Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Trials & Tribulations

Its been awhile since I've had any worthwhile block of time in the studio.  It seems as though life is throwing curve balls my way.

The summer was busy as usual with visits from the grand-kids and time spent at the beach. (Anyone with little ones around know how all consuming they can be, but so much fun.) By September , I was back in the studio beginning a few new projects and participating in a couple of local group shows; all was well.

My husband surprised me with a trip to Jade Mountain St. Lucia in October so we could relax before the holidays. We had a lovely time and once we got back home, I was ready to get back to work.

However, our arrival home at 2:00 AM on a Sunday morning wasn't so sweet. A strong odor hit us as we opened the door and we found that our fully stocked refrigerator/freezer had "died" while we were away. Lots of spoiled food!

Fifteen years ago when we remodeled the kitchen, we opted to install a built in refrigerator. It looked great and ran well. But, come to find out, it’s not easy to replace. It took almost 2 months to get a new fridge; nothing like living without one for a couple of months! Fingers crossed that the panels from the old one fit the new.

Anyway, things were falling back in place when this tree caused the next catastrophe.

After an early November wind storm had wrecked havoc on a few trees on our property, my husband grabbed his chain saw and headed out to clean up. Halfway through a cut on this dead tree, it split vertically, struck him and threw him against a nearby stone wall. When I hadn't heard the chain saw running for a few minutes, I called out to him and found him bloodied and lying against the wall.

My heart dropped when I found him!

I called 911 and he was rushed to the local hospital and then transferred to the Bone & Joint Center in Hartford. After running numerous tests, we were relieved to hear there were no head or back injuries or broken ribs. The worst injury was a nasty tibial plateau fracture and badly stretched ligaments in his left shoulder.

His facial lacerations were stitched up and he was taken to surgery where they applied an external brace to his leg.This needed to be in place for 10 days or so until the swelling went down enough to operate and repair the bone.

Because hospitals now discharge you in as few days as possible, he needed to be sent to a rehab home to recuperate. Let me tell you, you don't want to spend time in one of those facilities - especially for 10 days! Depressing environment and not always the best care. Because he was in such pain, I ended up spending 7 to 8 hours there each day to make sure his needs were met and the wounds on his leg, (where they drilled pins into his bones to support the brace) were cleaned properly. All but one or two of the care givers had ever seen a brace like this before so no one was sure what to do. Thankfully, they had shown me what to do before we left the hospital.

Once the swelling was in check, it was back to Hartford and into surgery again where permanent pins and plates were inserted into the tibia; we were told the fibula would take care of itself. The shoulder would be on a wait and see what develops kind of thing.

A few days later it was back to a rehab home (we switched to a different one) and had a slightly better experience. However, I brought him home after a few days because I could take much better care of him there. It was just a matter of figuring out new daily routines and how to handle a wheelchair and walker.

This mishap occurred the very beginning of November.

I celebrated my birthday by being grateful that I still had my guy around. Thanksgiving was low key and we missed our annual get together with the grand-kids. It looks like Christmas will be a quiet celebration as well.

Right now I'm his "legs" and have been doing what needs to be done: lots of care giving duties, normal household chores, outdoor chores, going out to cut down a Christmas tree and getting it set up, decorating for the holiday, shopping, etc. Boy am I tired! Definitely no time in the studio.

The good thing is we're at the point where every day gets a little better. He's able to get around more with the walker and the focus is on physical therapy and getting the knee and ankle loosened up so that after Christmas, when he gets the go ahead to start applying weight to his leg, things should improve. Thank God for the chair lift we installed! Without that, it would be a real struggle getting him up and down the stairs.

Needless to say I'm not sorry to see the end of 2017 and sincerely hope next year will be better. I'm going to look at this time as a period of hibernation. I'll count my blessings, enjoy the season and look forward to a fresh new year... and some much needed studio time.

I wish everyone peace, love and a fabulous holiday.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Paper Trials

I had a successful morning printing and trying out a few different options using Awagami papers. I've never used these papers before and was curious as to how they would work with intaglio plates and Akua inks. I was pleased with the results.

The image on the left was printed on dry Awagami Shiramine paper using two plates. The right image uses the chine colle' technique; plates were printed on dry Washi paper embedded with noticeable fibers. The support paper is Arnham heavyweight. I like both results but lean toward the warmth of the image on the right.

This piece will be submitted to the 2017 Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition. Once they're dry, I'll ship them off to Japan before the July 31st deadline.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Minature Print Underway

Recently, I came across a miniature print competition sponsored by Awagami Paper. Since life is a little busy at the moment, I thought I'd enter. It helps me to have a goal and a deadline when I feel as though I'm being pulled it too many directions. I have until mid-July to get this piece resolved and on it way.

An added bonus, Awagami sent a package of sample papers. Since I have never used their papers I was curious to see how they performed with the Akua inks and intaglio process.

As luck would have it, I found some old Solarplates (the ones before the new plates with the protective layer) that had gotten shoved back on a studio shelf. I didn't know if they were still usable but they turned out to work fine.

I planned on using two different plates and after exposing the positives, the old Solarplates looked good. The image size is roughly six by eight inches.

