Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blues and Contours

Blues    9"x12"   mixed media

Completed another pastel-over-carborundum print today.

I am especially pleased with the effect of the marble powder (carborundum) process on the mountain in the background, and found it does make a difference using an old flat brush and applying directional strokes. Notice how my directional strokes make the mountain appear to have a rounded mountain-like shape (the black and white bits are all ink and non-inked paper). And then I did apply a little blue pastel on the mountain peaks, providing a little foggy appearance. 

As you experiment be aware that the higher the ratio of carborundum to glue or acrylic gloss medium, the darker the print and the more likely you'll get variation in black and white, like what I experienced in this print.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Colored Inks

Observance  9"x12" mixed media

I set out today to create a 9"x12" multi-colored print. There are some beautiful examples out there in Google-land to drool over, and I thought I'd give it a try.

In the first pass I applied raw umber to the plate in an all-over application, wiping out all but what was captured in the drypoint scribes and that held throughout over carborundum areas which I painted on with a thin mix of fine pumice powder and pva glue. So far, so good.

I then did a second pass through the press with other colors applied to the same plate: a blended blood red, a dulled-down yellow ochre, and a mossy gray-green, each color in its selected area.

The result wasn't what I hoped for--weak coloration, patchy colored areas. I wasn't happy, and I ended up completing the piece with soft pastels on top of the print. I'm new to printmaking. I have a lot of techniques to try and a long way to go, but at least I'm enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How do you get there?

Intersection 9   6"x8"  mixed media

I sometimes wonder if we are on a mysterious but well articulated path, thinking, believing, making decisions, solving problems according to a plan and a path that awaits and anticipates our future steps.

Too cosmic and incredible! Who's to say, but I never feel the existence of a phenomenon more than when I'm resolving a painting. How do I get from choosing a photo, to a sketch, to a changed sketch, to deciding on hundreds of available materials and techniques, to applying endlessly specific formulas, to selecting a myriad of printing methods, to applying other mediums, to reviewing, to deciding, deciding, endlessly deciding, and ending, knowing somehow that I'm done. And look at it. It is the sum total of me and no one else. We are all different and have a visual signature.

How do you get there? Ever wonder?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Technique and Inspiration

SOLD   Intersection #8   8"x12"  mixed media

A couple of weeks ago I took a workshop with artist/instructor Jan Olsson at Beverley Street Studio School (BSSS) in Staunton, VA. The course title is Modernizing the Techniques of the Masters. I had heard what a terrific teacher and artist Jan is, and yet this is the first opportunity I’ve had to take her class. She lives and teaches in both Paris, France and Staunton, Virginia so you have to catch her when she is in town. 

Jan’s technique involves a two-step approach and acrylic paints, a monochrome umber-like underpainting, followed by colored glazing layers, and finally and optionally light opaque details.

I loved the class, learned a lot, and produced something that I was satisfied with as a first effort.

So here I am. It’s August—a new month, and me enamored with printmaking processes. I have in front of me a less-than-successful shades of gray drypoint carborundum print experiment, and I’m about to dispose of it when I realize that perhaps all that is standing between me and true happiness is my soft pastels readily available and within reach. An hour later plus an added layer of pastels, I have a mixed media piece I’m happy with, Intersection #8, and thank you Jan Olsson.

Take a look at Jan’s website. Her paintings are inspiring as was her class.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Black and White

. . . and shades of gray.

I'm finding printmaking processes very compelling, and I anticipate a long stay in this medium. As I write many ideas are rumbling around in my head. It feels like I've jumped off a tall building, eyes wide open into a new world, and I like it.

Here are two first proofs I completed yesterday. If I decided to edition either print, there would be more copies of these with slight variations. I could even add color in a number of ways if I want.

703 Reference  6"x8" carborundum drypoint on plexiglass  1/

Corner Hupman  9"x12" carborundum drypoint on acrylic  1/

A couple of Intaglio subset techniques I tried in these first efforts are.

Carborundum: A rock hard mineral ground down to various grits (fine, medium, course) used to achieve texture, detail, and darker darks. The tiny spaces between pieces of the grit hold onto ink and create darker textured areas. I've used here fine grade marble powder as an alternative because it is what I had in the studio. I mixed the powder with a PVA glue and diluted the mix slightly with water to ease the flow onto my acrylic plate in one case and plexiglass in the case of my smaller print, 703 Reference.

Drypoint: A method of Intaglio printing where lines are scribed with cutting tools into metal, plexi, or other surfaces (even mat board), creating gullies with furrows where ink rests and is subsequently pressed into paper with hand tools or by using an etching press. Scribing lines can be seen more readily in 703 Reference in the house roof and in various other clearly lined areas.

Let me step back a moment for anyone who does not know or has forgotten. There are basically two printmaking systems, RELIEF and INTAGLIO (pronounced intalio, tal like pal). A relief print receives the ink placed on a raised surface of a plate, as in a woodblock print. An Intaglio print receives the ink from the carved out areas, recessed areas, or etched areas. That said it is not entirely that simple, and a combination of methods can be applied to a print.

More to come from my new home print shop in the coming days.