Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Snow leopards, unicorns, trees

A very (very!) busy week in Artlandia!  First (drumroll...) I finally (Finally!) got the unicorn, pseudo-tapestry on the wall(!!!!!) More than a year in the making and it's finally off the floor.  There's still finishing to be done, sewing the edged down to the support, but it's a big step in the right direct :D !

from the front looking back
- near maximum capacity

It was not a coincidence that I finally got this on the wall this week. On Thursday, I rented the annex at Zea Mays Printmaking for the day to print more unicorns, the snow leopard body, trees, and landscape, and it became apparent that I wasn't going to have anywhere to work on new large-scale collages with the pseudo-tapestry on the floor.  So I pushed to get it hung up, then cleaned the studio in preparation for new work and tore and flattened paper, packed supplies, etc.  Thursday morning, I was up before dawn to take Honey to doggy sleep-away camp so I could put down the seats and load the car - the blocks fit exactly in the back of the car (also not a coincidence O:) )

The Zea Mays Annex - look at that gorgeous 70" Takach press and all
the beautiful table space...

Snow leopard body! 
I arrived and surveyed the beautiful, large, clean space (Mmmm). This was my first time renting the Annex (I've printed in the member's studio and in the teaching area of the studio before.) It was the best fit for printing these large blocks because: 1) check out that gorgeous 70" Takach press - in perfect running condition and with the right size side bars ready and waiting. 2) notice the amount of glass top table surface... all of which got used. 3) and multiple options of splendidly large brayers and the newsprint roll of paper that matched the width of the press bed - ahhhhh. Also, while I was hoping the printing would go smoothly (and it did, whew! - very proud that I got the pressure adjusted in one print - pats self on back), had something not gone according to plan, there's are more knowledgeable printmakers on site to ask for help, so I don't feel like I'm all alone.

Other reasons it was a good fit - lots of magnetized wall space and I was able to work overnight (one of my most productive times).

First, I filled the space with unicorn and snow leopard bodies (I brought the other parts too, so I could be sure I was matching the ink).

Look at that splendidly large brayer

Floor to ceiling unicorns and snow leopards
 Once the room was filled, I took a break and went for a walk along the Mill River.  It was a good way to recharge and beautiful light. I'd forgotten how much easier it is to take photos when I have both hands available, haha; even so, I couldn't help thinking how much Honey would have loved it, and I'm glad we get to go on our nature walks together most of the time.   

Then I ate dinner and it was back to the studio for round 2 - I put away the first blocks and took down the first round of prints, and cleaned up the ink. Then I started over, printing the Gothic tree and landscape block.  The landscape block, I double printed - printing once, then flipping over the paper and printing again. 

By the wee hours of the morning, I re-filled the studio and then it was time to clean up everything with ink on it. I rested a little bit, and when it was light, packed the prints, loaded the car, and did a final check of all the cleaning. An excellent and very productive day at the studio - thumbs up!

After round 2 of printing.
I had to unpack as soon as I got home so that I could pick up Honey (who was a very good girl). Even though I saw her Thursday morning and was back by Friday morning, it was also Mini's first time ever home alone overnight.  She handled it bravely (there was still a little food in her bowl, so I don't think she was that worried ;) ). She's been an active helper and seems to have learned  learned how to burrow under the press cover while I was gone.  

I was tired after the excellent art adventure to Zea Mays and learned it was the last weekend of the exhibition: Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls...I really wanted to see it, so even though I was very tired, I went on a field trip.

I enjoyed the exhibition - in addition to a wide variety of finished prints, I liked that they had proofs of the color separations for color lithographs, something I don't think I've ever seen for a historic print, as well as layout drawings and an experiment of printing on silver paper. I think the show helped give a deeper look into his process.  (No photos were allowed, so sadly, no pictures).

showing the weird door 
I'd never been to the Hyde, so I was also excited to see the permanent collection - in particular, I'd been wanting to see the late 15th century/ early 16th century French tapestry fragments of the "Triumph of Eternity" and "Triumph of Love." As part of my obsession with wings, I've studied Petrarch's Triumphs, the illustrations of which are a gold mine for looking at historic depictions of creatures with wings. To me, the tapestries where stunning in quality.  It kills me that they were cut down at some point in their history, and, very oddly, the door to the room where they're on display is open so that it overlaps part of the tapestry and interrupts the view, but being able to get so close to them helped make up for it. 

Mmmmmm - late 15th - early 16th century, French tapestries depicting two of Petrarch's Triumphs (Eternity on the left and Love on the right)  at the Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY 
(I feel seeing the winged, great cat is particularly timely. :) )
big marbling on top of the
landscape prints
Back in the studio, I marbled the landscape prints. I also started cutting out the snow leopard parts.

first try
I hate to admit it, but even though I brought the head with me so that it would match the body, the first go round, I finished and cut out the wrong head (doh.) It wasn't the one I brought with me. It's a good print, but just doesn't match the body (the ink is a little too light).  I tried to convince myself that it was close enough, that no one else would notice, that it might not show so much once it was all on a color background...but in the end, I decided it would make me crazy, so even though I spent hours cutting out this head and adding ink and watercolor, in the end, I stowed it away for later use and did it all again with a different head. This time, I checked the match before cutting it out and finishing it, and fortunately, it does match - whew!   

second try.
close up of the face - such pretty eyes - finished with watercolor, gold ink, white ink, black acrylic 
a preview of the snow leopard with quarter for scale.
Or, better yet, with Feline Assistant for scale. Helping :).

Despite (because?) it being a very busy week, Honey and I managed to go for some walks in the conservation area.

And I got an interesting industrial landscape view from Glens Falls. 

