Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great Site for Exhibition Opportunities

Just recently I came across a fantastic web site called Art & Art Deadlines.com which helps connect artists with exhibition opportunities. http://www.artandartdeadlines.com/aboutaaad/

R.L. Gibson is a working artist and former arts administrator who for years had sent out deadlines for art shows. She has turned her "show list" to blog form where she tags, categorizes and archives the ART and ART DEADLINES by date, media, region and brings it to you free.

When I retired, one of my goals was to actively seek out exhibition opportunities to help provide a framework for my studio practice. I found that it helps to have a specific challenge to provide a focus. By selecting projects and shows that interest me, I'm spurred to action by the deadlines. Another advantage is that I'm branching out and seeking venues outside of my local area.

Art & Art Deadlines is a wonderful way to find shows and get details about upcoming creative opportunities. Check it out.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

First Proof Close-up

Here's the first proof from my initial plate when I was considering the image as a dyptic. The image is a little too dark so I will adjust the exposure time for the negative. (The dot screen exposure seems fine.) When using ImagOn, it is recommended that you do a step test for each image to determine the optimum exposure time. Of course, being an impatient artist, I usually just like to wing it (no pun intended) and see what happens. After I have a sense of how the plate prints, I usually step back and end up doing a step test anyway. The goal it to get as much detail as possible and nice rich darks. I like this image as it stands so I may pull a few prints of just the boxed bird; maybe add some chine colle. We'll see.

I usually print on damp paper but this time I'm experimenting with dry Hahnemuhle Copperplate and Akua inks.

Image Deveopment, Platemaking & Proofing

Have you ever had an idea rolling around in your head but couldn't find the time to do anything with it? Well, this was the week to try and make some headway. I've had this image in the works for the past month. I had worked up numerous sketches but was unable to move forward with the print because of other obligations. This past week, I finally had the time to get this piece out of my head and onto a plate.

I'm using ImagOn photopolymer film to create the plate. I started with sketches and personal photos. Drawings were scanned, photos altered, and everything was mixed together and played around with in photo-shop. I printed out a few versions on acetate and then scratched into and drew on them until I had something worth proofing. I like to use Stabilo pencils and Speedball Screen Filler to add darks and a variety of scratch board & dental tools to pull out lights. After a couple of preliminary proofs, I altered the image and ended up with this latest negative.

The plates were exposed in my NuArc exposure unit; first to a dot screen and then to the negative. I had a number of scrap pieces of Plexi so I decided to use it as my base for the Imagon. This allowed me to play around with the film and images and if I wasn't happy with the outcome, just grab another piece of plexi. If I was using copper, I would need to strip the film from the plate to reuse the copper and that would take time. The film adheres well to the plexi and the thickness of the plate affords me with a nice plate line.

These are some of the first plates I proofed. I wasn't happy with them so I'll just make up a tray of strong soda ash solution and let them soak over night to strip the film from the plexi.

Originally, I though that I wanted to print the image as a dyptic. These first proofs were separate plates. I taped the proofs together to see how the images related.

These are the latest proofs. Right now, I prefer the image as one plate so that's the direction I'm moving in. My problem is that I'm never satisfied and just keep tweaking things. At some point I'll say 'enough already' and just forge ahead...I hope.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I just realized that it's been a little over a year since I began this blog. At the time, I was having a bit of a difficult time going from a very structured academic day to the new found freedom of retirement. I found that I wasn't using my time constructively and spent my days floundering from one thing to another; not really accomplishing anything worthwhile. Also, I was missing the daily artistic stimulation that was provided by my students and colleagues. After 35 years of working in a vibrant creative environment, I was adrift in time and solitude and needed to reinvent my daily routine - quickly.

I was very happy when my husband presented me with a laptop as a retirement gift. Once I discovered the art of "surfing the net", I was amazed at the number of excellent sites related to printmaking and began to use my computer as a means to find interesting projects and exhibitions. Just for the fun of it (and I didn't really know what I was doing) I decided to start a blog to record my progress.

On my drawing table, is the just completed edition of 50 prints for the Littlest Print Exchange, which I completed yesterday.

As I look back on the past year, I'm happy with what I've accomplished. I've found a way to add some structure to my day that helps me set goals and keeps me focused on my work. As an added and unexpected bonus, I've met some great artists and printmakers on line that have been inspiring and supportive. I've found some interesting projects and exhibitions to participate in and I'm happy that I've been able to establish a healthy studio work routine. Now to keep it up!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Littlest Print

The Littlest Print Exchange is a juried trade of tiny art prints. Chris Clark started it last year and artists were invited to submit an edition of 50 prints and in return received a portfolio of 50 prints from all 50 individual artists. http://littlestprintexchange.blogspot.com/ What makes this exchange particularly challenging is the size requirement. They really are small prints!

This year, participants in the exchange are asked to consider the theme of Cliché when producing work for the 2010 portfolio. Paper must be exactly 3” X 3” but the image size is up to the individual artists.

Along this line, I decided to focus on the idea of feminine beauty. Women are constantly bombarded with beauty issues through advertisements, television and magazine articles. What constitutes perfection? How do women “measure up”? The old clichés: “Beauty is only skin deep”, “Beauty is as beauty does”, and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” immediately come to mind in this image driven society.

I created a composition dealing with the idea of the perfect pair of jeans, waist measurements and lacing up in a corset to meet the “ideal” proportions. The image was transferred to a sheet of acetate and exposed onto a Solarplate. After printing, I hand colored the measuring tape using watercolor.

My plate measures 2.25” X 2”. This was the smallest intaglio I’ve ever done and it was a little tricky wiping a plate that small. Just to emphasize the small size, I photographed the plate next to a brayer.