Category Archives: Printmaking

More Lists and Free Images Too

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I realized two things when I came to post this morning – firstly that I DIDN’T press ‘publish’ last week when I posted AND – my post read like something that is probably rambly introspective trash that people imagining themselves to be insightful (minus an editor) writes.  (also a hazard of posting infrequently – you don’t know where to begin to catch up your readers – if I have any of those any more!)

In several forums of my life at the moment, I am being encouraged to thankful and there really is LOTS…………one of the significant things that kept coming up on my lists were my ONLINE art friends & forums that I belong to…….you all have made such an impact on my artistic journey.  SO – my list is at the bottom of this post – but to start with a THANKYOU – I wanted to gift you some of my ‘altered’ images – to use in your own art work.  I retain the copyright, they are images I have taken myself & altered – however, I release them to you to use in your own work & your own work for publication (BUT NOT for redistribution or resale).

Unfortunately – they are not very big as I have used iphone apps to alter them, and it kept crashing the larger sized files.  They print up nicely at 6 x 4 & 5 x 7’s or even better sized as ATC backgrounds.  They will increase with a double click – then right click to save.

For those that don’t know – I am  participating in Misty Mawn’s Open Studio Workshop.  There are many adjectives that could be used to describe it (I COULD write a list!!!) but in short its the best I have ever been exposed to.  She has certainly sorted ‘the men from the boys’ as we say here in Oz and set the bar high for online courses. It is affordably priced, content rich, beautifully presented (name me one thing of Misty’s that isn’t!) – both challenging & achievable………..and YES – I am in love with her all over again!

The course covers both anticipated & unexpected inclusions like sculpture with paper clay, writing poetry, mark making with interesting mixes of materials, & other fun things.  You can certainly notice the difference between someone formally trained in art & and those that are not in the depth & intensity of material included.  If you have the chance to participate at some point – can I highly recommend it?

Having said that – and noting my post from a few months ago about ‘soooooo many faces’ – I am back to painting faces!  Of course I have returned to my first love (the start of my ‘learning to draw’ adventure began with faces in July 2008)  HONESTLY – they are 100% better than where I started……BUT I am not sure that I’ll ever get really good at this – even IF I paint them forever! LOL! (although, I must admit when ‘altered’ with my iPhone apps [as above] they look better) here is some of my work I have done throughout the 5 week course.

3 lino cuts (bud, blossoming, bloom) printed on vintage text. Pen & ink & watercolour drawings on page

inspired by summer beach trips to 90 Mile Beach, Victoria. Pen & ink w. watercolour

GHOST GUM - a linear abstract

myself - as a shape

i AM grateful…………………
for healthy children & grandchildren
for sky canvas set out before me daily (any one who has read my blog for any length of time will have seen one of our beautiful sunsets – for new readers – I have added one below as a treat!  Taken a week ago from our front verandah)
for freedom to worship
for my home
for the gift of creativity
for pristine beaches
for the clean environment we live in here
for dear friends
for the online art community
for accessible, affordable education
for the wonder that is creation
for the smell of newborn babies
for the joy of a toddler laughing
for the wonder of childhood discovery
for the pleasure of sharing a life
for the privilege of growing old with someone you love
for the freedom to choose

there are plenty of other things…………..but they will be for a list…..another day

spring treasures

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only when you have been without it, do you appreciate rain.  In Oz, we have been experiencing severe drought for the past three years or so, but it has been moderately dry for about the last ten.   Our drinking water storage facilities have been gradually depleting, water tanks in suburban yards have become a more common sight and even public and commercial buildings have had water tanks installed to capture every drop of this precious commodity.  We have an old english cottage garden at our 90 yo home & I decided early in the drought that I wasn’t going to ‘bucket’ feed the garden (except for my pots) as I figured that in it’s long lifetime, it must have had dry periods before.  We have lost alot of ‘lush foliage’ type of plants, & (very sadly) a large Japanese Maple – but most of the trees have survived & the ivy trails over & fills the gaps! LOL!

