Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Clutch of Dragons

Back from the holidays and my blog break. I’m not much of a social networker; I don’t even own a cell-phone, and I don’t understand people who live tethered to their blackberries or other devices. I have an android tablet (which doesn’t prove that I’m not a luddite, because I am) but I use it ‘offline’ for private matters, like reading and listening to radio documentaries (not to mention games—oops, shhhh). I like being off-line, spending time with myself, or select friends of various species (referring to my cats, my dog, my husband and a few close friends), and wandering through woodlands worshipping (in a purely scientific manner) trees. All of which activities I consider an excellent use of holidays. So now I’m back, sorry for being less than sociable (sort of, because, let’s face it, I am) and I will be visiting with you electronically soon.
Here’s my latest project.  Every year Proof Studio Gallery hosts an international print exchange using the Chinese New Year as a theme. This year it’s Year of the Dragon.  I need to send in 5 to 3 dragons, and I can’t decide. The above image was more than a year in the making, as the background is a gelatin print of many layers that I worked over sporadically between months of storage. It’s one of the few I’ve ever done on watercolour paper, which adds a heavy texture and some technical challenges. Sometimes I get gelatin prints that I LOVE and I’m so afraid of wrecking them that I put them aside, sometimes for a very long time, waiting for the right idea, image, or technique to come along to finish them off. My dragon foam plate is one such. It just all came together.
Here is my white dragon; the background is gelatin and foam plate printing (swirly design); the dragon is white ink with some red painted in for a one press monoprint.  I added detail in red ink pen and silver metallic pen. This is my personal favourite, and I don’t think I will be willing to part with it.
This is another year long print. It’s probably impossible to see, but in the background I used horsetail (the plant) on gelatin to create a bamboo-like texture. It was in my ‘stack’, and I fished it out for this project.
This one didn’t scan well; the background is very pale but quite colourful in the real world (primary colours).  The dragon is reversed as I inked the foam plate, then pressed it onto the gelatin, and printed off of the gelatin. I did a few of these.
And I can’t for the life of me remember how I did this one, but I think I used the dragon while the white ink was still on the foam plate and the previous layer of blue ink bled through (I sometimes like leaving previous layers of ink just to see what comes up). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
This is the ‘back stage’ shot, scans of my foam plate. This is my ‘foam plate’ made up of several polystyrene disposable plates. Since my design didn’t fit the materials at hand, I had to improvise with tape and careful knife work. The ‘scale’ pattern was somewhat dictated by the need to hide seams.
Now I need to decide which of my babies will get shipped off to Toronto, and which remain in the hoard.  And how am I to do that?


Michelle Basic Hendry said...

These are beautiful. Your patterns within an image are so creative and organic. My favourites are the first and third for colour.

You should see the size of the horsetail down here!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

hmmm so hard to choose as they are all very nice :D its a great design, close your eyes and point to some to send away?

Chrissy said...

They are lovely, I like the one above your fave as my special choice :D As for being unsociable, I think we all go though that...and need it :) It is usually where I cannot think of a single thing to say when I know that I need to take a break.

Chrissy said...

below even ;)

kaslkaos said...

Oh Thanks all for compliments, of course, but NO help deciding, heh heh, that's okay, I sent 4 of 8 off anyway, confessing that I kept my personal favourites aside, and one of the weaker ones too.
Chrissy, as for not being able to think of a thing to say, that happens to me a lot. Not sure why... except sometimes when things get personal I back away.

Laurel said...

Wow!I'm glad I'm too late to help you choose. I couldn't decide. I love the look you get with the foam plates. I'm just getting back from my long blog break. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday: )


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