Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Procedure

I often get asked about both my creative and printmaking processes and being a teacher, I'm always happy to share.

My imagery is usually a compilation of my photographs and sketches that I alter through digital manipulation and transformations, by hand, of the film or drawings used to make the plate. Sometimes alterations are made on the surface of the plate itself. This process, allows me to transform my original sketch at several stages of the process. Ultimately the print that emerges reflects my love of complexity, implied meaning and layering as I pair and group images to express feelings, ideas and emotions.

Once I had my image worked out for "One Size Fits All", I made a small plate and proofed it. This allowed me to check the clarity of the image and refine my exposure time. When I was happy with the image, I created a negative that had multiple copies of the "master" image on one transparency. Because my print would be a bleed image (no borders around image) and because I was using the photopolymer film ImagOn, this allowed me to create a matrix that held identical images that could then be printed simultaneously. (In this instance, I was able to print four images with one run through the press.) With a plate that is only 3"X 3", this makes producing an edition much easier. When the prints were dry, I added the hand coloring and trimmed them to size.

One Size Fits All

My edition for the 2012 "Littlest Print" exchange portfolio deals with the concept of size and that ubiquitous label "one size fits all". As millions of women know, that misleading phrase is just hype and can certainly be labeled propaganda promoted by clothing manufacturers trying to appeal to the masses.

The print's background deals with the categorization of various body types and was meant to highlight society's need to label women; apple, pear, rectangular, triangular, etc. The small figures were intended to read as hieroglyphics; stylized and symbolic of the need to typecast. An "average" figure stands before these as a counterpoint to these simplified standards. An old dilapidated dress form was included to reference the fashion industry.

There's a lot going on in this small format but I'm happy with the print and feel that that I successfully used the portfolio's theme to make a point.

It's all in a mornings work.

After looking over my proofs and reworking the plate, I was happy with the image and decided to move ahead with editioning. Since the size of the print is limited to 3"x3", and there was a lot going on in my image, I though it best to do a bleed print.

I used Akua carbon black ink and added a little magnesium carbonate to stiffen it slightly. The plates were wiped with pages of old phone books and printed on dry Hahnemhule Copperplate paper. Once I got started everything went smoothly and by noontime I had my edition completed.

It was always my intention to add a bit of color so once the edition was printed, I went back and hand-colored the prints with watercolor.

Now to walk away and let everything dry.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Morning proof

Got up this morning and hit the studio to proof the plate I prepared the night before. Not too bad. I'm happy with the image and pleased with what I conveyed in such a small (3" X 3") format. I'll tweak it a bit, pull some more proofs and evaluate the results before I commit myself to an edition of 50.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I can't stop.

This past week I was excited to receive the 2011 "Littlest Print" collection. This year's challenge was to create work that dealt with "Accessibility" and it was interesting to see how 50 printmakers interpreted the theme.

I find "The Littlest Print" a fun exchange to participate in and have done so since its inception in 2009. I don't know what it is about exchanges but to me it's like eating M & M's; I can't stop. With The Littlest Print, it's the challenge of creating an interesting 3" X 3" image and the discipline of producing an edition of 50 prints.

I recently told myself that I wouldn't do any more exchanges for awhile, since I have limited studio time, yet as soon as I read about the 2012 challenge I found myself working up ideas for a print. The next thing I know, I have an idea, sketches, and a plate ready to proof.

The 2012 theme is "Proclamation & Propaganda". I tied this in with my Venus Envy series and played around with the idea of "one size fits all"; propaganda for sure! I combined an image of an old dress form with various body shapes and ended up with a composition that I feel fits the exchange theme.

After playing around with my sketches and settling on an image, I created a negative. ImagOn was adhered to a sheet of Plexiglas and the plate was exposed to the negative and processed in a soda ash bath. I'll let it sit over night and proof the plate in the morning and if I'm satisfied with the image I'll decide whether or not to begin printing for next years exchange.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Newport Art Museum

The weather was beautiful this week and I had some spare time on my hands so I took a ride to Newport, R.I. to visit the Newport Art Museum and check out the micro/MACRO exhibition by The Printmakers' Network of Southern New England. I was very impressed with how great the exhibition looked. Larger prints were placed in a main gallery and the museum hanging committee did a fantastic job! They really knew how to place the pieces so that one artist's work played well off of those who were hung next to it; very impressive.

