Monday, June 1, 2020

Sacrificial Proofs

New week, new print in the works.

I wanted to do a piece referencing social distancing, since we're all experiencing separation anxiety in one way or another. I've given this image a lot of thought and wanted to try something different. So lots of experimentation is required before the piece is resolved, which means sacrificing a few prints.

I'm keeping the rope web theme of the previous pieces but want to tear into this print and add other elements. There's lots of different directions I can go with this one so I'm planning on doing this as a series of monoprints. Besides, it will be next to impossible to get each tear the same for an edition.

The first tear was the hardest; trying to get it just so. This seems too wide but I wanted to see how a print of the virus would look added behind the print.

I then tried a double print. The virus plate was printed on one side of the paper and the figurative print on the other. Since I was considering leaving the torn curl of paper on the print, this allowed me to  have an image on the back side of the torn piece. I liked this but will need to make the torn shape a bit larger, or the virus print a bit smaller, to be effective. I may even decide to eliminate it altogether.

Next experiment, a rubber stamp (made from an eraser) of a simple house shape. This was printed on Awagami paper and placed in the void. This looks promising too.

At the moment, lots to consider as I grapple with this piece. Looking forward to a week of experimentation.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Creative process

Any creative process is a series of twists and turns. You begin with an idea and see where it takes you. Sometimes it's obvious which direction to go in and other times there are detours.

Film positive 1
I started another piece for my pandemic series. It began with two plates: a figure in a rope web and an image of Covid-19.

Film positive 2

I originally thought that a break between the two images would work well and represent a safety zone between the virus and the figure.

After pulling a proof and contemplating my next move, I decided that I wasn't happy with the image divided in two. It didn't look cohesive. The two smaller plates won't be discarded and will be fun to experiment with and see how they can be used in a different way.

The image was reworked and a new Solarplate exposed.

I'm happier with the new proof. Compositionally, the image is much more successful. Now to decide which direction to take.

I felt a second plate for background color would add to the imageI took the removable plastic sheet that protects the Solarplate and making sure that both plates were the same size, I rolled on color.

I'm pleased with the results and will now experiment with color strength.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Virus Series in the works

Second print under way.

Again, I'm working with a Solarplate. I'm not so taken with the print yet and feel it needs something else. The dress has the virus pattern on it but I added chine colle' to highlight it.

I also applied a sheet of Awagami decorative paper to the background.

The print still needs some tweaking.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The state of things

One advantage to staying home is that there's plenty of studio time. Keeping busy helps me to not obsess about the state of things ... while working on a series about the state of things. Ha!

Going through my photos, I found a couple of shots of the grand-kids climbing a web like rope structure. Being trapped in that environment seemed like the perfect metaphor for societies current situation: social distancing, quarantine, uncertainty, misinformation and conflicting viewpoints.

My originals were downloaded to PhotoShop, manipulated and extra webbing was added using a discarded onion bag. Positives were printed.

I exposed a Solarplate with the figure image, then decided to also create a second plate using ImagOn film for an image of the actual Covid-19 virus.

I was pretty happy with the outcome. My intention was to keep the figure fairly silhouetted so it would represent no one individual, but rather any individual.

 I was even happier after I added the background plate of the virus.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Green Door International Print Exchange

Today I completed my edition of ten for the 2020 Green Door IPE.

I've participated in this exchange for a few years now and enjoy playing around with such a small format; paper size is a mere 5.5" square and the image no more than 3.9". I decided that in this time of pandemic gloom and doom, I would focus on a positive image - my forsythia bush.

After playing around with various colors, I decided to keep it simple and fairly monochromatic. Since this shrub is know for it sunny color, I went with bright yellow Akua intaglio ink on Awagami's Washi paper. The paper was a pale creamy color with fine fibers running throughout, so printing with the bright color was simple and effective.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Emerald Print Exchange

A dozen prints signed and labeled for this year's Emerald Print Exchange.

Restraint is a 5"x7" photopolymer intaglio bleed print. I chose the bleed print format because, in itself, that is a form of restraint on the image. Using a subtle tint of color also complimented the idea of restraint.

The title was chosen for obvious reasons, since that is the purpose of a girdle. But I couldn't help but be aware, that in these strange times in which we are living in, there is definitely a sense of restraint on all levels of life. May in not be like that for long.

