Monday, May 22, 2017

pseudo-tapestry update

A visual update on the pseudo-tapestry:

Progress, sloooooooow progress.

In part, it's going slowly because I carved new blocks.  Despite having many flower blocks, I decided none of them were quiiiiite right.  So I picked flowers, drew them directly on the block, and carved them. Then I marbled paper and printed.  Grumble though I may, I think these are a better fit.

Other reasons progress is slow - I cut out the flowers, printed additional plant blocks, and attached them with adhesive and then sewing.

I also started cutting the interior edges of the ground (Eep! About half way there) and shaped the edge and sewed together the tree trunk,

Another block I carved and proofed (*though I may do a little more carving - still thinking :) ) is a mouse...because the chipmunk turned out to be too big (sigh).

Work also continues on the turret. 

Outside the studio, I was excited to attend the opening of Becoming: 30 Hotchkiss Artists at the Tremaine Gallery and see the squirrel and carousel diptych framed on the wall for the first time :). The show looks great and will be up until June 18th. I enjoyed seeing a variety of work, meeting the curators and other artists, and catching up with my former teachers.

In creature news - we had our first extremely hot days. Even though temperatures have returned to seasonable levels, I put the air conditioning unit in...and within mere seconds, my Princess, she of the luxuriously long fur, had rotated her primary napping location to be right in front of the air conditioner (smart kitty). Junior brought her favorite toy and plopped down on the floor...right in front of the air conditioner (second smart kitty). Honey is enjoying the outdoors - playing ball and getting belly rubs in the grass.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

more chipmunk, phoenix, turret...

A busy week in Artlandia! As mentioned last week, I have a lot of different projects in process, so this week was largely a continuation of on-going projects.  

collage from relief print and
polyester lithography plate
with hand coloring
Last week I made a physical collage of the chipmunk using a relief print and polyester lithography plate that I hand colored. Since I had already started working with the digital files to combine scans of the relief prints of the plant, ants, flowers, and map into a single polyester lithography plate, I went ahead and continued working with and adding to the files to make a new digital collage.
digital collage based on scans of relief prints, marbled paper
and antique map
Digital work continued on the phoenix as well, and I think this is the final version - the goal being to have it editioned at the same time as the chipmunk.

Since there's only so long I can sit at the computer (oy.) I've also been continuing to carve the turret.  This is really slow going, and I was thinking - it's like a miniature - that just happens to be really big (haha).  Really though, it sort of is, in the sense that it's the same tools and level of detail as a miniature.  
couldn't get a picture sans tail
Clearly, I've had lots of feline assistance on this (my clever
Princess knows where her human is directing attention and is
 an expert at intercepting it.)
Work also continues on the pseudo tapestry.  I did not start sewing it together this week (sigh :p ), but only because I decided it needed a few more things.  Most critically before I start sewing, I decided the ground wasn't deep enough, so I prepared the paper and printed another 4 ft piece from the ground block. I also made polyester plates with smaller versions of the plants to help the space recede by repeating similar forms, smaller.  
I also toned and painted paper to print a few additional plants and carved and printed a new block.  
The new block is for "Luxuria," "Lust" so that the pseudo-tapestry will be the biggest yet piece in the on-going series of the seven deadly sins through faux consumerist garbage.   

In para-art news, I did make my annual trip to the fancy plant nursery and took beautiful, colorful pictures...which were sadly lost when my phone died.  The technological situation is gladly in hand, but pictures are limited to the Innenwelt this week. Onward!

Monday, May 8, 2017

chipmunk in landscape, turret, phoenix

This is a much more efficient way of adding the ants/fly so that
 they are in the same plate with the plant and ground.
A busy week in Artlandia with various projects at different stages of development.

First, the chipmunk got an art-home (thumbs up!)

- I made a polyester plate for the background by digitally combining scans of my plant, flower, fly and ant blocks and layering them with an antique map. Then I printed them on marbled paper and added hand coloring and thread and collaged in the chipmunk.

Naturally, I'm also carving something (always ;) ).  This week, it's been this lovely Gothic tower.  This is about the top 12" of a 30" block.  I know that, if it comes together (fingers crossed!), I'll really like it when it's done, but right now, it feels like slow going.

Also, I did some digital collaging. I picked back up on the phoenix. The block is 18 x 24," and I was able to get a good image by digitally stitching together 2 scans. Then I added a background based on a scan of my marbling.  I'm not 100% sure this is the final image yet, but it's getting close.  

And last, but definitely not least, I've been continuing work on the unicorn pseudo-tapestry.  I had to lay it out on the ground because there are too many large/heavy overlapping pieces to get them up on the wall unattached.  It's pretty funny because its takes up most of the floor space. (I think the room is only about 7 feet across - that's why the tree trunk isn't all there - it doesn't fit! I'm eager to start sewing it together and get it back on the wall.  

In para-art news, it was Honey and my first visit to the conservation area this spring.  It's been rainy so the trails were very muddy, but she had a great time (look at the blur of wagging tail, haha).