Between this and that, I managed to eke out  a bit of studio time for proofing. I was playing around with a few different color variations but noting was finalized. These were printed on dry Arnham paper using Akua intaglio inks.

Chine colle' was used in this one; printing on one of the Awagami sample papers.

At the moment, I'm partial to the one below but that can change once I have time to get back to the studio. Again, I used one of the sample papers, with fine threads running through it, for chine colle'.

For now, "Elusive Perfection" remains just that - elusive.

Friday, February 17, 2017


As I sketch and figure out what larger project I want to tackle next,  I'm keeping busy and having fun working on small print projects

I've just completed my edition for the Green Door Press International Print Exchange. The artist produces 10 prints and will receive a variety of 8 prints in exchange. I've sent work off to this exchange before and its always exciting to receive prints from other artists.

The required print size is small. The paper needs to be 5.5" x 5.5" and the image size a maximum of 3.9" x 3.9". I decided to go with a simple black and white image.

"Tresses" is a photopolymer intaglio produced using a Solarplate. It's printed on Arnham paper using Akua carbon black intaglio ink.

The deadline isn't until August so there's still time if you want to participate.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Moth Project

I stumbled upon an interesting project the other day. Artist Hilary Lorenz put out a call for moth prints.

This sounded like a fun project to participate in so with blizzard conditions outside, I hunkered down in the studio and did a little moth printing.

Since the directive was to print in black and white and keep the image simple, I decided on the Giant Leopard Moth.

This was the perfect opportunity to try out my new Pfeil tools that my husband bought for my birthday and wow, they are nice!

In no time at all, I had the linoleum carved and the plate trimmed.

I had recently purchased Speedball's new professional water-based relief ink so that was put to the test as well. It printed really well and cleaned up easily with soap and water.

Since this is a small plate, I printed by hand using my Print Frog glass baren.

After a few prints though, I switched over to my original 50 year old glass baren. The smaller size worked better for this plate.

Once the prints dry, I'll trim them and let them migrate to Hilary.

And the snow continues to pile up.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Palate Cleanser

When dining at a fine restaurant, a neutral flavored food is often served between courses to clear the palate from one flavor to another. I view print exchanges in a similar way. After working on an involved long drawn out project it's a nice change of pace to do something on a small scale, to keep the studio momentum going, without becoming overly involved time wise.

When I came across the announcement for the Wingtip Press "Leftovers VII" Print Exchange, I knew it would be a fun change of pace.

The premise of  the "Leftovers" exchange is to put to good use some of those many bits and pieces that one always has lying around the studio.

In addition, the exchange benefits a good cause; one of each print submitted will be auctioned off  to benefit a hunger relief task force.

I always have small scraps of Solarplates tucked away, as well as odd sizes of paper. Just what is needed to turn out a small edition of tiny prints.

It didn't take long to have the edition printed.

This morning I dug out my watercolors and added a bit of hand-coloring. All that's left to do is fill out the paperwork and pop these in the mail.

There's still time to submit if you're interested in participating.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Finally finished.

Gifts - Photopolymer intaglio collage monoprint.

Finally! After a day in the studio, I'm ready to call this piece finished. Hand-stitching secured a few grass twigs to the nest print and a few well placed stitches anchored the crocheted nest in place.

My intention was to juxtapose an image of Nature's handiwork with a hand-made attempt at reproduction. No matter how clever one is with their hands, you can't match the beauty of the natural world.

"Gifts" was created as a re-envisioning of an earlier print -  "Offering". Both will be part of a group show entitled Vision / Revision.

I wanted to make a strong reference to Offering, but rather than producing an edition, I decided to experiment with layering prints to create a monoprint collage. As the piece evolved, it was refreshing to play around with options and turned out to be a good way to work when there were so many starts, stops and interruptions.

Time to clean up the studio and start fresh for 2017.

Friday, January 13, 2017

New Year - Old Business

Like everyone else, I was swept up into the end of the year frenzy of family obligations and festivities. Time in the studio was scarce. With the new year well underway it's high time to finish a pending project so I can start anew.

The deadline for an upcoming group show at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking entitled Vision / Revision is fast approaching. Two prints will be shown side by side; one a re-envisioning of an earlier piece. Playing off of "Offering", a traditionally printed edition, I wanted my re-envisioned piece to be more experimental and decided to create a monoprint collage. 

"Offering" and re-envisioned monoprint under construction.

The new piece is composed of two separate images to be mounted as a single print. Both are photopolymer intaglios; one using Solarplate the other ImagOn film. Similar but distinct processes.

I struggled a bit with an image to compliment the nest image...

... and finally settled on this.

I'm in the process of cutting into and assembling various prints into one hopefully cohesive piece.

I also wanted to add dimensional elements so I experimented with crocheting a nest. After a couple of experiments I decided to go with the one made with finer thread.

I plan on stitching a few grass stalks onto the nest portion but I'm currently at a standstill trying to decide how much layering to do.

I'm not sure if I should include the printed arched cutout of netting or omit it.

I'm so close to finally resolving this that I need to step away before making my final decisions. I think I need to head to the beach for a change of scenery and hopefully come back with fresh eyes.

Sooner or later I'll be able to pull it all together.