Sun Series #1

Sun Series #1

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Is It a Collagraph or a Monoprint?

Mono print of a maple leaf quilt block
2nd inking of the block

Mono print of the maple leaf quilt block
3rd inking of the block

Collagraph print with manipulated ink

Collagrpah print with black ink

I am still working with collagraphs but moving into mono printing.
It takes a lot of trial and error to develop the print quality you are looking for in a collagrpah print.
That's why you might see so many images of the same plate on my instagram page.
And believe me, I am not posting all of them!

But this is one of the benefits of printmaking that involves a plate.
You can really work with it, manipulate it and develop nuances with each print.
And, you can carry that further if you add mixed media enhancements like colored pencil, watercolor
or collage to the print.

Mono printing doesn't involve a plate that has the same permanent imagery or elements on it, but
rather offers the artist the opportunity to create variations of elements by working and reworking
the original design on the plate.  The quilt block prints above are,  to my mind, in between collagraph printing
and monoprinting.  There was no plate, just the fabric quit block, which allowed me to repeat
 the imagery.  I can only go so far with this as the fabric becomes soaked and imbedded with ink.
But it offers that same quality of showing the stitching and threads that I would get if it had been mounted
on a board and used as a true collagraph.

There is lots more here to explore.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Adventures in Printmaking Continued

mixed media collagraph on paper
12 x 8"
I have been concentrating on collagraph prints for the past two weeks.
A collagraph is made up of low relief materials that are collaged onto a sturdy board, then sealed, inked, and wiped.  The plate is printed on either wet paper or fabric most often using a printing press.

I worked with collagraphs a lot when I was in graduate school and then as a college teacher, but haven't done much with that technique in the past few years, so it was time to uncover the press and get to work.

Part of my experimenting has been seeing how I could incorporate the other media I like to work with once the collagraph is printed.  
The above piece includes some watercolor, colored pencil and collage.

"Blue-Eyed Gardener"
mixed media collagraph
14 x 14"

This piece is on cotton fabric with a second print of the handkerchief on organza.
The face is a transfer, the plants were inked and printed directly to the cotton fabric and then the two
pieces were stitched together.

I am having fun, working without the pressure of making something that is exhibit ready.
But I have put some pressure on myself to work on some aspect of printmaking each day in September.
So far, so good.

Soon I will be moving on to mono type.
Thanks for reading!

You can see more of the collagraph prints on my Instagram page.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Adventures in Printmaking Day 5 and 6

collagraph print with colored pencil
"Nest" collagraph print with monotype lace*
(before colored pencil)

I have set September aside to explore and recharge my artistic spirit by returning to printmaking,
something I reallyenjoy but not part of my regular art practice.  Although I think maybe it should be.
I have made about 15 prints in the last six days, all using this nest collagraph plate
that I had made several years ago.

The reason for using the same plate over and over is to end up with several good prints as one has worked out all of the bugs in printing this particular plate.  The bugs being the pressure of the press, how much ink to leave on the plate (plate tone), the kind of ink or pigment*, the type of paper.
All of these variable affect the end product.

The final works that I have gotten that are most successful are the ones where I have incorporated colored pencil
after the piece has dried.  I love the depth of the image and the way the embossed areas
pick up the colored pencil.  I haven't been able to get that just from the way I have been wiping the plate.
So more practice and experiments in regards to using more than one color of ink are called for.

I think because I have been doing so much mixed media work that adding other media to my work
is my defaultmove.  Not that this is bad.  Mixed media and collage are part of my visual voice.
 I am almost finished working with this particular plate and will move on to others that I have
and make some new ones. I aso want to work with monotype some more.
So more to come.

*The pictures of these two pieces were taken at different times of day and in different places.  The finished piece isn't quite that dark and the original print isn't quite that light.  This work is on stonehenge printing paper and instead of the Akua inks I have been using I worked with my R&F paint sticks that I use in encaustic painting.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September Discipline

collagraph print on paper
18 x 15"

hand colored collagraph print on paper
18 x 15"

I cannot believe it has been a whole month since my last post.
August was crazy busy and a whirlwind in reference to time.
Gardening, lots of family, teaching workshops, and the usual life maintenance stuff.