Monday, May 1, 2017

Landscape and Chipmunk!

A very busy week in Artlandia!  

Here is one of the proofs with a quarter for scale.
First off - Good News!  I heard that the miniature print I carved using a sample of Gomuban from McClain's back in February was selected to be included in the 11th Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition 2017 at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking! (Third time's the charm ;) ).  I used a similar process that I developed for scaling and will be teaching this summer at WSW, except going in the opposite direction than I usually use it - making a template to carve smaller instead of larger.  

Speaking of small vs. large - one of this week's main goals was printing the 4 ft long woodblock for the unicorn's ground. 

This block was unusual for me in that it's pretty close to abstract.  Yes, it's grass...sort of, but really it's more of pattern that stands in for grass. (I know, technically, all art is a representation standing in for a things, but what I mean is that this felt like a step further removed for me because the carving was driven not by any observation of grass, but by building the pattern around the grain of the wood. )  I wire brushed the block (hard!) to raise the grain and give it that grainy texture. I selectively inked it to fade off at the top with Akua ink and printed by hand using a handy, new barren (thumbs up!)

It's a little hard to capture it in pictures, because of the size, so here it is in 3 views, getting close, closer.

I printed it several times, the idea being that I'd use them in overlapping horizontal bands.  I painted them and added gold speckles to help ease unify and ease the transition from the foreground to background. I've cut a shaped edge on two of the pieces, and will likely shape the biggest piece too (waiting for it to dry). Even though I'm still not quiiiite sure of all the details in terms of how to layer it in, I think the decision to redo the ground was the right one.

To reward myself for working on the giant, abstract-ish block, I carved a chipmunk.  I'm working on a commission and even though, strictly speaking, I could have used existing blocks, I've been really wanting a chipmunk for a while now.  I carved almost all of this in a day, practically in a single sitting ( though I did get up for human and creature bio-needs O:) ).  I admit, I really enjoy this one. Even as I'm trying to expand the range of what I can and do make, I still feel at my best carving small animals. 

The printing was challenging trying  to get all the detail in the block without it being too light or spotty, but (eventually!) I think I got it.
Also,  I think the next piece of studio equipment on my list needs to be a drying rack, haha :P 
 On the topic of creatures...remember how Jr. especially loved the rats? She used to carry the prints around and hoard them. looks like she's recognized the chipmunk as a rodent, haha.

And on a puppy side note - the rope toy for "aggressive chewers" was no match for my particular chewer-pup.  In fairness though, it lasted about a month, which is 3 weeks longer than other rope toys. And she loved it so much (as we can see, haha) - so the sneaky human "fixed" her toy, (by replacing it with a new one of the same while she was at day care. ;) )
Exactly a year ago!
black bulbs!
Now that she's over a year old (last year at this time she still fit in my arms and loved being carried, haha!), I've started taking her to daycare once a week so that I can mop, vacuum, wash bedding and toys and do prolonged work (it was the day I printed the landscape block and did all the prep work for the chipmunk.)  I think it's working out well all around.

made a special trip to the nursery
for some of my favorite annuals from last year.
Now that it's spring, it's also time for gardening!

My "safety orange" tulips came back

Monday, April 24, 2017

flowers and ground

polyester lithography plates based on my relief prints
A busy week in Artlandia!

Work continues on the pseudo-tapestry.  This week's mission was working on the foliage and elements for the ground.  Having printed the mushrooms and foliage blocks, this week I scanned the prints, worked with the files, and turned them into polyester lithography plates - lots of polyester lithography plates.

Turning the relief prints into polyester prints gives me the chance to create variants from single objects (which is how these organic things occur in nature - a mushroom doesn't usually appear alone, but with other mushrooms that are related but all slightly different). I used digital software to manipulate and distort the images from the relief prints so each thing turns into many related things.

I marbled paper (which is another step in insuring that each thing will be unique and adds an element of random variation). I was using a new type of marbling paint - it has nice density for the white and metallics (which is what I was looking for), but is much stiffer in the water - will continue practicing and "getting to know" it.

 I printed the flower, mushroom, and snail plates.

I cut out the flowers and sewed them to the foliage. For the ones in the back, I misted black paint over them so that they have less contrast and will recede a little.  I'm stoked for the next step - adding snails and bugs.

part of the block for the ground that the foliage is well on it's way...there's an issue.  I'm re-thinking the ground. The ground now is a mix of collagraph and monotype, and it's "ok," but those are both additive techniques, and I think it really needs to be made with a mostly subtractive technique to mesh well with the rest of the piece.  I've been working on a 2 x 4 foot wood block for the ground. I brushed the wood with a wire brush to pull out the grain and then built the patterns of grass around the naturally-occurring pattern of the wood grain. It is sloooooow going, and I'm still trying to figure out some things about how to transition between horizontal bands of ground. 

close-up of proof of section of the 4 ft ground block.  
Last, but not least - I delivered the framed pieces to Tremaine Gallery for the upcoming exhibition :).