In addition to the main exhibition, PNSNE also created a portfolio entitled micro which showcases small 5" X 7" prints.

The portfolio is the 5th created by the Network and includes 21 original prints in an edition of 25. The micro portfolio work also looked great framed. And again, the small pieces were hung with a sensitivity to which works would be adjoining each print so every one was enhanced by what it was next too. So professional. It's rewarding to be part of a group that enjoys exhibiting and working on projects together and great to share our work with the public in such a wonderful setting.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Newport Art Museum

micro/MACRO is a new group exhibition by the Printmakers Network of Southern New England which focuses on scale; very small prints hung alongside large works. I decided to exhibit a collection of small works that I had recently created for exchange portfolio projects. Prints I do for exchange portfolios are usually boxed away, as part of a larger collection, and rarely go out on exhibit. It was satisfying to see my recent exchange prints formally framed and hung in a major exhibition; also fun to see tiny works competing with larger prints. It's interesting how small works can hold their own against larger pieces. That old adage is true, bigger is not necessarily better.

Inkteraction Exchange Portfolio

Last week I had a little time away from my construction duties to focus on a studio project that had a September 30th deadline. Having signed up to participate in an Inkteraction exchange project called "Navigating Currents-100 Inkteraction Reactions", I was relieved to finally have time to print my edition.

Inkteraction is the web’s largest community dedicated specifically to printmakers with members spread out across the globe. The site acts as a central meeting place for printmakers to share their work, ask questions, and share knowledge and exhibition opportunities. In essence, Inkteraction is "a port in the storm that is the internet". When producing work for the portfolio, the challenge was to consider how the theme of “Navigating Currents” relates to the mission of Inkteraction.

I played around with a few ideas and finally decided to keep my image on the playful side. As a kid, I remembered passing carefully folded notes back and forth to communicate with my friends. Playing off of this, I decided to use paper airplanes as message conveyers and incorporated maps depicting a variety of currents. I had a new graphite colored ink from Akua and liked the idea of using this color as a reference to note taking.
ImagOn was applied to a sheet of plexiglass, my image was exposed and developed. I inked and wiped the plate with the graphite ink then applied a surface roll of pale blue gray ink. The 5"X7" image was printed in an edition of 15 on Hahnemuhle Copperplate.

"Conveyance" is the finished print.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Like it was yesterday

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I'm amazed that so much about that horrific day is still so fresh in my mind; like it was yesterday. I remember minute details about that clear, bright, perfect September day and wonder if time will ever diminish those images that seem to be burned into my psyche. To this day, when I hear a low flying airplane, I can't help but feel anxious & my thoughts immediately turn to the events of that day.

One of my strongest memories is of those individuals jumping and falling from the buildings and the courage it must have taken to make the decision to meet their fate on their own terms. They knew no one could save them and the lack of oxygen & extreme heat drove them to jump. I try to put myself in their position and wonder if I would have had the courage to do as they did. At least two hundred people jumped or fell that day and the images of those souls falling from the buildings will remain with me forever.

This is a piece I did shortly after 9/11 entitled The Fall.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Long Days = Great Results

Even though our framer is still dragging his feet finishing up the outside details on the cottage, my husband and I have been hard at work on the inside. We've been wiring, plumbing, painting and constantly cleaning up from the general building process.

The past couple of days was dedicated to installing the kitchen cabinets. Measuring, leveling, and measuring again yielded great results. We have the majority of the cabinets installed and they look great in the space.

