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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trucks Along Hwy 99

I drive by these old Ford Trucks almost every day on Hwy 99 near Talent.  They are so cool to look at & I kept meaning to stop & photograph them, so finally I did. It was the perfect time of day~ late afternoon, when the lower light made it possible to pick up the detail & textures in layers of chipped paint & rust.

Rainbow Reflections

Leaving the print lab the other day, I caught this reflection of a rainbow in the windows of the Schneider Museum of Art. It doesn't show too well here, but it was pretty cool, so I'm posting it anyhow.  I've only got another week of class, so I won't have any new prints to post, so I thought I'd get back to my photography roots & get my camera out a bit more & start posting more images.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Aquatint~ 4th Plate in "Night Sky Series"

Well, I did it. I went for one more project & went big~ 12x18 rather than my standard 8x10. I wasn't ready! I had difficulty filling in so much space & wasn't super excited about the results. (Plus, that large plate was a pain to ink & wipe, let me tell you!) Well, I just look at it as more practice. I've seen some really interesting results from other artists using this technique... but I think before I could really branch out, I needed to wrap my mind around the process & repetition helps me with that. I only printed one of these so if I ever become a famous artist it'll be worth a mint! :).  I then decided to cut the plate & just include the mountains & full moon, which I liked a bit more.

Aquatint~ Reworking of Plate "Starry Night"

So, after reworking this plate 3 more times (you know the whole aquatint process as outlined below) this is what I came up with. It's funny... when I made the original print I was really excited just learning how to make subtle shade differentiations with the aquatint process and originally I liked this print. I don't know if it's just because I reworked & printed it so many times, but I just don't care for it as much anymore~ but I thought I'd post it anyhow, because it does give me a good visual log of the process as I go along.
** (For those of you unfamiliar w/ the printmaking process- I'm guessing you're probably thinking "why not just add more ink rather than going through that lengthy process repeatedly," but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. It has to be etched in such a way that it will hold the ink when the plate is wiped before printing.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spotlight on Advanced Art Student & Printmaker

Yeah, I wish I could take credit for making such a cool print, but alas, I cannot. This is the work of an advanced printmaker & fellow student, Carel (pronounced Carl) Schonerd. This is the first class I've had with him, but every time we have critiques (yes, that is where we all put our work on the wall for all to see/critique/judge.... ugh!) I am drawn to his work over any others. When I saw this one, I asked Carl if he might be willing to let me purchase it, and he gladly did... at a ridiculously reasonable price. I love this print for so many reasons. First & foremost, it just has such wonderful, flowing, expansive energy. The beautiful blues he chose in printing suggest to me the flowing movement of water... almost reminiscent  of a crashing of a wave.  And while there is a certain abstract quality to it, it is also unmistakably refers to natural world with the tree & mountains... representing elements of the earth that I am inherently drawn to.  The technique used here is referred to as "collograph," something I haven't yet had the chance to learn, but if I stick around 'til fall, it'll be offered again in Print III. Probably worth sticking around for! Until then, I am glad to be the owner of a "Carel Schonerd Original." And when he becomes a famous artist.. I can say, "yeah, that guy was in my printmaking class way back when."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Aquatint~ Take 3: Tree w/ Night Sky

So, this is it~ my 3rd attempt at aquatinting (not counting all the reworking of plates yesterday!)
It's by far my favorite image, and it actually came out the way I wanted it to with the dark sky & bright stars. It's really fun to post my results along the way... that way I can see where I came from, & the meshing of ideas to results as I understand the processes just a little bit better. This quarter is quickly coming to a close, so I'll probably spend most of the time reworking plates & printing the ones I already have. I do have an idea for a much larger print (these have all been 8x 10~ now I'm thinking 12x 18!)
Larger plates are a little intimidating to me. How to compose & fill all that space feels like quite a challenge.... so we'll see.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Aquatint: The Process

Ok, so a little visual background for all the verbage on the last entry. This was my workspace today. Decided to rework my first 2 aquatints Starry Night & Night Sky with Tree, so I thought I'd show a bit of the process. What I wanted to do essentially, was to darken the sky a bit & add a bit more detail to the mountain scene. To do this, you kinda have to start over. You cover the areas you don't want to etch with a hard ground & let it dry. Then you start your aquatint process over. The aquatint is a latex/h2o based spray that is sprayed lightly over the plate to keep only small ( & hopefully even) portions of the plate from etching when it is placed in the acid. If you remember, this process is then repeated 5 times... so- spray, etch, spray, etch & so on.

Once the plate is placed in the acid bath, you've got 20-25 minutes to work on other projects (there's always something to do)... or go grab coffee. I like to manage my time to do both :)

I know what you're thinking now- just print it! Oh, were it so simple. Now you've got to clean up all the built up junk that you covered your plate with first... and let me tell you, that stuff can be stubborn! I skipped that part in the visual... didn't want to bore you too much! Now, the printing~
you cover the plate completely with ink, then begin the slow process of wiping it off just right. (Are you now thinking of that scene from "karate kid?")  Wax on, wax off, grasshopper....

