Thursday, July 28, 2011

Works in Progress & Google+

I finally cooked up new gelatin plates last night. In a hurry, I turned the stove on High, and in the blink of an eye, the whole mess boiled over. It’s an ancient stove, the electric kind with heavy iron burner, open top and plenty of room for disaster. I had to dismantle all the parts, just like my Mom used to do, and scrub and wash the elements, and the iron bowl things (have no clue what you call the parts) and reach underneath and attempt to remove all the gelatin that had oozed under the elements. Yuck.
All’s well that ends well. I’ve pulled a whole bunch of leaf prints. I’m meaning to turn them into 4x6 artworks, but now I’m not sure if I’ll have the heart to do the slice and dice on some of them. We’ll see.
And below the new linocuts I intend to use on the gelatin prints, and some frottage WIP’s on mulberry paper.
And now to google+ , it’s lonely out there!  I’ve always been annoyed with twitter and facebook in that every post is all or nothing. With google+ you can (secretly) put people into different categories, such as friends, family, people I know but rather didn’t, people I party with, grandmothers and other nannies, etc.. It solves a lot of socially awkward moments I’m sure.  So I’m hoping folks will move on over soonish. So far, I only have one friend in the friend category (thanks Jennifer!), and a small heap of people I don’t know but would like to in the “artists” category. I’m posting my WIP’s there, and you can view them here: 2011 Works In Progress
That’s a Picassa album, so you can just wander over and view them anytime (nothing to do with google+). I’ll try to add more as time goes by. If you click on the little RSS button in the album, you will see WIP as it goes up.
If you do want to try out google+ and need an invite, just send me an email. I would love some company.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Synergies, or why you just never know where things may lead

So, I once titled an artwork, Remember Where You Came From, But Always Know Where You’re Going (or something to that effect). It’s the knowing where you’re going that can get difficult, especially when life throws in a wrench or two.  So when things got hairy for me at the beginning the year, I started casting around, looking for anchors. I didn’t find any, so way back in February, I purchased a big beautiful analogue watch with working compass built in. I figured that, no matter how mixed up I might feel, at the very least I could always get an exact reading on my physical direction. It wasn’t exactly what I was after, but maybe the symbolism would work—or not…
But now, here I am, back at it again (finally!). Before I left off creating art altogether, I was going places with printing on gelatin, but it’s still WAY to hot to cook up a new one (I hate waste), so I’ve been trying other ways to create the same intriguing layers, and, WhOO! coloured pencil frottage over linocuts, cork, and and an old cutting board seem to fit the bill. These are works done in a day, very small, on mulberry paper which is very delicate. I used Prismacolor Sticks for the most part as they have a nice large flat surface, but the colours are limited, so I also used some regular Prisma’s and scribbled gently.
If some of these designs look vaguely familiar—they are. I’m reusing some of my linocuts. One of the reasons I don’t edition plates is that I never know when I’ll be done. With editions, you set a limit at the outset, print off your batch, and (if you’re being honest) destroy your plate. I can’t imagine knowing at the outset how many I would want. But when it comes to monoprints (which these are) it all of that becomes moot, as a monoprint is one-of-a-kind. And, while I carved these plates last year, I don’t feel anywhere close to ‘finished’ with them, especially now that I’ve discovered that a new technique, idea, treatment, etc. may fly in from any direction whatsoever. I actually love playing with variation through repetitions.
In this case, I was just searching through the materials I had at hand, and for something I could accomplish in a day, but when I look at these, I can see all the abstract atc’s I worked on in pencils (I actually have quite a stack), and all the knowledge of layering from my coloured pencil works, and the reworking and overprinting of relief elements on gelatin, all coming together. A synergy, of everything I’ve done thus far.
And I still don’t know where I’m going next, and that’s a good thing.
Technical Stuff: Frottage (at least in the art world (wipe that smirk off your face)) means to rub something across a textured surface to make an impression. In this case the coloured pencil. Most of these had a first layer done over a well used cutting board which created a nice random fill. A large cork coaster adding interesting rough grain, and then it I used my linocuts for top layers and accents. Mulberry paper is very soft, so it was relatively slow (but mesmerizing) process, as I needed to avoid ripping it. Unlike gelatin printmaking, pencil frottage gives the artist a huge amount of control, as layers are created slowly over a long period of time.
For the green one, at each layer, I would fill a small area, and then shift the orientation of the paper.The accent features/lines are a combination of relief/frottage and drawing, one echoing the other.
This was fun, and I’ll do it again, and again, and then try to resist making another frottage joke, really.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Friends and Neighbours

It’s been awhile. My muse, sociability, and a bunch of other things went into hiding for awhile. Just to get my feet wet again, I thought I’d start with a straight up monochrome linocut, ACEO sized.  Life still isn’t predictable enough for me to want cook up a gelatin plate.  I’ve seen a few too many in the past six months go rancid before I could make sufficient use of them, and in the current heat wave, a new one wouldn’t last the week, regardless of refrigeration, so I confined myself to more traditional means.
Still, I miss the soft transparencies that one can effect with the gelatin, and I was all out of cream Stonehenge paper, so I had to really scratch my brain out to find something suitable for my cute cats. I found any kind of relief printing to be too harsh a background, and finally tried, and succeed with frottage (fancy French term for rubbing, not always in reference to artistic pursuits). This is a technique most of us tried in Kindergarten the first time around, and I revisited it once in my 1st year of art college.  In this case, I only wanted to highlight the linocut image, so using an ochre coloured Prismacolor stick (like the pencil crayon, without the wood) I rubbed up a wood grained background onto mulberry paper.
Simple and direct, and just right for the purpose. I wanted an image I could use to gift my neighbours. Upon hearing the news (see last post) my neighbours to the south handed up (literally, my husband and were on our balcony) a very large bowl of hand picked, warm from the field strawberries, which we gorged on in lieu of a decent dinner. Our neighbours to the north delivered a still warm from the oven home baked rhubarb pie.  These were comforting gifts on a number of different levels.  I still haven’t gotten around to thanking them, but hopefully, once I get the kitties framed up, I will do so.
So it’s a start. Next week, I’ll probably do some more kitties in lino, getting back to the art in easy steps. I have also been invited back to the York Regional Forest, Nature’s Creations show in September, which gives a goal for moving forward which is distant enough not to intimidate.
Well, enough for now,
and P.S. my 7” internet tablet has been named Purcey, as in Purse –Sized Computer.  As soon as I get myself a mini-keyboard, I will be able to compose my words anywhere and everywhere, as opposed to being tethered to my regular computer.


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