Monday, October 20, 2014

Sky Fall

Even though my summer was packed full of activities, every now and then I was able to snatch a wee bit of creative time and work out ideas for possible prints.

The beach is such a great source of inspiration that often times it's almost too much stimuli. The ideas start flowing and eventually you just need to grab one and run with it. I decided to start by focusing on the heavens.

After playing around with a few options, I manipulated images in Photoshop and created some positive transparencies. Solarplate scraps were used to test exposure times and then plates were burnt.

When I'm at the beach, I never tire of the constantly changing cloud formations that having an unobstructed view affords. Being used to living in the woods, surrounded by tall oaks, definitely hinders ones view of the horizon. Looking up through the canopy of leaves provides me with a cropped sky view; always beautiful but nothing as stunning as a wide open vista.

Individual sections on left, single print on right.
Originally, I was going to create one long print on a single sheet of paper but decided instead to work with sections.

First I printed two separate plates as a diptych. It was OK but seemed to lack a connection between the two images. I decided to create an additional narrow plate; just clouds. I cut the sections apart and inked them separately varying the colors slightly and using chine colle' on the moon section. This worked much better.

Having just completed a large edition for a portfolio, I was more interested in experimenting with this piece. I liked the possibilities that arose when the plates were in sections; affording various inking and wiping options. Also, I had been thinking about "collaging" prints together to create variable editions and this gave me a chance to try that out. Most of all, it felt good to be back at work and finally get something completed!

I finished the piece by embossing a shape to surround the three sections and then each print was carefully glued into place. The resulting "Sky Fall" represents the ever changing and unpredictable nature of time, tides and beach.

Sky Fall

Experimenting with a new ink

Speedball is in the process of developing a new relief ink that is a water-washable oil. Emails were sent out asking for artists who were interested in trying the ink. All were asked to use the inks as we normally would and make notations and comments as we went along. Our feed back will eventually be collected through an online survey and possibly by phone. My can of ink arrived Friday morning so yesterday I gave it a try and made photos as I went along.

As a printmaker who's interested in less toxic materials, I'm a huge fan of Akua inks. To hear that Speedball is developing an oil relief ink that is water-washable is exciting and I was intrigued by this new product .

After my experimentation session, I ended up being very impressed with the ink and hope that Speedball moves forward with this new ink line. I would definitely use it for relief printing.

Getting my groove back.

Finally!! I've had an uninterrupted block of time to converse with my muse; no appointments, no obligations, no moving from place to place and no one needing my assistance. Needless to say I was happy to get back to the studio.

But alas, having been away so long, where to begin was an issue. A major deadline was looming (that in itself can often have a crippling effect on progress) and my creative energy was skipping from one idea to another; like a bee moving from one flower to the next, never settling for any length of time on one blossom. Ideas that I've been having over the summer but not had the opportunity to engage with, were backed up in my mind; a traffic jam of creative options. The challenge now was getting these ideas out of my head and down on paper.

I needed to focus on just one thing at a time and hope I'd eventually get into that zone that would allow me to settle down and actually get something accomplished.

Working on sketches, creating positive transparencies, and burning a few test plates got me back into the routine of studio work. Pulling proofs got my mind back into the game and by the end of the week I felt like I had some sense of the way forward.

How I spent my summer vacation.

The summer was such a whirlwind of activity! My daughter's family spent the summer with us while their kitchen was being remodeled.

Believe me, there was never a dull moment! Four grandchildren, two of the human kind and two furry ones, made for endless days of non-stop activity and Grandma and Papa were only to happy to indulge in the joy of being in the thick of things.

Phineas; Mr. Cool with his sun glasses.

Scarlett; my "cabbage patch doll".
Digging holes by the tides edge, fetching tennis balls, running in the surf, trips to the playground and local aquarium, eating seafood, and venturing into the ocean made everyday an adventure.

