Monday, January 26, 2015

Rough start to 2015

Ushering in 2015 did not go as I had hoped.

Like so many others, I had planned on making a fresh start and with lots of ideas floating around in my head, I had hoped to have a new piece completed by now. As it happened, I came down with what I thought was a horrible cold which in actuality turned out to be the flu. Apparently that flu shot I got back in November wasn't enough to keep the bug away! I've just started feeling like myself again so I'm trying to slowly get back into the groove.

On the positive side, I was able to do a lot of reading, research, sketching and getting my thoughts down on paper for various projects I hope to get started on soon.

Today I managed to do some reorganizing and straightening and finally got around to replacing my clothes pin line for hanging prints. Originally, I had strung plastic clothes pins on a cord and this worked out fine. However, recently the pins began snapping off and breaking every time I pinched them open. I'm guessing that over time the sun may have degraded the plastic, making it brittle.

My new hanging system uses wooden clothes pins. I've mounted them on a long narrow strip of wood with fairly heavy T-pins, using a hammer to tap them in securely.

I ended up with a long row of 42 pins that hang nicely from the T-pins.

After adding a screw eye to each end of the wooden strip, I was able to attach cords and hang it back in place where the old one was. 

I like that the rigid wooden support doesn't sag like the old line. It stays up out of my way and the fact that the pins swing on the T-pins make it easier to attach prints.

At the moment, there's a monster nor'easter type blizzard - possibly "record breaking & historic" - bearing down on New England.  I'm hoping it will be a good time to hide out in the studio and get something going.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year.

Even though this days end is like any other, one can't help having thoughts this evening that are different from the other 365 nights. The thin veil between the old year and the new offers a profound opportunity for reflecting upon all that has been accomplished in the past year and to contemplate new challenges and fresh beginnings in the year to come; hopefully using all of your past experiences to move forward with renewed energy and bold confidence.

I wish everyone the very best for a happy, healthy and creative 2015.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It was a busy but wonderful holiday. Decking the halls, getting together with friends and family and best off all ... seeing Christmas anew through my grand children's eyes.

I even dug out the count-down tree that I had made for my daughter when she was small and passed it along to her little ones. Pressing on one embroidered piece a day, until all the Velcro dots are covered, seems to help the children mark time. But I'm sure that time still didn't pass quickly enough for them.

With all the gifts unwrapped, cookies devoured, and children departed, Christmas 2014 is now part of our collective memories. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Best wishes to you all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A few new minatures.

Unraveled (2" x 2")

Lineup (1" x 4")

Attitude (2" x 2")

Ho, Ho, Ho!

My focus this week was on making a second stocking. Time has been flying by so quickly and with Christmas day bearing down on me, there was no more procrastinating.

Just finished my granddaughter's stocking today. (Made my grandson's last year.) Now the little ones each have their own, which I hope they will enjoy for years.

One of my fondest childhood memories is waking up on Christmas morning to find my stocking hanging on my bedpost. All sorts of little gifts were hidden inside and it was so much fun to sit in bed and explore those treasures.

I'm looking forward to filling these this year.

Their stockings are hung by the chimney with care ......

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Continuing Miniature Prints

Today I finished making film positives for the rest of my sketches.

Positives on light box.
Feeling a little cocky after yesterdays successful plate making I decided to lay several positives on one larger sheet of Solarplate and expose them all at once. I know I was taking a chance but I was pretty confident that the exposure and wash-out times would work for all of
the images.

Processed Solarplate with multiple images.

Once the plate was dried and cured, I carefully cut each plate to size. The advantage to doing it this way was that it made it much easier to work with the tiny compositions on one large plate, as opposed to doing them individually. Of course, it saved time as well; just two exposures.

These are my favorites from today's session. (Please excuse the quality of the photos which were taken quickly at the end of the day's printing.)

This one measures 2" X 2". There's so much information crammed into such a small space that it actually feels larger than it actually is.

 This one's 1"x 4". I have a series of rock studies that I did while at the beach when we were re-doing the dune after super storm Sandy. I liked this one little slice and decided to hit the one tiny rock in the center with a bit of watercolor.

Standing Spaniel

Another 2" square print from my Springer series. The last two I did of the dogs were roughly 14" x 16" so I thought it would be interesting to see what I could come up with in miniature. I like this composition a lot.

There's an unfortunate light streak across the background, probably from when I squeegeed the plate off when I finished developing it. It kind of looks like he's standing up to pee.

Sit. Stay.
Simple composition with no background. Again, I think it works in this case. This measures 2.75" x 1.5".

Yesterdays favorites are below.


Long bath


I played around with adding machine stitching to this piece and I like it much better than the hand stitching I tried yesterday. I need to be patient and wait until the prints are dry though or the machine's foot smudges the print as seen here around the nest section.

Now I have to decide which three to send to the miniature print competition. With the exception of the dogs, the prints are all so different. Is it better to send a variety or a series of related pieces? If I go in that direction, I'll need to come up with a few more pieces. What to do, what to do?

I'll have a bit of time to think about it because tomorrow it's back to mundane chores and holiday preparations.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Small, really small.

Printing tiny plates can be challenging; not what one would assume at first glance. Basically, the hardest part is holding on to the darn plate as you wipe the ink off. This is what I ended up doing.

I picked up a package of magnetic sheets from my local office supply store. I slipped one under a page of an old phone book and the tiny Solarplates stayed put (pretty much), as I applied the ink and wiped the plate. To keep things neat, I just flipped to a clean page each time I re-inked and wiped.

Registration guides for the different sized plates I made were laid out on a sheet of newsprint sized to match the printing paper. I slipped this under the Lexan sheet that I have on the bed of my press.

Once the plates were inked and wiped, they were lifted into place using an angled palette knife and I carefully "scooched" the plates into position.

For some reason, I thought it would be interesting to create a tiny diptych. One plate measures 1.5" x 1  3/16", its mate 1.5" x 1.5". To add to the challenge, I decided to do chine colle' on one plate; talk about crazy! Anyway, this is what I ended up with and I like the effect.

Considering whether or not to add some stitching, I took one of my trial proofs, pierced some holes and hand stitched across the two images. I like the idea of the added thread since it plays into the netting and cats cradle and I want to carry that across to the nest.

However, after my initial try, I'm not happy with the hand stitching so tomorrow I'll try some machine stitching instead.

I also realized that if the stitches are too closely spaced, the holes create a perforation effect and I worry that the print might split along the stitched line.

Lots to consider before I call this one finished.