I think it is fair to say, that the drought has broken.  Green is brightening up our barren landscapes & the sleepy decidious trees are filled with buds just waiting to burst at the first hint of sunshine & warmth.  The strict water restrictions that we have been under have been eased as our water storage is up and still filling.  We are expecting FOUR inches (100mm) rain in the next couple of days and the earth is OOOZZZing ‘wetness’ !  It’s a great time for all the gorgeous spring blossoms & of course the birds are lovin’ it.  I happened across this delicate looking moss recently and was facinated by it’s tonality.  The mossy yellowy/green is my MOST favourite colour, so of course I would be drawn to it, but it’s form was so delicate, I could imagine it would have inspired lace makers of the past.  Speaking of inspiration – I have been inspired by the very special Jenn White (a fellow Paper Trader) on a recent visit to regional Victoria.  Although Jenn does lovely mixed media and altered book work, her first love is wood cuts.  I have been considering creating some small etchings to turn into a little book, impacted by the film ‘Bright Star’ and some recent ad hoc life drawing sessions I have been doing.  Jenn VERY graciously let me have a play with some of her plates & do some ‘hand burnished’ prints.  It was fun to work so simply.  Mixed media at times can be so complex and layered, with so many different materials that it is a big set up and big clean up.  Jenn just had primary coloured inks (plus black and white), a small piece of glass, some burnishing tools & old book pages.  Dispite using a block,(ie replicating the same image) they were almost monoprints because each ink mix was a little different and colour combinations and varied text background gave quite different effects.

Simple – but interesting result.  I stuck mine between phone book pages to take them home, and some of the pages stuck a little, but I don’t even mind how that looks – adds another dimension………ok – so there I go ‘layering’ again!LOL!!  I started work on a lino cut, a process I REALLY did think that I had left behind at art school, but I have been more than a little inspired by the fineness & detail of Jenn’s work.  More soon.

Post Script
only a week after this posting, Victoria experienced extreme flooding & it is OFFICIAL, the drought HAS broken.  Thankfully, our dams are filling, and our water restrictions have been eased.  The era of dirty cars is over ………which some may consider a problem – particularly, if dirty cars have been your art canvas! 

give me down to there hair

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I thought I’d show you a glimpse of some of my uni work – this year for my printmaking major, I have concerntrated on ‘Connections’ – the things that connect us as individuals, internally & externally & into our wider environment.  One of the topics I kind of ‘fell’ into was hair.  I grew up with my mother playing the sound track to the ’60’s musical through the house – but didn’t think a great deal about it.  Exploring connections, I happened upon an article that said that the ‘Rachel’ cut of Jennifer Aniston’s character friends, was the most ‘asked for’ hair cut in modern history, and when polled in the 90’s over 50% of women had tried that style!  (shame the creator, hairstylist, Chris McMillan can’t get royalties per cut!! LOL!!).  It was just a quirky nonsense bit of trivia, but it started me down the path of thinking & looking at hair & how it to some degree, helps us identify with what ‘style’ of person we are.  Punks wear it one way, goths another, surfer’s another, etc – but I also thought about how generations have used it through the years to delinate themselves from the previous generation, and what a personal afront it can be to parents to some be confronted with their child with newly ‘wierded’ hair.  The thoughts kept codgetating, & then realized, that unless you were actually held down, no one could make you have your hair in one style or another – you had to agree to it, and sometimes, that’s the point – it is a part of ourselves that we can control. (some one I used to know was getting married for the 3rd time & her 16 yo son on the day of the wedding had the first of what became a popular ‘undercut’ – he couldn’t control his mum’s actions, but he could have a say in how he appeared in it all.  She refused to let him be in the ‘wedding party’ as a result of it, her reaction was so strong!  So these are a couple of the prints – pics are a bit dodgy – the work is about half a full sized sheet of watercolour paper (A2 for those working in metric) & they were taken with my iPhone – say no more!  

a printmaking update and a little quilt

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Impossible Loveyou know that it's been far too long between posts when you have to read your own blog to see what you wrote last! LOL!! Yep – tis been a while. I have the winter durge of thumping head & body aches & my 'aloe vera' infused tissues are my best friend, so regardless of my tardiness – i am posting mostly pics! We have had a little holiday, our 30th wedding anniversary & The Princess has turned FOUR! So a couple of things distracting me from THE MAIN THING – don't you hate it when life gets in the way of art?!   LOL!! 

I really have alot of art to catch you up on, but I thought I might catch you up on some of my recent printmaking & the joys of creating mono prints…………..or should I say pleasure & pain of creating monoprints? Like all printmaking processes – looks easy peasy – deceptively tricky to get a consistantly good result.