Ruby doesn't sit still; always digging.
Oscar is a comfort dog. Just chilling under the umbrella.
Needless to say, Springer Spaniels LOVE the shore and any opportunity to swim in the ocean. They have no idea how lucky they are to have their own beach and are always so pooped out at the end of the day, that they don't even mind being used for seating.

It was amazing to watch the children grow before our very eyes. A lot of development can take place over a couple of months, especially where little ones are concerned. By the end of the summer, the baby was sitting up on her own (and trying to crawl) and the toddler had grown an inch or more.

Queen of the toys.
When all was said and done, it was a wonderful summer. We consider ourselves fortunate to have has so much time with the little ones; too often a rarity in this fast paced world. The silence was deafening at end of August when everyone headed home.

We were left with empty shells and empty hearts, but a lifetime of memories .....

.... and looking forward to the dawn of next summer.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Trip to the Big City

Last weekend my husband and I headed off to New York City to see the Akua Ink "Pushing The Limits" exhibition at the Central Booking Gallery. It was the last day of the exhibition but as they say, "Better late than never". The show looked great and I was pleased to have my piece on display.

There were a number of familiar printmakers with work in the show; Susan Rostow, Dan Weldon, Melanie Yazzie and Catherine Kernan, to name a few.

We stopped in to Forget Me Not for lunch; a great little restaurant run by artists.

We stayed over night in The Hotel on Rivington. where the views from a corner room, on the sixteenth floor, were fabulous!

After spending the day popping in an out of galleries, we found a great little Italian restaurant where we sat outside, enjoyed a great meal and watched life in the "big city" pass by.

Monday morning, in the pouring rain, we headed back to Grand Central for the train ride home.

All in all it was a great little trip and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my work on display in a New York gallery.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Just being a "gramma"


Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends — and hardly ever our own grown children. ~Ruth Goode

Not a whole lot happening in the studio, as I help out with a toddler and a four month old.

It's amazing how quickly grandchildren can take hold of your heart and few things are more delightful than spending quality time with them. It's like having a second chance raising little ones and I've become acutely aware that this shared time is fleeting.  I just enjoy the moments .... and sneak naps when I can. (Someone once said that the reason grand kids are so full of energy is that they suck it out of their grandparents.) Funny, but I'm beginning to think it's true.

The studio will always be waiting, but time goes by too quickly to pass up spending quality time with these two.

Friday, May 2, 2014

AKUA Exhibition

My print "Second Skin" was selected to be included in the upcoming Akua ink exhibition "Pushing the Limits" and will be exhibited at the Central Booking Gallery in New York City.

When I was working up ideas for the PNSNE portfolio project, I had originally thought that it would be interesting to have a double sided print. The size of the edition and time constraints changed my mind but I had printed extra prints to play around with so I was able to try out the double image idea. The finished mono-print was submitted for the AKUA show.

Because the original print is folded in thirds, I didn't really want to frame it in a traditional manner and was hoping to have it displayed as a free standing work. Creating a second image for the back gave the original print more stability. I used an archival bookbinding paste to adhere the two prints together and the two layers of Hahnemuhle Copperplate made the piece quite rigid. It stands up nicely without flopping in on itself.

Back of print.

I liked the idea of figures for the back of the original print so I made a few body prints by inking up a sheet of plexiglass with Akua intaglio ink, pressing myself against the surface, and then transferring the ink on my body to paper. I photographed the prints and then reduced them to the appropriate size using Photo Shop. Transparencies were made and the plate was created with ImagOn film adhered to a sheet of plexiglass and inked as an intaglio print.

I'm really pleased with the results. The print became more "book like" and it's interesting to be able to view both front and back.


To present the piece, I made a pouch out of the Akua wiping fabric. It not only protects the print but keeps it folded. The translucent quality of the fabric adds another layer of "skin"; a nice gossamer third skin. 

So here's the final transformation of Second Skin; from a portfolio piece to a free standing, two-sided accordion print.