Last, but not least, our friend SJ Williams caught this funny one of Honey and me - clearly Honey still firmly believes she's a lap dog, and her human hasn't convinced her otherwise - hahaha.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Opening, collage, more snow

 A busy week in Artlandia!

First, I made a new collage to enter for a juried show at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking - I think it turned out well and fingers crossed!

 When I'm that focused on making something and on a deadline, I do tend to make a mess and I pulled out many, many potential parts for this (at first the flowers were purple and the birds were yellow, then the birds were light brown, but in different postures, etc.) Mini faithfully oversaw all the pieces (and I did clean up the next day - evidence!)

Photo by Christie Olson, courtesy of Albany Center Gallery
Then, there was the opening of the Mohawk Hudson Regional Invitational exhibition at Albany Center Gallery - thumbs up!

Group photo with exhibited artist (L to R): Theresa Swidorski, Richard Barlow, George Dirolf, me, Jeanne Finley and Jane Bloodgood-Abrams (not pictured). Photo by Christie Olson, courtesy of Albany Center Gallery

I enjoyed seeing the show and meeting the gallery staff, other artists, and visitors.  William Jaeger  wrote a review for the Times Union.

On the one hand, an exciting week! On the flip side, lots of time spent cleaning up and sorting proofs, trying to make room and get ready for the new, large scale prints that I'll be printing later this week at Zea Mays.  I finally (finally!) am finalizing the unicorn, but I'm not going to show it until it's actually up on the wall (soon!)

Outside the studio - snow, snow, snow.

Honey has been enjoy playing in it and Mini has been enjoying not having to play in it. 

I took Honey to the park between storms...and then gave in and took her to the park in spite of the storm.

I got a great nature shot this week - everything was so blue.

I also got this shot as a result of trying to take a picture and hold Honey's leash while she was ready to make pup snow angels - haha.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

animation parts, snow leopard, snow

 A very busy week in Artlandia!

First - I made an art-expedition to Zea Mays to meet with fantastic printmaker-animator Lynn Peterfreund about how to go about animating my prints.  It was a very productive meeting and when I came home I got to work making some short attempts at animating my marbled paper and animating the swallows.  I was using software I'm very familiar with from mking digital collages, but learning new features.  Even though these are short, I'm figuring out some important things (like how to export the file as stills, change the timing, etc.). Fundamentally, I'm still thinking about how I want to go about this.  I like the marbled one, which is based on individual scans of my marbled paper.  The swallows one, I could do it this way, by photographing stills, but I may also try it a different way, more like the digital collages, by scanning the relief print, turning it into a digital version and then moving the digital version along a path.  I'm also still exploring software options for how to combine the two videos. (Hmmmm.)  A very long way to go, but it's a start!

The other thing I did - I finished the snow leopard's body, a 24 x 30" MDF block! I think I'm happy with this, but it's hard to know for sure without proofing it.  I set up an appointment to return to Zea Mays next week to print (Whoop!)  Since the splendid 70" Takach press will be all mine for the day (ahhhhhh :) ), I also plan to print the unicorn body and large landscape block, neither of which has ever been printed on a press, and, if that goes well, also the fox body and Gothic tree, neither of which has ever been printed on the color paper I now use as the default paper.  We'll see - some of it depends on whether or not/ how much, I need to make any changes to the blocks that haven't yet been printed.  I'm very excited to see how this and the unicorn body turn out. If I get a few good prints of those two, it will be a day well spent, with the rest being an excellent bonus.

The other, not very visually exciting, but still very important task that has been in the works is sorting, filing, scanning and archiving the last few months worth of prints. 

Here are all the blocks all together, just double-triple-quadruple checking that the scale and direction matches on all of them.
It was a fitting time to work on a snow leopard.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

more snow leopard, visit to Dia Beacon, nature

A busy week in Artlandia! Work continues on the snow leopard.  I finished carving and printed the head and the tail. 

prints of the head and tail with my feet for scale

 Then I printed the template for the body onto an MDF block.  It wasn't my most successful transfer - it came out really light and I lost a lot of detail, but I decided to go for it anyway (figuring, it's only natural that the spots are different on the big leopard than on the small one.) As we can see, Miss Mini was an excellent helper/ fur model.

24 x 30" wood block of snow leopard body in process
It's coming along (and as we can see, I ended uo using most of my tools, haha.). 
I also framed and delivered artwork to Albany Center Gallery for 2018 Mohawk-Hudson Regional Invitational opening Mar. 2nd - thumbs up!

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2018 Mohawk-Hudson Regional Invitational at Albany Center Gallery - opening Mar. 2nd
There was also an excellent art adventure - my first time visiting Dia Beacon

me enjoying one of the many works by Dan Flavin
 (I'd never seen so many in one place - heart!)

It seems like a perfect space for the paintings of Robert Ryman

This installation, Excursus: Homage to the Square^3 by Robert Irwin was one of my favorite things...

...along with this piece,  No End Neon by Francois Morelle
 And! There was a wonderful wildlife encounter - I saw a pair of wild turkeys who seemed very content on the museum's grounds.

I'm very excited that tomorrow, I'm headed to Zea Mays to work with most excellent print-animator Lynn Peterfreund.  In addition to making the printed elements to animate and the marbled background last week, this past week I researched and reacquaint myself with some software.  I came across this series of stills of Sunny and me in the studio and decided to make them into an animation to practice with the software.  I love these because I think they really capture us on a typical day in the studio.  

Speaking of the creature family, while Mini helped with the snow leopard inside, Honey and I got to experience a full spectrum of weather outside.  When carving this much, I try to make an extra effort to walk outside during the day to stretch out my back and rest my eyes. Honey was very happy to keep me company, and we got to spend one of the first warm days in the conservation area.

The water was oddly opaque from all the snow melt.

She got joyfully muddy (look at that belly!)
Then, the next day...

Only the human was sad about the snow.