Ink on. ink off... and at this point you are ready to print. I hate to keep you in suspense, but I have no finished prints to post from these two. Suffice it to say, I was very happy with the results for Night Sky w/Tree resulting in a darker sky... but the mountain scene had to go through same process I just outlined... again! Still with inadequate results!

I did, however end up with a beautiful print using this same process on thursday. Will post soon~
:)  Learning, learning, learning!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Night Sky w/Tree; Aquatint Take 2

Well, I am definitely learning, and that's why I'm here, so that's good. Getting this aquatint process down is a challenge for me & quite time consuming! The problem I had with this one was that I didn't get the etching quite right, resulting in a night sky that was not the deep black that I had in mind. My solution to this was to wipe the plate a little less over the sky portion, which gave this neat swirly effect. I like it. I printed this plate about 6 times to get the effect seen here. (Takes about 30 minutes per print to ink, wipe & print- just to give you an idea of the patience required for printmaking!) On the plate itself, there are stars (as in "Starry Night" below), but if I wipe the plate "properly" to show the stars, everything comes out with middle grayish tones- looking too washed out for my liking. Problem for me is, once I print a plate so many times, I get a little bored with it, so I have to move on to the next project. I spent about 5 hours working on another plate this morning. (You get down time- 20 minutes x 5 while the plate is in the acid... giving time to work on other projects, or perhaps go get a cup of coffee. :) The upcoming one has the same theme, with the night sky & tree~ just a little different composition... and hopefully with the darker sky & stars, as I had envisioned on this one. All part of the process, but dang those learning curves!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Starry Night; Aquatint

This is my first real attempt at using the aquatint technique to create a print. I was experiencing a block in terms of what to do for this print,  but then a few nights ago, the clouds finally parted, leaving behind a brilliant starry night. So, I thought I'd experiment with trying to capture that somehow. Being as this is my first real experiment using this technique, I rather like how it turned out. My initial idea was to try to create a feeling of looking up at the stars through a canyon, but as it turned out, the structures in the front remind me of the Tent Rocks in Northern New Mexico. For my next print, I'll try to darken the night sky a bit more, and add more texture to the foreground. Off to print!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Latest Results: Woodcut

With a little help from my instructor, I was finally able come up with the subtle shade difference on the top of the seastack to make this print work. After all the trial & error on the 3rd color, I ended up with a series of 4 prints that I liked. (Still a challenge to photograph it properly in low light- this image is not as sharp as the actual print.) Moving on from this one, I've tried reworking the copper plate (below) to add a bit more texture, but haven't come up with anything exciting. Meanwhile, I started a new aquatint etching with some some results that I found interesting. More to follow...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Printmaking- Latest Results with Copper Etching

It's all experimentation. There are so many different ways you can go w/ Printmaking... and clearly I have no clear focus just yet! So, what I did here was start with a copper plate, applied a soft ground, then laid various leaves & pine needles over the surface & ran it through the press to make the imprint in the ground. Then, the organic matter is removed & the plate is placed in the acid bath. Problem was, due to my inexperience & lack of knowledge in this technique, I applied too thick a ground, so when the leaf matter was pressed into the ground it didn't go deep enough... thus, when I put it in the acid bath it wasn't etching the way I would have hoped. Normally, you leave it in the acid about 1/2 hour... after conferring with a fellow student, I left it in for 5 hours!! Another issue I had was a combination of fresh & older leaves (the fresher leaves more of an imprint) so the etching was inconsistent. That said, I still enjoy the over all feel of the print. The larger print on the top was waxed, (encaustics) which turns the thin Japanese paper transparent, then I applied it to a natural background paper & then to the black paper to create a mat. The one on the bottom, I just chose to use part of the plate & print white ink on black paper. I'm currently in the process of reworking this plate & thinking of new ideas for my next print.

Printmaking- Woodcut in Progress

A little frustrated with the results so far on my latest woodcut. It is based on this photo I took on the Oregon coast... but I had a difficult time turning my idea into the desired result. Printmaking can be frustrating in this aspect as it is very time consuming to do the initial cuts, mixing & achieving the colors desired, a day's dry time in between each color & run through the press,  & of course the clean-up. I really liked the color combinations I came up with on the first 2 runs... but on the third run (trying to darken in the sea stack & reflection in the water...) I kept coming up way short of the desired result, which is not pictured here as I'm still working on it. I tried printing it 4 different ways with slightly different colors, and now I am down to only 3 remaining like the one shown here... so after all that work, I may not even get something I like out of this one! I imagine with more & more practice, the execution from ideas to results improves. But for now.... arrrgh! 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Aaaaah... Sunshine

No, this is not really a recent picture. I pulled over on the side of the road to get this shot somewhere in Victorville, Ca... on my travels from Oregon to California to New Mexico in December. I just liked it, (partly because it is sunny, & you don't see the sun quite often enough in southern Oregon this time of year...) so I thought I'd post it. Also, my posts have been a little Printmaking heavy, & I wanted to start putting more of my photography in... only I haven't been out taking pictures much lately. That's something I'm going to work on in the near future. I've got lots more to write... but I'm off to print lab to do some printing of a Woodcut that I spent a good portion of the day yesterday working on... will blog again soon!