This awkward looking thing is an attempt to break out of the 'fine arts' mold of print making and think outside the square a little to combine processes.  I hope to use some of my prints in altered art and book projects & am still finding my way with the whole art/craft thing.  This is a monoprint, that has be overprinted with etchings.  There were many failures along the way, in an attempt to get a result I was happy with, which in practise means there were many hours spent, with not a whole lot to show for it.The ReaderFlying High  The etchings below were created using aquatints – which to the non printmakers – is like using UTEE as a resist to create a mottled Botanica Ibackground, which is etched, and deep tonality is achieved in the 'divits' that are etched into the plate.  Kind of a primative way to describe it, but hopefully you kind of get the idea.  If you are interested in the aquatint process you can read more here.  These are all relatively small plates – about ATC size, but each one represents about one whole day in the studio to get it to a printable form.  There's no quick road to becoming a printmaker – it's a long hard slog!

On another subject, while we were away, I took a 'handwork' project with me & commenced a cot quilt for our Baby Princess'  first Christmas.  I am using primarily olde worlde rose & floral theme (as I know my sweet DIL is not really a 'pink princess' girl) and basing it around the tones in this TOTALLY GORGEOUS flower fairies fabric by Michael Miller.  The detail and crispness of the print is beautiful and it has just a tiny bit of glittery stuff (don't actually know what it is) – and ALL Princesses need a little bling!

etchings abound

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Back at uni after almost a month, and I have had the chance to print up some of my more recent sketches.  Like anything that looks amazing – it's simple to do, but deceptively complex – with a thousand things that can go wrong at anytime.  You never quite know what you are going to end up with.

One of my tutors said to us this week - that when ever an artist creates something – they begin with an initial idea in their head, and then go about creating it.  Sometimes, in the process, the work evolves from the original idea, which leaves artists often unhappy with what they create.  When someone else, who has not had the original 'picture' sees it – they only judge the piece on it's merits – not on what it should have/would have/could have been.  Fish-&-Feather-web Therefore – as artists – we need to be brave - and put our work out there for all the world to see – risk the rejection – and embrace the actual process of creating something – rather than looking to the finished product being the end all & be all. 

In Melbourne at the moment, can you believe it – there is a 'symposium on happiness' happening over the next couple of days.  As I am writing this – I am wondering why it seems obscure – why do I think it's odd to do this???? On reflection, I think that I must feel that it seems trivial – (a bit like some people feel about those who create!) however I am reading more and more how our state of mind impacts our longivity as much as our eating habits or exercise routine (what is that?)  Anyways – I was listening to a radio interview with the forward thinking Edward De Bono who (apart from practically saying his books were universal cure alls! LOL!) said that there were two states of happiness:

1. Tranquility – a sort of peace & calmness AND

2. Excitement, glee & joyfulness – an overt adrenaline charged feeling

Tree-small-web He then went on to discuss how it is almost impossible to create with the first and you probably don't feel like creating if you are experiencing the second, you are more likely to seek pleasure to enhance that feeling & often in the company of others, as opposed to taking yourself off some where & pouring your 'happiness' into a work of art of some description.  I have to say, I am significantly more prolific when I am more melancolic – but being committed to being creative daily – it more impacts my colour choices & the subject matter – even my mark making tools and the way I apply mediums………..What about you – how does your mood effect the way you art – have you noticed a difference in what you produce or which tools you grab for?

If you'd like to see more of my recent printmaking this is the link to my flickr album.

Below is a Japanese Moleskine Exchange I have been working on with Jennifer Krashka, if you'd like to see that up to date – here's the link to that photo album.03-Gardening-Shoes-web

life is galloping by

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Night Owl Teal_resize After Rembrandt_resize at a great rate of knots – and yes – for the first time this year – the 'C' word was mentioned yesterday – yes, you know the one, the one my year used to be measured by….

it's 3 months,
or 111 days,
or 2669 hours, or 160162 minutes or 9609728 seconds until Christmas – whew – no wonder it's galloping – those numbers just escallate!After Degas_resize  I have had to (regretfully) acknowledge that The Princess (grandbaby) – Miss 3 – is NO LONGER a toddler and that I am approaching a very large number next year.

It's funny, having always been mistaken for being much younger than I am, age has really never worried me, but having suffered a whole raft of mobility issues in the last couple of years, I am now beginning to seriously consider my own mortality and aging.  It's not a pleasant thought. I am even wondering about my pursuit of drawing – will I finally get it, just before I die and not ever produce anything worthwhile?  I am STILL a fledgling – better of course – I would even hesitate to say MUCH better – but I am still heavily reliant on copying and having something already 'flattened' into an image rather than drawing from life.  oh well – at least I won't be a 'stale' old grannie – you can't get too old if you are still learning!  These are some of my recent dry point etchings – and NO – they aren't drawn – they are primarily traced. The decision of how & in what manner to shade is where the 'art' comes in, as it alters the whole look of the piece.  Still impacted by my 'Degas' visit last year, the little dancer was first etched and printed, then I bathed the paper in walnut ink & detailed it with white chalk.Toby's Magpie III_resize  The magpies are from photographs I took of our little Master 2 1/2 feeding a family of magpies they have befriended at their home (of course they end up reversed when they are etched & printed). IMG_0085_resize

Toby's Magpie II_resize
Countdown to Christmas!