Another rainy day here in Connecticut. I take advantage of gray days here at TreeTop Press because less sun coming in the windows means it's a little easier to work with photopolymer plates.

Going through my shelves finding small sizes of plates and hoping some of the older ones are still viable. (I would hate to venture a guess as to how old these orange Solarplates are.) Big difference compared to the newer gold plate.

Turns out the plates worked! I created a positive from a photo I took of some overgrown beach grass and snow fence and was pleased with the image. After proofing I decided that I preferred the starkness of the black and white print.

I printed an edition of 15 on Arnham cream paper for this years 9INHANDPRESS international print exchange. Image size 5"x 5" on 8"x 10" paper. Check out the requirements if you're looking for something to keep you busy during this social distancing.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Double meaning

Completed my first piece for the upcoming show at the Mark Twain house, which is scheduled for 2022/2023.

"Caustic" is a monoprint collage. My inspiration was a quote about anger which resonated on a personal level.  Everyone gets angry. But, there are some angers that are so deep seated one has to make an effort not to let them eat away at you. Even though you keep them hidden, there are times when they occupy ones thoughts more than intended.

In progress close-up of "Caustic"

Starting with a shadow image of myself, a series of photos were downloaded and manipulated in PhotoShop. The Solarplate I made was printed on both Arnham paper and rice paper. At this point I wasn't sure which direction this would go but decided to cut out the figure and use assorted Awagami Japanese papers to fill the void, allowing me to build up a mixture of colors, layers and textures. See the completed piece here

When I began working on this the Corona Virus pandemic hadn't hit it's peak in this country, but not the case as I was finishing it up. Sadly, the image took on a whole new meaning as more and more people were being diagnosed with Covid 19. Instead of anger I keep thinking about a virus attacking the body.

When I recently found this image on line, the resemblance to my print was definitely unsettling. Time to explore the possibilities of a second monoprint.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Social Distancing in the Studio

With everyone hunkering down because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the studio is the perfect place to keep busy, in solitude.

I'm currently working on a piece for an upcoming group show at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Ct. Artist members from the Printmakers' Network of Southern New England are challenged to create work based on the writings of Mark Twain. After reading a number of his quotes, one in particular spoke to me on a personal level.

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured."

Seems as though there is so much to be angry about these days: the state of our government, ineffective politicians, an egotistical president and now an uncontrollable pandemic. I need to remind myself to step back from things that are uncontrollable and just breath.

I found an old piece of Solarplate and decided to see if it was still usable. Turned out it worked.

Inkjet positive                   Inked Solarplate                      Proof        

At the moment, I'm approaching this as a one-of-a-kind print collage. The image is based on a shadow photographed along the beach. Waves were added along with some surface bubbles; appropriate since waves, like acid, are capable of damaging erosion.

I carefully cut out the figure and used a hole punch to create voids in some of the bubbles.

I'm not sure if I'll print a monotype plate to add color behind the figure or use a variety of Awagami Japanese papers to fill in the void. Right now I'm kind of liking the papers.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

New Year - New Challenges

My guy surprised me with a fabulous Xmas present - an Ink Jet printer. 

Whenever I've worked in a photopolymer studio setting, I've noticed that they create their film positives using an ink jet rather than a laser printer. The quality of the image always seemed spot on.

 Today I finally had a chance to do some testing with my new printer.

I created the film yesterday and let it dry over night. I was excited by the clarity of the image.

This morning I was eager to see how the film would work so didn't bother with small step-test Solarplates. I lost some of the subtle values with a bit too much exposure but liked what I saw after processing the plate; lots of detail.

I was also eager to try some Gamblin oil based ink. I was surprised to find that many workshops use oil based ink when printing their Solarplates claiming it produced a better image. Some even mix the Akua ink with the oil based.

Being a devoted Akua user, it's been awhile since I've used oil based ink and had forgotten how different it is to wipe the plate - more labor intensive. I printed on damp Arnham paper and ended up with a decent print.

For comparison, I inked the plate with Akua Intaglio soy based ink. Much easier to wipe. Same damp paper was used and I ended up with another good print.

Here are the two proofs side by side. The Akua ink on the left and the Gamblin to the right. There is less plate tone with the Akua but both inks produced a good print. I like the Akua one better but more experimenting is planned.

I think I'll continue to play around with this plate and use it for an upcoming exchange portfolio.

So, I'm off to a good start and hope to get some momentum going for a decent 2020 in the studio.