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.

12 comments:

Jennifer Rose said...

the fish look great. you did a really nice job with the scale textures :)

was it this stuff?? pretty much just a big eraser lol I know people do use erasers to make stamps with

kaslkaos said...

That stuff I haven't used, but maybe it's similar to white vinyl eraser, which is a good carving medium, though limited in size.
Whatever I'm using is more a soft & thick version of lino and comes in large slabs that I cut down to size. Now I really do have to get the proper name, don't I?

Chrissy said...

I love the stickleback...I think atrist Tradin card sounds like such a great idea. the other one that I have come across and it sounds like a really wonderful thing to have a go at is a moleskin exchange (I didn't know what was was to be honest). I couldn't work out how many books were sent around the world but I saw a group of artists who got together and started a book each and then the others all drew and painted in it until eventually each book went back to the originator. Bet you board looks great, I have a similar board over my craft desk and it has all sorts of things that people have sent me, I love it :D

kaslkaos said...

Now I want to look into the 'moleskin' idea. That sounds fascinating. Another thing to look into, thanks!

Chrissy said...

Check it out on here. Vivien took part in one and if you follow her posts back you can see what they did :-D

Chrissy said...

OOops I forgot to post the link, what am I like? Jen has come across people that have done them, very knowledgable she is ;)

http://vivienb.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Rose said...

If we can get some more people we could start our own little sketchbook exchange.Its always cool seeing art from other people and from other countries and at the end you are left with a great piece of art :)

kaslkaos said...

I'll check it out more when I can, but I think I'm in! Thanks for the link Chrissy.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

I just bought a Moleskine...!

Way to go! I love the fish! I tried that stuff for carving something to print onto fabric. It's pretty cool... I think I used Soft-Kut.

kaslkaos said...

Great, will the moleskin be making the rounds? (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)
I've always love printmaking, the whole feel of it, and the graphic qualities of solid darks. Haven't had much luck printing on fabric though. The finer details never show through.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Love that carving material! The only downside is that it tends to erode over time, so if you plan to make a large edition, it can lose detail.

kaslkaos said...

Lisa and Rob: I just peaked at your profile--hiking, printmaking & letterboxing!!! Cool.
Love your input. I'm doing hand-pulled prints now, and confess to using this stuff for letterboxing too. No big runs (or busy boxes). But it's good to know the strengths & weakness of a material. Thanks.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin