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.