Friday, August 10, 2012


Spent yesterday morning in the basement with strips of molding and the miter saw. I'm not a big fan of metal frames and prefer to construct my own. Even though it always takes more time than I think it will, wood frames feel more substantial than metal. I finished them with a couple of coats of black gesso, then a coat of butcher's wax. After cutting mattes, I dropped Plexiglass into the frames followed by the prints, Foamcore board for backing and then finished with paper tape to seal the back. Screw eyes and wire completed the job. Anyway, I'm pleased with the results and next weekend these newest works will be heading to the Akus Gallery in Willimantic, Ct.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I've been working on a second piece in my Springer series. I'm trying to decide if I should keep the image as is; dark and mysterious, or add more details. Right now, I like the bold black and white silhouette but I'm going to leave the artist's proof hanging in the studio, to live with it for awhile, before making changes I may regret. The image was worked up on drafting Mylar, exposed to a Solarplate and printed on Arches 88 with Akua ink. My goal is to create a series of prints based on Ruby and Oscar (two extremely cute Springer Spaniels) without making overly sentimental prints. So far so good ... I think.

Nice Surprise.

I like to keep a calendar of local exhibition opportunities so I can plan ahead and have something ready to submit. This year, time got away from me and I almost missed a deadline for an annual juried show. Part of me wanted to skip this year's call for submissions but at the last minute I decided to submit a print. I'm happy I didn't pass up this opportunity; not only was the piece accepted but it received first prize! Nice surprise and confirmation that last minute is better than never.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

First of a Series

I recently had the opportunity to squeeze in some studio time so I decided to work on what I'm calling my "Springer" Series. I've had some great Springer Spaniels over the years and felt it was time to do a series of images dealing with this fantastic breed.
Wanting to keep the subject matter bold and graphic, I decided on an intaglio print; black and white like the dogs. The image was created on drafting Mylar then exposed to a Solarplate that had already been exposed to an aquatint screen. I like to spread the ink with matte board squares, begin wiping with a soft tarlatan and then finish up with a paper wipe; phone book pages wrapped around a felt covered block of wood. A scrap of rubberized "non-skid" material used under throw rugs works well to hold the plate in place while wiping.
Moment of truth. It's always exciting to see what lies beneath the blankets. In this case, I was really happy with the outcome.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Learning from others

As I was taking a break and surfing the web, I found this video of artist Nana Shiomi conducting a moku hanga demonstration. What I found particularly interesting was her technique for placing her paper onto the wet block. She uses a "bridge" to support the paper as she aligns the sheet for registration. This was a clever idea and one that I'm going to file away in my "how to" files. I thought others might find it helpful as well; the demo is well worth a look.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ink, Wipe, Print ....

Ink, wipe, print ... ink, wipe, print ... ink, wipe, print, it's amazing what can be accomplished when you have a block of uninterrupted studio time! I had a great printing rhythm going and was able to complete a sizable edition in a few hours.

Score/2012, selected to mark a twentieth anniversary, is the latest group project of the Printmakers Network of Southern New England. In addition to denoting a group of 20, “score” has many definitions and portfolio participants are challenged to interpret the theme in a 20" X 12" format using any print process.

This is my contribution. A two plate photopolymer intaglio with chine colle' and some hand-coloring with watercolor.

From Here to God

I opted to interpret the theme in terms of time. Having reached three score and one in years, time to me is beginning to feel like a brisk wind that is continuously increasing in velocity. Since I often use bird imagery metaphorically, finding a dead bird triggered the initial inspiration for this print. My print depicts our fleeting existence, ever moving toward the unknown. Time is difficult to define; contradictory in nature since the past is behind us, the future is unknown and our present is fleeting; becoming the past even as we attempt to define it. Like a gust of wind, gone in a second.

As I created this particular image, implied meaning and layering came into play to depict the passage of time and is a result of digital manipulation of personal photographs and transformation of the film negatives by hand.

The image is printed on Hahnemhule Copperplate using Akua inks. I use matte board scraps to spread the ink, begin wiping with a ball of tarlatan and finish up using phone book pages wrapped around a felt covered block.
To provide focal points, color was added using the technique of chine colle’ on the larger plate and hand coloring, with watercolor, on the smaller.
The chine colle' paper is carefully positioned before placing the main printing paper over the plates.

I'm pleased with the outcome and happy to have the edition completed well in advance of the deadline. All that's left to do now is sign and number the prints.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Good to be working again

Feels so good to be back in the studio again. You can check out what I've been working on at WordPress.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Overcoming Inertia

It's been awhile since I've had the luxury of focusing on my studio practice. I always find that after a long absence from my usual work habits inertia sets in. To overcome this, I often "prime the pump" by doing small exercises just to get the creative juices flowing. This morning I decided to use up some of my Solarplate scraps and did a series of test plates to calibrate my exposure unit to some images I had been toying with.

Before I knew it, I was back into the rhythm of things and decided to print an edition for the "Left Overs III" exchange organized by Wingtip Press. Since I was using leftover pieces of polymer plates, along with leftover images that I had been playing around with before the holidays, and had a stack of leftover paper scraps it just seemed appropriate to move on to printing an edition for the "leftovers" exchange.

I'll let these dry, sign them and send them on their way to Wingtip Press.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Year Addition

Happy New Year everyone. I know it's been awhile since I've posted but things have been a little busy here at TreeTop studio. On new years day, a new grandson came into our lives so needless to say, studio time has been put on hold. I'm playing the role of "grandma" and assisting my daughter with the new baby.

I have had several people comment recently about my inclusion of thread in my prints so I decided to post a piece about an earlier experiment with a fiberglass plate and sewing. If you're interested, check it out at Melody Knight Leary

Meanwhile, I have a baby to rock.