Saturday, November 15, 2008
Back to Back Stickleback
I have become, finally, a proud owner of art. Not my own art, and let's not quibble about definitions here, but other peoples art. Maybe this surprises you, or not, but I'm not in the market to be a buyer, nor do I expect to be. I don't even hang my own art, avoiding the expense of matting and framing. I'm that cheap, or lets say frugal (sounds better). But on Thursday I went to an ATC Trading Event at the local gallery (Latcham
Gallery in Stouffville). For those not yet in the know, ATC stands for Art Trading Card and by definition are sized 2.5 x 3.5 inches. We trade them (if you sell them, and I have, they are ACEO's, another story). I should feel especially priveleged that my small town has a gallery of its own--the curator told me so. I tend to agree with her, especially being admissions are free. See what I mean by cheap, erm....frugal.
It was, for me, a pretty nervy thing to do, putting my art out there, in front of real people who might actually think my art sucks. The internet doesn't count, because I won't see you grimace. But I did it, and then stepped back into the shadows to do a pretty good imitation of being a turtle while the trading commenced. I had back-up (hi Cyd), but she abandoned me for the bathroom (and yes I am that insecure that it felt that way) but it worked out well in the end. People asked me to trade with them. Oh wow! The fish prints went over quite well, and some other things.
I was afraid there would be dickering, like you can't have that card unless I get this one, etc. but it was basically you pick yours, I pick mine, this is fun and then on to the next person. So now I have 13 original art cards. I'm so proud to have art to hang that I bought myself a cork board for their display and gently pinned some of my favourites (to be changed and rearranged at anytime). I've pinned around the cards, not into the cards. My only disappointment is that I didn't get any contact information. As I couldn't get permission to post their artwork, I smudged the actual artwork as I'm a stickler for copyright rules.
For those of you interested in printmaking, the trio of stamped impressions shows the progression an almost finished stamp. I test it out, and see how much more carving I need to do. You can always carve more, but you can never put back, so making test prints along the way is super important. I got this one finished with only 4 tests, the 4th being final. I've used material whose name escapes me. People call it "the soft stuff", possibly 'softoleum'. I'm not sure as I buy it by feel--as in I walk over to the printmaking section, pull out the materials, decide which piece feels good and buy it. It's gritty like linoleum but thick and carves like butter. It's heavy and feels good in the hands. I love this stuff and would gladly carve nothing else. I've scanned the block too so you can see how I get carried away in the negative spaces. This can be a problem (I'm struggling with a coloured pencil piece due to this impulse) but I just love doing those swirly lines even if they end up invisible in the final production. For the actual ATC's, I did salty watercolour washes over a failed painting to use as background. It felt very good to reclaim the paper (also, fits in with being phenomenally cheap, erm...frugal). I used black & gold water-based printers ink and a small roller. I rolled the ink onto a piece of acrylic, and then rolled the ink onto the stamp. I cut the ATC's out with a knife when all was dry.
The stickleback is a small fish that inhabits all sorts of lakes, streams and ponds. There are a multitude of species and researchers love to study their genetics. This carving doesn't represent any particular one as it is rather stylized. They are, however, that spiny and their eyes are that enormous.