Monday, November 20, 2017

flat file submission

A busy week in Artlandia!  Making new work for this year's Zea Mays flat file submission!
I looked at the calendar and realized I have a month to make, photograph, pack and transport new work (Eep!)  I tried something I've been thinking about for a while - making multiple collages with a fixed background so that it can be read as stills across time or continuously as a panorama. 

I like the way they turned out - they're small (about 11 x 11") but complex enough to have a narrative and I think I'm getting better at integrating all the parts. 

These ended up having a lot more drawing/painting in them than I realized, as evidence by the
number of pens, pencils, and brushes that I used and dropped on the floor.  
I think it went well and decided to try it again, larger this time (20 x 16") by printing a section of the giant tree block.  I marbled new paper, printed the backgrounds, and am in process testing out bunches of parts.  I'd like to have 6 - 10 all new pieces - wish me luck! (Fortituuuuuude!)

Not just one, but both Feline Assistants on the press (doh.)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Swallows 4

 Swallows, swallows everywhere...

Look at that nice, clean edge :D!

As we can see, lots and lots (and lots) of swallows this week!  The time had come to try adhering the patterned paper to the backs of the swallows and cut them out.  Because of the number of swallows and time constraints, I wanted to adhere the full sheet of swallows to full sheets of patterned paper and then cut them out. Adhesion is always a concern, and I was especially conscious of wanting to be sure that the edges would be nice and flat after they were cut.

I decided to use some book making techniques and treat it like adhering a paper cover to book board.  I used Jade 403 adhesive - an acid-free pva.  To get the sheet covered evenly and quickly I used a micro, soft roller, then placed the sheets together, pressed outward from the center with a bone fold, then ironed and set under weights overnight (exactly what I would do with a book cover).

 As far as I can tell - it worked (big thumbs up!)  So...then it was a matter of repeating it, over and over and over.  I also added white, black, and gold ink to the printed side to heighten and individualize each swallow.

Swallows on the brain.

 I also carved and printed the house block for the cloche. It was nice working with my favorite block material again on this 5 x 8" block.

I also took the next step in working on the drapery block - I scanned it, and now have a digital scaled version that's 70". I'm relieved to see that there is enough detail that I think it will work well as a template on the larger scale. I plan to finish the swallows first before moving on to the next project, but also want to have all the prep work for the next project ready.
In creature news: This is what it looks like when my Princess has successfully nestled in to the middle of the heated blanket, and Jr. has started to edge in along the blanket's border, haha. (As far as I can tell, "sharing" is not a kitty virtue :P ).

I also thought this was funny - just like Honey really, reeeeeally wants to sleep in the human's bed; apparently, she also really wants to sit where the human sits in the car, haha.  

In nature news - winter is coming and it feels cold and dark all the time. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

arch and swallows collage

A busy week in Artlandia! I made a new piece for a show at First Presbyterian Church in Albany. Because the room was Neo-Gothic, I wanted to bring some of my Gothic-inspired blocks...but not all of the prints had made their way into collages (yet!) 
This block of a Gothic arch, in particular, I had a really hard time printing it and then didn't end up using it the way I had initially thought.  So I thought it might be a good chance to try it out with some of the proofs from the swallows.  I used a sheet of paper I'd marbled for the ground and used Japanese origami and metallic paper for the windows.  

Here with my Princess assisting to establish scale
  It co-ordinates well with the Gothic turret and I thought the show came together really well with my collages and paintings by artist Tom McGill.

Look what nice companion pieces :) - my turret collage on the left and the elephant painted on fabric, "Psychedelic," by Tom McGill. 

A busy week with the new collage, show, writing a syllabus and materials list (fingers crossed/ hopefully, more about that later)...

And in creature news - Honey has a new coat :)! Look how cute she looks in it! I have to say that I'm proud to have measured correctly, ordered the right size, and put it on without any trouble - and she seem to like wearing it (whew!) (Or that may be the bully stick and chin scratch I gave her so that she'd associate putting her coat on with good things. She's a very smart pup, so I think it will only take a few times before she makes the connection: coat = walk; still, I was glad the first time of putting it on and wearing it went so well so that we're prepared for the time change this week and our last long walk of the day being in the dark.) 
Another funny Honey story.  I made a half small pizza and had it on the counter while the oven heated up.  I left the room for just a minute, and when I cam back... it was completely gone, and Honey was licking her muzzle clean. There was not a single shred of cheese or sauce or crust in site...though there were a few tomato, carrots and broccoli pieces (how exactly she managed to so efficiently eat around those, I do not know.) "Oh, those veggie and green bits? - you can keep those, Human." OOoooo Honey! 
Speaking of veggies - I got exactly one  (spectacular!)
 pepper from the garden this year
 And more nature shots!

Monday, October 30, 2017

drapery block, opening, nature

We have a turret collage (as in all glued down and framed - 12 x 36" - thumbs up!)...of course, this was intended to be half of a diptych...

