Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Latest Linocut from Printmaking Class

Happy with the results on the earlier Resingrave print, I decided to go with the same theme, only larger with an 8 x 10 Linocut. It took a while to get the result I wanted, ie, cutting the sky several different ways & adding detail to the ice structure in back... but over all I liked the way this one turned out. Again, not super realistic as I seem to lack the skill with drawing & fine detail... but it's cute & I like the way it makes me feel when I look at it. My goal really for this class is just to explore with all the different techniques I've learned... hopefully coming up with some that I like. So far, so good. I'll be trying another woodcut soon (although I swore I was done with that...) & experimenting a bit more with copper etching & aquatint.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

First a Glimmer...

I bought this card last summer at the Tesuque Flea Market near Santa Fe. It is by mixed media artist/poet/photographer Lisa Chun. You can check out her website & work here:
I love her work... a lot of the words she choses for her works resonate with me. It's hard to make out the text above. It says "This must be the way dreams are built, first a glimmer, something shaken down from the stars, something made from light & air & hope. Then comes all the days of quiet activity in support of it." So, this is the deal. I want to live my life creatively. I want figure out how I can make a living through being creative... I just haven't figured out exactly how to go about it. Sure, I have ideas... glimmers of creativity, of hope. Some people know exactly what they want, and how to go about achieving their goals. I had this idea years ago... pay off my student loans, figure out where I want to be (in this case, southern Oregon,) start taking art classes... and it would all fall into place. So, I've done all those things... but things have not quite fallen into place the way I thought they would. One of my classmates said to me "maybe you just have to be patient"... only I feel like I have been patient for years. So for now, I just continue the "days of quiet activity in support of it."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Friends, Good Coffee

My life the past few weeks has consisted of printmaking, drinking coffee & thinking about my life & what the heck I want to do with it. A lot of my thoughts center around whether or not to continue with school, or just keep looking for where to call home & making art on my own rather than forking out so much cash for a "formal" art education. But, I digress. Back to the drinking coffee part. I am a caffiene addict & I can accept that. I've toyed with the idea of giving it up... as most coffee junkies have at some point or another... but seriously, life without coffee? Sometimes I'm excited about going to bed at night just so I can get up & start the day fresh... with a fresh cup o' joe. Which brings me to the title of my post: Good Friends, Good Coffee. My good friend just returned from 6 weeks in Africa (fulfilling a long time dream of hers) & has stopped by to visit... bringing with her tales of her adventures... and 3 different kinds of coffee & these lovely handmade baskets from Africa. Although I am tempted to have some this evening- coffee & sleep don't mix for me... so I am looking forward to tomorrow morning! I'm including a link to Amanda's blog if you want to check out her thoughts/images while traveling solo in Africa:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Printmaking II: Resingrave

Here are the results from my first experience with resingrave... the image was carved into a 2 x 3" block. For some reason, I didn't care much for this technique at first... particularly when I was trying to come up with a design. As I've mentioned before, I can't draw that well, so my efforts come out somewhat stylized vs realistic. That said, I was pleased with the results anyhow, and will likely do some more of these. I took some scrap paper & made a few cards as I did with the wax encaustics & that was fun. Fun is important... If it's all work & no fun, what's the point? That line of thinking is also what led me to drop my digital class this week. I wasn't having fun, didn't feel like I was learning anything & thought my time would be better spent this quarter really working on my printmaking, and having time to relax & do my own personal artistic research on where I'd like to go with all of this.

Printmaking II: Wax Encaustics

Some examples of using wax/color pigments to create unique prints. The process is super easy & fun... basically it's like coloring. You take color pigmented wax sticks (think oversized crayons) & draw/color your design onto a hot metal plate that melts the wax. You then simply place the paper over the design & burnish it... which transfers it to the paper. The top one is just a variation on my mountain/river scene that has been repeating itself in my art, and the 2nd image- kinda self explanatory... I thought I'd make some handmade valentines cards from scraps of paper I had leftover. Really fun!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Printmaking II or No Time to Waste...

Well, let me begin by saying I was happier with this print than any I've done in Print so far. I spent most of the day yesterday working on this linocut... and as you may be able to tell by the pics above, it took forever to cut out! But, like I said, I was happy with the results so it was worth the effort. I'll be experimenting with different color schemes/backgrounds on this one when I have time, but we're also learning new techniques every week (resingrave, wax encaustics & aquatint so far!) so time is something I'm feeling just a little short of. I think you could easily just take this class & no other, and keep quite busy. So yes, that means no concrete ideas yet for my Digital Print class... crapola. Words like "balance" & "time management" pop into my head & then I have to be honest... I have been watching a bit too many episodes of "Bones" lately. It's just a nice little escape from my constant thinking is all. Most red blooded Americans do it all the time (watch t.v. that is, & I don't even own one)... just a phase, I'll get over it & down to serious digital work soon...

