Thursday, February 17, 2011

Frames: old friends in new clothes

I will be having a small show of my work opening March 1st in a local, popular coffee shop; this will be the first time I show my work in a public space and I'm pretty excited about it. It is a popular spot and I go there frequently; there is a good mix of construction workers, students and university faculty and locals and it will be a chance to see how a rather normal "public" reacts to my prints. There is a long wall, well-lit along one side and there should be room for 12-15 prints. I've spent the last few weeks searching local, second-hand shops for vintage or used frames; and the local stores for small frames that look suitable.

Most of my work has never been framed but instead, frantically printed, put away soon after as I moved quickly on to another idea.
It's been a novel experience to haul out the big Logan mat cutter I got at a yard sale and all the mat board I've been accumulating over the years. Since all the frames are different it's been a bit of a puzzle to figure out what goes well where.
Some is just size.
I'm surprised at how many of my works are really long vertical formats (that don't want to fit in a pre-made, standard frame.
And some of the work is trying to judge wood color: cherry? maple/natural? Brown, black or gilt.

But it is slowly coming together. I have about half of them framed and a few days off next week to finish the rest.
I'll try and take some pictures too when they're up on the walls.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blood Dreams

Blood Dreams, Monoprint; 13" X 18"

Place your fingers to your lover's wrist or against your own neck and feel the pulse against your skin and know that in this moment, at least, you are alive.

This is another old work--one of my first forays into monoprints from 1997 in Santa Fe at an intensive 5-day monoprint workshop. I was really happy with this print but the really nice one--a beautiful blood-dark maroon ground--(this was the reworked ghost print) vanished out of the drying racks on the last day--so my first "collector" remains unknown.

I hope to revisit this with woodblock soon. I'd like to change the size and composition a bit and am curious to see how it would turn out in Moku Hanga.

Monday, February 7, 2011

D is for Done with Dominos

I've been quiet lately because I've been PRINTING. and printing and printing.
Six blocks.
I stopped counting at 17 impressions and 10-ish colors.

As I mentioned in the last post the first color was going to set the mood and would be very important. Unfortunately it ended up looking like a warm yellow in the tube but printed thinly it proved a very cool yellow; the second pass helped a bit but three layers was too strong a yellow and so I was left with this cool yellow that I had to battle all the rest of the print.

The next layer was a thin, phthalo blue--hoping to give me a decent green so I could then overprint with a quinacradine red. But it wasn't as easy as all that; the first blue over the too-cool/too-strong yellow came out way too green and I spent a whole day fighting back that turquoise/green shade--actually it was quite lovely--just wrong--with repeated overprintings of complementary colors to neutralize and warm it down.But Adjusting the various doses of pigment I was able to get either a greenish brown, a mauveish brown, or a blue-green. Next went a blue-black--a bit of indathrone blue and carbon black pigment dispersions and I got a nice dark domino.

Once I got the Domino done I turned to the Shadow. I started with a Rose Madder Genuine/Quinacridine rose--this over the yellow ground gave me a very orange-y pink.
Over this went a Bokashi (graded wash of dark purple of phthalo blue and alazarin c.) Then another Bokashi of strong phthalo blue to heighten the edge.
I did about 10 in this color scheme then had a late night fit of panic and clouded judgement and cleaned off the board and switched to a clear blue--to get a nice vibrant green shadow; and then that was graded down with a phthalo blue bokashi edge too.

So, its a true Edition Varie--each domino is a bit different--some are green, blue, purple, brown or mauve; a few have hot purple shadows, most a green; and there are few outliers--pinks and reds and bright yellow golds.

I am reminded however, that my assignment was to try to achieve a rich, dark BLACK.
I had a Robert-Motherwell-kind-of-black in mind that I definitely did not achieve.
I sort of skirted that goal in favor of a rich, multicolored dark but it was a long,
bumpy session and very haphazard and disorganized and while some of the dominos are really gorgeous, I couldn't repeat the process if my life depended on it.
But if you look at the BACK of the paper you can get a pretty good idea of what I was up to.