To celebrate, I couldn't wait to put a custom made set of porcelain dinnerware (compliments of muddy_fingers) in the new cabinets. I look forward to using them, but know it will be a while yet before that happens.With a big project such as this, it's amazing how fast the summer is flying by.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Haven't been able to send much time in the studio lately; all my attention has been focused on our building project. With deadlines looming, 12 to 14 hour days are not uncommon, but we are making headway. So many things to finish up before the blue board & plaster next week. It's funny to be spending so much time at the beach but not having a tan to show for it! Right now, I just keep reminding myself how nice it will be when we are finally able to sleep over. (Notice I didn't say "when we're finished".)

The bridge to the "crows nest" is underway and will be a great addition. Nothing like being able to just walk off the front porch to the dune!

Surprise Exposure

The Journal of the Print World recently published an article about the Printmakers' Network of Southern New England's upcoming Micro/Macro exhibition to be held at the Newport Museum. It's always a nice surprise to find your work mentioned in a publication; and much appreciated.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Last Friday, after a marathon day of printing, I had the satisfaction of seeing an edition of 26 drying on the line.

Once the prints were dry enough to trim, they were ready for the addition of laces. After playing around with different configurations, I finally settled on a layout and spent today finishing up the print.

"Midriff" is a small 5" X 7" intaglio print created for an upcoming exhibition at the Newport Rhode Island Art Museum entitled Micro/Macro; an exhibition of small & large prints. Next project, working on a large print for the same show.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So Many Options

I've had a hard time settling on an image for an upcoming exhibition that requires an edition of small 5" X 7" prints. Working small can be problematic and I just couldn't make up my mind as I tried out different options. Having spent last week working on images and making ImagOn plates, today was dedicated to proofing, figuring out exposure times, and experimentation. However, no matter what I did, I just wasn't satisfied with any of the prints; they just didn't seem right in a small format. At this point, I'll use these proofs as inspiration material for larger works.

I had one final plate left and even though I was ready to clean up and call it a day I decided to pull one last proof. I was glad I took the time because I ended up with an print I'm really happy with and the subject works well as a small image. Even though it measures only 5 X 7 inches, it doesn't feel small. I also like the way it looks in black and white, which will work well with the colored thread I intend to add to the print. I'll tweak the image tomorrow, pull a few more proofs and then hopefully I'll be ready to edition.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Website / Blog

At the beginning of the year, I decided to create a new website that had a more professional appearance and consolidated everything in one place; background information, artwork, exhibition news, and a blog. After checking around, I decided to investigate WordPress. ( It provided a number of templates to select from and I even found one that allowed me to have a fixed home page, which I felt was important. I also liked the fact that I could update the site whenever I wanted without having to go through a web designer.

Now I'm not a computer wizard so the process took a bit of trial and error but with some patience and time I was able to put something together that looks pretty good and is easy to navigate. It simplifies things and I like the fact that I can direct people to one comprehensive site. I'm hoping it works out well and would appreciate you stopping by to have a look. (Feedback is always welcome!)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tapestry of Feathers

I recently finished a second "kid friendly" print for an upcoming children's exhibition and had a lot of fun just playing around with the monotype process. I based the print on a photo I took last year of a beautiful peacock at the Honolulu Zoo. I felt it would be eye-catching and appeal to children of all ages.

The print is a monotype created with Akua Intaglio ink. After masking out the bird's body, I inked up some bubble wrap scraps to lay in a basic background texture and rolled in other areas of color directly with the brayer; unwanted areas of ink were wiped away with a cotton swab. I created the image on a sheet of plexiglass and ran it through the press each time new information was added to the plate. I also used a few found objects as stamps.

When you're up close to one of these magnificent birds, all you notice is layer upon layer of beautiful feathers. Since I couldn't resist printing some actual feathers, I sacrificed an old feather duster and printed with wild abandon. Since my goal was to create intricate, complex layers to imitate the birds plumage, the actual feathers worked well.

Periodically, I would paint directly onto the plate to add detailed elements; some of which would get lost as I overprinted textural elements. I finally reached a point where I just had to force myself to stop.