Printmaking II: Woodcut Results

The long awaited- and by that I mean it took a long time to finish- Woodcut. I picked the finished print up from the studio today & was a little impatient with the photographing... poor natural light as it's such a gray day, but when I use the flash it obviously reflects the ink. I think it turned out much better than what shows up on the final print below. Anyhow, just showing some of the stages:
Initial run- orange; then cut away sky,
2nd run- brown; then cut away mountains,
3rd run- dark blue/light blue rainbow roll,
inking just the river on the last run.
This quarter, we're only turning in 4 single prints, rather than editions of 3 to 5... but I've found to get the results you want, it's necessary to do a lot of printing. So, to my family/friends... you may be getting some prints in the mail soon! :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Printmaking I: Woodcut Reduction

I get frustrated with adding images to blogger sometimes. It's hard to get the layout exactly how you want it. Anyhow... just a couple examples of Woodcut reduction from last quarter. Our assignment was to do something abstract. Woodcut is a little difficult as the wood is sometimes hard to cut exactly how you want it to go & can splinter easily. (I ended up with bloody knuckles & sore fingers working on my Print II project yesterday.)

Printmaking I: Linocut Demo & Print

Above is my instructor, Tracy Templeton, giving our Print I class a demo on Linocut last quarter. As I mentioned in my last post, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the reduction process. Our assignment was to do a self portrait, so I took a picture from when I was a kid, scanned it to a black & white photo copy & used a special pen to semi-tranfer it to the lino. The white areas were the first cut. It was then inked, ran through the press, cut again, inked with another color, ran through the press again... and there it is- the final print. Compared to what others did in the class, I wasn't especially happy with the end result... but putting comparisons aside, I was surprised to see it turn out this well. I also wanted to include a link to check out Tracy's work- she is a master Printmaker with specialty in Photo Etching. I am lucky to be learning tools & techniques of printmaking from her as her experience and work are phenomenal. The link below to a local gallery in Ashland has a good representation of Tracy's work.

Printmaking I: Copper Etching- Soft Ground & Hard Ground Examples

Printmaking I, for me, was more about learning the processes, rather than creating "fine art." I've decided to post a couple of my first prints as a visual log of the process as I go along through Print II, and in the spring, Photo Etching. In Print I, we were instructed in Copper Etching (drypoint, hardground & softground), as well as Linocut & Woodcut. The last 2 being reduction processes which were really hard to wrap my mind around & now, in Print 2, I feel like it's just starting to make a bit more sense. More to follow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Digital Print

Wow. Already 2 weeks back at school. It has gone by fast! I've decided to lighten my load a bit for 2 reasons:
1.) Thinking about part time work so I don't go too much further in debt....
2.) If I go half time, I pay in state tuition for a year, then become a resident & pay in state tuition for the remainder of my time here... which means if I do decide to continue with my Art studies I won't be in as much debt as I would if I just continued on full time. I still go back & forth on how far I'll go with this. I don't need a degree to make art, and in some classes I feel like I'm not learning a whole lot... or not enough to justify the financial output. I'll just take it a quarter at a time & see how I feel as I go. My 2 classes this quarter are Digital Print Studio & Printmaking II. I had this great idea for a project for Digital Print... a children's book, but now being logical I see how difficult it is going to be to illustrate, as my drawing ability is quite lacking. So, I have spent my time in class so far just playing with some of the tools & the drawing tablet. While I haven't come up with what I am going to do about this daunting book project, I did get some ideas for Printmaking. I made this "drawing" using the magnetic lasso tool & paint bucket. I am using this drawing as a template of sorts for Printmaking. I'm 2 parts into a 3 part woodcut reduction process. So far, it is turning out pretty cool & I'll post the final result when I get it done.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year~ On The Road Again Part II

Happy New Year 2010~ to all those out in blogland. A little late, but what can I say... I've been on the road & much too tired to blog. 3 days & 1,420 miles later, I am once again safe & sound in Ashland. Still recuperating from lots of work, lots of driving & being sick on top of it all. Most of my first day on the road looked like this as I drove through the desolate stretch of I-40 in New Mexico... snowy & cold. Lots of people I meet seem to think I live this free, adventurous lifestyle~ and I guess some of that is true. But, what they don't take into account is the constant packing & unpacking, the long & sometimes boring drives, solo motel rooms & lack of roots. I know, I know, I am choosing this lifestyle. Sort of... but sometimes I feel like it's taken on a life of it's own. Kinda like Newton's 1st Law of Motion: The tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. I really do want to settle down, but can't seem to find the reason, the circumstance, or "the place" where everything seems to fit. And I am starting to wonder if such a place exists. It's just that I don't want to settle or stagnate. The phrase "a rolling stone gathers no moss" came to me somewhere on the 2nd day of driving. I thought, hmmm, that phrase really does apply to me. I've been a rolling stone of sorts for the past 5 years. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Neither, really... and honestly, in the past year, I've spent more time in Ashland & Santa Fe than anywhere else in the past 5 years, so perhaps I am narrowing it down a bit. Perhaps. I'll give it some more thought in 2010 & keep you all posted...