pieces "ready to hang". Good old duct tape and a hole punch did the trick. Add a little wire and the job was complete.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

After refining sketches and creating a number of plates, I've been proofing and trying out various configurations and color options. I reworked a few of the plates because they just wouldn't print as I had intended and I wasn't happy with the images. I'm happy with some of the new individual plates but not yet satisfied with how they relate to each other. When it seems as though I'm just "running on ice" I find it best to clean up and pack it in for the day. I'll start fresh in the morning and hopefully things will start to come together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


"In art intentions are not sufficient ... What one does is what counts and not what one has intentions of doing." Picasso

I am reminded of this quote whenever I get to that point where I have too many projects and/or ideas "in the works" and I find myself flitting from one to another but never following through on any one in particular. It's paralyzing and something that I find happening more, now that I'm retired. When I was working and had a hundred and one things to accomplish in a set period of time, I didn't have the luxury to second guess everything. It was get it done and move on or there would be consequences. I took pride in the fact that I always managed to be creatively productive, throughout my career, and made it a point to participate in exhibitions on a regular basis.
(I sometimes wonder how in the world did I manage the responsibilities of being an artist, wife, homemaker, mother, and teacher!) What can I say other than I'm the quintessential type A personality!

When I was young, a high school art teacher admonished me for always having "too many irons in the fire". As I look back on my life, I have to chuckle because that has stuck with me and was such an accurate assessment. But then again, I need to ask - Is that such a bad thing? I think that I just need to recalibrate my way of thinking and be more realistic in my expectations. Maybe it's just taking me longer than I realize to shed that sense of constantly needing to meet demands on a set schedule. (I can be my own worst enemy at times!) I need to remind myself to relax and go with the flow; enjoy this new stage of life and focus more on the pure joy of the creative process rather than feeling the need to constantly produce. If I can accomplish this I know I'll be less "hardpressed".