Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sketches & Plate Making

After playing around with some sketches and ideas, I began experimenting with my reduced body prints using PhotoShop, to manipulate the images. I settled on a few of my favorites and printed them out on transparencies.

Once I sorted through my photopolymer supplies, yesterday was spent creating plates. I decided to go with Solarplates, for my relief plates and those involving text, and use ImagOn film for the intaglio components. In this instance, I adhered the film to sheets of plexiglass. I also use roofing copper and galvanized metal as plates.

I have three different images in the works so I'll probably spend the next few days just focusing on plate development before I start proofing.

It's exciting to be able to take a large body print and reduce it down to a more intimate format. I'll have fun seeing where this takes me.

Early Body Prints

This "Mother/Daughter Power Struggle" was printed using acrylic gesso and then color was added using oil paint and pastels. (And yes, I successfully talked my daughter into being inked.)

This is a print collage that includes molded hand-made paper dolls, a transfer rubbing, a body print and assorted collage material.

Revisiting an Idea

Years ago, I did a series of large monoprints using my body as the matrix. This involved inking myself up and then pressing against a sheet of paper. As you can imagine, it gets a little messy but the results can be fantastic. (I even talked my husband into lending me his body for this is a wonderful thing!)

I found this old Polaroid snapshot (cropped for modesty) and couldn't stop laughing ... or remembering how much fun I had rolling in the ink. When I was covered in ink, it almost felt as though I was wearing clothes!

I experimented with water-based inks and acrylic gesso. I would first rub on some body lotion to help with clean up and then apply the printing medium; either directly with a roller or by laying on a surface that I had inked up. Then I would simply press against paper that was either pinned to the wall or laid out on the floor. The black & white prints were left as is or used in print collages and the gesso prints were colored using oil paints and/or pastels.

I decided to revisit this approach but on a smaller scale. Obviously the monoprints were life sized but I wanted to create smaller intaglio works based on this idea. I did some new body prints and photographed the results which allowed me to reduce them in size. (Now, if only it was this easy to "reduce" the actual matrix!!

Non-Toxic "Bibles"

I consider these publications indispensable for the printmaker who is interested in non-toxic processes. They walk you through all of the steps needed to create successful plates using photopolymer techniques. When I bought a copy of Keith Howard's "Non-Toxic Intaglio Printmaking" I was delightfully surprised to find that one of my prints had been used in the book!

You can also find quite a bit of info on line. A good place to start is

Film, Film Everewhere!

Digging through my supplies yesterday I discovered that I have 4 different types of photopolymer film tucked away in the studio. I have a little left of the original Riston made by Dupont and used in the circuit board industry (that I carted back from Peace River, Alberta, Canada back in 1995), then I have ImagOn (the follow up to Riston and marketed for non-toxic printmaking), I just finished up my supply of "the new and improved" ImagOn Ultra and I found a brand new roll of ImagOn Pro. Although I don't currently have any on hand, I understand there is now an ImagOn HD (guaranteed to provide better resolution).

It's interesting to see how the film has changed over the years. Along with a great variety of image making possibilities, the film has gone through several stages since I first used the Riston back in '95. Adhering procedures and development processes have changed, resolution has improved and the films have gone from thick to thin and back to thick again with the ImagOn Pro.
I just need to keep track of which film I'm using so I follow the adhering & processing recommendations for that particular film. It's also interesting to note that if they're stored properly they have a decent shelf life. I don't store my film on end, keep it in it's original tube and well wrapped in light proof plastic and make sure it's kept in a cool location. I made a special light proof black box for a larger roll of film that makes access to the roll quick and easy.

What I really appreciate about all of the developments in non-toxic printmaking is that this new technology allows me fantastic image-making capabilities without compromising my health, safety or the environment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Few Close-ups

Print Zero Exchange

Just received my portfolio of prints from the Print Zero Exchange 6 and was pleased to find some interesting little prints. The level of craftsmanship in this group was much better than in previous exchange portfolios. I was also delighted to find that one of the works was that of a former student...small world!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Beginnings

Recently, I've had a difficult time focusing on my work because I've been traveling back and forth between two locals. Now that summer is officially over, it's time to settle down and put in some quality studio time.

I have always looked at autumn as a time for new beginnings. I guess when one's a teacher this is an occupational proclivity; new academic year, new students, new beginnings and fresh challenges. Even though I have been retired for 2 years, I still get that familiar stirring in my bones to gear up and start anew. I've been working on several sketches for new prints and can feel that old familiar yearning for new challenges. I wonder where the path will lead?

Keeping in Touch

I had a wonderful visit with a fellow printmaker today and as I was driving home I was thinking about how important it is to keep in touch with artist friends. It's so easy to stay cloistered in your studio day after day and lose contact with the "outside world". It's refreshing to take a break and get together will someone who has similar interests. We talked "shop", compared notes on presses, processes and techniques, and discussed gallery policies. As an added bonus, it was great to see what he is currently working on.

An occasional visit is good for the soul and I think I'll make more of an effort to take the time to get out an about. Next time, my studio.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Exchange Prints

I just received my set of prints from the 2009 Green Door International Print Exchange. It was their first exchange and they did a great job getting the prints back out to the participants, as advertised.

It's always interesting so see what you'll end up with when participating in an exchange. My goal was to try out a few this year and over all, the experience has been positive and a good tool to keep you working.