I also (finally!) finished and proofed the drapery block.  This is the first full sheet of gomuban (app. 12 x 16") that I've ever carved, and so while I was pretty sure it would have enough detail to scan the proof, blow it up and use it in sections as a template for a life-sized figure, I wasn't absolutely sure. I think there's enough detail to work with and I can almost picture it in life scale. 

 I also proofed the new bird block and framed it in a shadow bock with it's block. 

I went to the opening of "Loving Beauty More then Efficiency" at Scarlet Seven Gallery. I thought the work looked great!  I enjoyed meeting and seeing work by Niki Haynes, Jon Segan, and Audrie Sturman and honored to exhibit in such excellent company!

A very funny kitty story - my Princess is not really into sharing (royalty, you know :P), so I felt the need to document this rare instance of her allowing Jr. to sit on the carving pillow with her. (Naturally, the Human was relegated to sitting on the floor.)  I was surprised that she allowed this, and you can see in her eyes that it's not going to last long: "Is that your foot on me - Seriously?" Meanwhile Jr. is just about to role over and show her chin: "You know you love me!" (We do.) 

There were also plenty of adventures with Honey this week, and we got some good nature shots.

Monday, October 23, 2017

swallows and a turret

A busy week in Artlandia, gearing up for a show!

I got everything framed, wired, and delivered (thumbs up!) (And there is still a layer of clear plastic over the glazing here, in case you were worried O:) ). The show opens Friday, Oct. 27th in Troy, NY.
Once everything was framed and in good shape, I started working on making the turret into a finished collage to bring to a pop-up show in Albany at First Presbyterian Church, Nov. 3rd.  The turret was one of the most difficult blocks I've carved, so I took a little break before working more with it, but I also think it's a very beautiful block and will be excited to see it in a finished piece.

 Work also continues on the swallows block - I carved the 10th and final swallow, then inked the block and proofed it.  I pulled 6 prints for 60 birds.  I may go for an even 100, but I have plenty to work with for now. I'm also waiting to see if I want more full sheets of just particular birds from the block.

Proof of full block with toes for scale.
 This was the first time I was seeing the prints of the last few birds (since it became tight to selectively ink and proof the final birds as the block got more and more filled.)

It's a huge relief to see the block ready and printed. It was also my birthday on Wednesday!  As I've mentioned, I thought my favorite block material was discontinued when it became unavailable (in August 2016).  However, after much (much!) searching, I think I tracked it down with another distributor, and even better, found it in a larger quantity on a roll.  I ordered with my fingers crossed that it was the correct material... and on my birthday, it was delivered and indeed! it's my favorite block material, in bulk (here, with me, being like a kitty and rubbing my face on it) - a birthday present from the Muses and Mom.  
I am so (so) happy to have it back! In a way, it's a good thing in the long run because, during the year and a bit I was without it, I learned about, tested, and carved other relief materials (vinyl, MDF, wood, gomuban) each of which have their unique qualities and strengths. Also, now that I have access to my favorite material again, I don't have to hoard the few fragments I had left from before. 

On that note, I carved a bird that is the mirror image of one of my old blocks (from August 2014) and that has been sitting around un-carved with the template on the block for a while.  It was a good way to get back into this material because it's very close to something I've already carved and close in subject to what I've just been carving in MDF so I could both remember and compare.  (Also, I just really like birds, haha).  The wonderful thing is that I was able to carve this in one sitting of about 3 hours (one of the things I'd missed  most about this material is that it is much faster to carve than wood or MDF) It also allows me to turn and twist the tools more easily, which I appreciate, since I tend not to use a lot of straight lines.  I'm a little rusty about some things (I forgot that, unlike harder materials, with this, if the cuts are too fine or too shallow, they heal.) It may not be the best bird I've ever carved, but it was a fun way to get re-acquainted with the material (also, I felt guilty about having left it uncarved and separated from its brethren for so long. :p )

I'm also working on finishing the drapery block.

My Feline Assistants were so funny with this. I (finally!) printed the swallows block, and we worked really late into the night (which is probably another reason why stopping at 60 instead of pushing to 100 seemed like a good idea at the time O:) ). The next morning, Feline Assistant, Sr. was perched beside the next block ready to get to work...within 5 minutes, Jr. was there too. (I kid sometimes, but they really are excellent helpers. I got the message: "We're sitting here, in petting range of where you should now be sitting, Human. Sit.) 

Honey has also been getting plenty of quality time with her human.  I always try to do or see something new for the birthday, so this year, we went on a special adventure to Bash Bish Falls on the NY - MA border. It was perfect hiking weather, the leaves were beautiful, and we had a great time. Honey even went in the water (I declined).  I even managed to get a birthday selfie with both Honey and I in the frame and looking at the camera with the sign for the state border in the background.

The crazy thing is that is really looks like this.  I also got some good shots of the garden - my favorite blue morning glories are blooming and so is my black vine, and the leaves are changing color around town.