I’m assessed

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For weeks now, I have been counting down to 2pm today – when I had my half year assessment for my art course.  Six subjects, all being assessed, all at the same time – 8 art journals (for 2 subjects I am already on my second one); 8 printworks; 5 oil paintings; a critical review of an art work, 20 drawings in various mediums, 12 life drawings; yada, yada, yada, basically, lots of stuff – all due at the one time, in the one place for a face to face review by a panel of 'art critics'.Evolution-of-Wood-Engraving   Like a folio presentation.

I have spent the semester feeling TOTALLY out of my depth, still feeling 'drawingly challenged' so the whole process was summing up to be pretty scary!  They were kind, and gentle and encouraging.  I still feel like a 'fraud' artist (due to my lack of drawing skills) & like I don't belong, but I recieved some encouragement to persevere with my painting, great reviews for my print making.  The row of chairs is a 'relief print' carved out of matchbox sized cross grained wood with funny shaped tools that fit in your palm and are as sharp as a razor! (yes, I have the blood to prove it!)  This was really tricky to do, and although it was a requirement, it's probably not something I'd fuss about doing again.Diverse-Culture-web   My set of 5 paintings were elements of Melbourne life I called Urbania.  It included:  'Hands of Justice' (representing the court buildings and taken from a photograph of a statue of a judge); 'Diverse Culture' depicting street buskers (entertainers) & traditional ballet & our Hands-of-Justice-web Art's Centre. I was required to create a 'hommage' to an artist & so my 'Man in the Street' panel was a hommage to the work of John Bracks – a Melbourne artist, most famous for his work titled 'Collins St at 5pm' (a CBD street – equivalent to Wall St, or Saville Row – a main, well known CBD street).  The other two panels were a retail one & one abstractly depicting Federation Square (another major Melbourne landmark)

Although none of this is altered arts – it's the path I am on at the moment for my art, I ache to get my hands in some acrylic The-Man-in-the-Street-webpaint & just 'squidge' around in it – but that's not to be right now – this is all pretty full on, and I am still battling physical constraints that are quite challenging at times.Snow-Gums-web

We are done with 'relief' printing now where you work in the 'negative' – moving into 'intaglio' or dry point printing using etched plates & working in the 'positive'.  After working with this for only a couple of weeks, I am really liking the results of this, and see a much broader application for it.  It remains to be seen how well I do it, but I am encouraged by today's work – shown here – taken from a magazine photo of Snow Gums.  I would like to 're do' some Alice scenes & I think this would be a good medium to do it in.  The one from Tenniel with Alice at the tea party has always worried me, it seems to me that she has such a sullen pouty face, & she doesn't fit with the 'wonderlust' Alice that I have conjured up in my mind.  Also I have Teri's 'White Rabbit' journal due to arrive here, so that's a good excuse to work on something like that!  Something a bit less serious than my work in first semester.

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Progress at College

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Bamboo-&-ink This week at Collage we have moved on to watercolour classes with the AMAZING Australian artist THORNTON WALKER - WOW – really great stuff – THIS was my fav (it looked like a stylized 'colour chart' – so OF COURSE it was my fav!) – but IT was hard to choose!  So much of his subject matter really appealled to me – still lifes that include china & fruit & interesting bits'n'bobs……the dissapointing part was that our first week was him 'introducing' us to inks – which he uses in conjunction with watercolours – obviously he wasn't aware that we had been working with them for 4 weeks previously.  The exercise was to sit opposite in pairs & draw each other using bamboo 'pens' (made from a sharpened piece of bamboo).  After several goes at this, I lost the plot a little and wandered over to something familiar.Pear-in-shellac

I have finally completed my first lino cut in printmaking, which I have hand burnished out on to some old newsprintUrbania-linocut – it's a kind of play on some of my photographs of Melbourne cityscapes, and includes of some 'John Brack Collins St' people (down the bottom).  Lino cuts are quite fun to do (if you can move your arm that is!) – Lino is much more stable than the rubber (my earlier carving experiences), although it is difficult to get a 'positive' carving as it is a thin surface (about 1/4 inch), so to carve it all completely away, it is tricky to get it away (you often end up with striations) and so many are done in the negative.