But I am back in the studio, with a challenge to myself to complete a month of investigating or rediscovering
printmaking.  I am hoping to do some kind of print process each day and have started with collagraphy.
The top image is the first of 4 prints I did today.
As suspected it did not print completely.
I think I needed to tighten the pressure on my press, which I did.
I made 2 more prints on paper and one on fabric of this same plate.

The bottom image is the first print hand colored with colored pencil.
That is one of the beauties of collagraphs.  One can go back in and rework them or add to them as I
did here.  The raised or embossed surfaces of the collagraph picked up the colored pencil so well.

I will continue to work with this plate for a few more days.
Want to try some chine colle' and other collage techniques.
I promise not to wait another whole month before I post again.
Daily images without all of the explanations I put in a blog post can be seen on instagram.
Thanks for staying with me!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Self Made Residency, Part 2

"From the Elements Series:Air"
mixed media painting with collage
80 x 27 x 1.5"

In an earlier blog I mentioned that I since I couldn't go on a residency this summer I declared July
'Art Month' with the intent of spending as much time as possible in the studio.
I did manage to create 2 pieces based on ideas I had been thinking about for quite awhile.
The first piece I talked about in my last post dated July 23rd.

The piece here is the largest work I have made in a long time.
It is painted on a hollow core door and is the first in a 4 part series based on the elements: earth, air, fire and water.

I wanted to create a work that had enough information in it so the viewer could create their own narrative
based on the images, colors, and emotions evoked in the piece.  There is also a bit of mystery here with the bird, key and cage that is personal to me but universal images that might suggest something completely different to you.

Keys, zippers, bird cages, clocks, and dandelions are part of my visual vocabulary as is the stoic countenance
 of the angel in the cage. Those of you who know my work also recognize this dress shape from past work.

The challenge was the size, using primarily paint as oppose to collage and the fact that I couldn't do
any direct sewing on a door.  Although I am working on that!  I have drilled holes and sewn on wood
panels, but the door presents other problems.

The success was incorporating the dress into the background in a way that suggests that it is floating
or becoming part of the atmosphere/air. I don't know if I will tinker with it any more or not.
That may depend upon the development of the next one in the series which will probably be 'earth'.

Monday, July 23, 2018

In Case I Forget

"In Case I Forget"
mixed media collage
24 x 24 1.5"

This work has been a long time in coming.
I have been thinking about aspects of Dementia, Alzheimer's and aging for about 5 years.

My great Aunt Alice, who was my Confirmation Sponsor, had Dementia.
My Mom's sister also had Alzheimer's or Dementia.
So the subject is close.

I want to be honest but also not depict the person without dignity.
While there is a sadness associated with these images they also portray the creative life of the person.
Someone who sewed, did needlepoint, quilted, had family members they held close to them.
This is what I wouldn't want to forget.

The use of the window frame references our ability to look in to who they were/are as well
as their ability to remember, at times, and look out.
Looking in / Looking out.

I don't think I am able to completely express in words all that this work holds for me.
That is why I make express what I just can't say with words.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Does This Count?

Solar Dyed Threads

So...I am on my "Self Made Residency" home.
It is July.
And while the upkeep in the garden is at a minimum, the harvesting and production is not.
Cucumbers arte begging to be turned into pickles.
Green beans need to be blanched.
Onions and garlic need to be harvested and hung out to dry.
Everything needs to be watered daily and I won't even mention weeding.
Probably not happening.

So my time is really not totally for art making.
But I did manage to solar dye some silk threads.
I used petunias, marigolds, onion skins (of course), and purple day lilies.
The image above is my result.

I do like to work with these solar dyed threads.
They add a person touch to my stitching.

So my question is...Does this count as making art during my residency?
I hope so, because that along with making dill pickles, blanching green beans, and hanging the onions out to dry is what
I accomplished today.