This turned out to be a good exercise and forced me to let go and embrace the process rather than the outcome. It was all about experimentation tempered with experience which ultimately yielded an interesting print.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Local Traffic Report

I finally finished my piece for this summers "Inklings" exhibition at the National Children's Medical Center in Washington D.C. I had initially planned on using two plates; one for color and one for line work. However, after pulling my first prints, I wasn't happy with the outcome and decided to change course. I switched over to Akua Intaglio Inks for heavier coverage & less bleeding into the paper. I like the painterly quality of the new print and felt that it didn't need to be over printed with line work.

It seems like I've been working on this project forever and have changed course a few times along the way. What initially started out as a screen print changed into a combination monotype/monoprint and eventually ended up as a straight monotype. Stepping away from the project for a few days and convincing myself to just have some fun, really helped me to move forward with the print.

This piece was based on a pile of old Matchbox cars and I think its a light hearted interpretation of an everyday occurrence that many endure: "commuter traffic". I'm hoping it will appeal to both kids and adults.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Slow and Steady

Took a break yesterday to check on my other creative project. It's been slow going because this crazy New England weather just won't settle down; storms every few days. After an exceptionally snowy winter and now a rainy spring, it makes it difficult to move ahead. We're hoping that sooner or later we'll have a string of really nice weather so the project can speed up a bit.

It was great to see the roof trusses go up. You get such an interesting sense of space looking through all of the wooden studs. It's like being inside a giant Erector Set. I'm starting to get a real sense of the space and the views will be amazing. I know there will be a lot of work ahead once the framers are through and my husband and I begin to work on the interior. It's sure to be a long hot summer but just going slow and steady will get the job done. Right now, I'm hoping we will be celebrating Thanksgiving at the beach.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I've been working on images for an upcoming exhibition with the Printmakers' Network of Southern New England entitled "Inklings". The prints will be on display this summer at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C.

I had a hard time settling on an image that would appeal to children and finally realized that I was over-thinking the task. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to just lighten up, do something different and have some fun. I settled on toy Matchbox Cars; dumped in a pile they reminded me of a traffic jam. Since the D.C. area is notorious for it's Beltway traffic, I thought this would be a great way to use toys to mirror a local daily occurrence.

I decided to do a two plate monoprint; one plate for color and one for line work. A Dremmel tool was used for the intaglio plate because I wanted a childlike line quality. The second plate was painted with Akua Kolor.

Since the ink was applied over a two day period, it dried slightly on the surface of the plexiglass so I dampened my paper to be sure it would pick up the ink. The painted plate was printed first with the intaglio plate over it.

I'm not entirely happy with the final print. I think this has to do with my tendency of wanting more control over the process and with monoprits, unexpected results often occur. Since I'm up against a deadline I need to just let it go and appreciate it for what it is. On the positive side, the image does have a child-like, coloring book charm and I think it will appeal to children. On the negative side, I'm surprised by how much the Akua Kolor ran and disappointed that the colors lightened so much during printing. Colors were fairly strong the first time the painted plate was run through the press but lightened more when run through a second time with the intaglio plate.

I'll experiment with the plates a bit more before I move on.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Best laid plans...

Spent the week working on a serigraph that, after the first few colors, was obviously not going to work for the image I had in mind. I kept plugging along though until I was sure it couldn't be saved. I believe it was Sam Beckett that said, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Anyway, it's obvious I need a break and I'm hoping that getting away for a week will allow me to clear my head and recharge. A change of pace is good for the soul; rejuvenating, invigoration, and necessary.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kid Friendly Print

My goal for the week is to complete a "kid friendly" piece for an upcoming exhibition. This summer, the Printmakers' Network of Southern New England ( will be exhibiting a collection of prints at the Childrens National Medical Center in Washington DC. The May deadline is fast approaching so time is of the essence.

Last week was dedicated to sketching and idea development. I spent some time trying to decide what would be appropriate for the venue, appeal to kids of various ages, and also be interesting for me. Searching for inspiration, I gravitated toward my daughter's old toy box. Finding a bag of Match Box Cars, I dumped them out on the floor and played around with various options. Since this is for a DC institution and traffic is a daily issue, I decided to use the tiny cars to depict the typical traffic in and around the Beltway.

Next decision; what printmaking technique to use. I decided to do a crayon resist serigraph. I haven't done a screen print in awhile and I liked the idea of using the humble crayon to depict an everyday scenario using an iconic toy as the subject matter. I spent last week working out compositions and preparing my screen. Everything's now ready to go and I hope to get a few colors down by the end of the day on Monday. (Also keeping my fingers crossed that it will turn out well enough to exhibit!)

I replaced the fabric on an old screen, set up my hinges, and used screen filler to mask out the print's borders. I have 3 "pegs" set into my screen base so I attached strips of paper with corresponding holes to my printing paper. This should give me good registration for each color.

The drawing is placed on the base and protected by a sheet of acetate. Crayon will be added successively, after each color is printed, until the screen is completely blocked out. Color number one, first thing Monday morning.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Spent yesterday working on an image and plate for the 2011 Littlest Print Exchange. Apparently I couldn't wait to print it because I woke up really early this morning wanting to head to the studio. I was able to get down to business and managed to crank out an edition of 55. Granted, they are small but still require the same process of inking, wiping and printing as any edition. I enjoyed the 3D optical illusion the prints created when lined up on the press.

The 2011 theme is “accessibility” reflecting printmaking’s capacity to produce multiple original works of art accessible to the masses. I decided to deal with the opposite and created an image that deals with the masses being barred from access.

“Barred” is a tiny intaglio print measuring 3” X 3” printed as a bleed image on Hanhnemuhle-Copperplate. It deals with the issue of “no access” by obstructing entry with the construction of a barricade of sticks and battens to exclude the masses. I decided to work with the simple starkness of the black and white to emphasize the complexity of the pattern and rhythm created in such a small space.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Spent the day playing around with my dress form print and experimenting with options for the background. After much trial & error and proofing I decided that less was more and there was no need to over work the background. Since the print is only 7" X 5" and a bleed image, I decided to keep things simple. Funny how sometimes your first option turns out to be the best but you still feel compelled to mess around with the image anyway. As usual, my desk is covered with about 6 different ideas and sketches for upcoming exchanges and exhibitions; along with today's proofs.

It was a productive day. I've settled on the image, fine-tuned my plates, paper is torn and my inks are mixed; ready to edition. I'm using two ImagOn plates. I'll ink the background first in a cool gray and then roll a transparent yellow ocher over the candle area. The second plate with the dress form and the hash marks will be printed over the background in black. I'm hoping that if I get an early start I can complete the edition in one day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snowed in but studio is warm

Yet another snow storm here in Connecticut but I made good progress on a print for an upcoming show entitled Micro/Macro. The Micro part requires exhibitors to create an edition of 25 bleed prints measuring 5" X 7" and sometimes it's difficult to come up with an interesting image for such a small format. I've been working on various sketches and plates and finally settled on an image. Yesterday was spent proofing, experimenting with color options and tweaking the image. A few more adjustments and I should be ready to edition.

Many times an artist is asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" Of course, inspiration can come from anywhere but I thought I'd share my catalyst for this new print and introduce you to my muse.
Years ago, I found this great old dress form by the side of the road and being the "junk" collector that I am, I just had to stop and throw it in the car. Even though it stands in the studio and holds my aprons and work shirts it was always my intention to use it as a subject for a series of prints. I can relate to "her", as she stands there by the window, still proud but a little frayed around the edges and showing her age. That's when it struck me; use her as a metaphor for myself and this whole inevitable aging process.

On the technical side, I am doing a photopolymer intaglio using ImagOn film. I worked up the background as a drawing and scanned it into my computer. A photograph of my muse was altered in Photo Shop and superimposed over the background. ImagOn was adhered to two plexiglass plates and then exposed to the transparencies. My plan it to print the background plate first, then the dress form image over it. Because I'm using Akua inks, I can print without dampening the paper which will make the registration easier. We'll see how it goes as I prepare for editioning.

This is what I have so far and will make a few changes before I'm ready to call it finished. The birthday candles in the background, the hash marks and of course the condition of the dress form record the passage of time.