Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

As 2011 comes to close, I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year.

2011 was a milestone year for me in several ways:

  • I received my Bachelor of Science of Degree in Studio Art/Printmaking
  • My husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage
  • My youngest child turned 21
  • My beloved Grandmother passed away at age 92 and 10 months

Life does not stay the same. Each new day changes us, most often in small ways that we may not at the time realize, and sometimes in big, obvious ways. May all these experiences shape us into better people who are more loving, more understanding and more passionate about the precious lives we each possess.

Carpe deim!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Incorporating Gampi Transfers with Printmaking

I came across this video by accident (don't you love serendipitousness?) I have printed photos onto my handmade gampi paper and love how it looks, but have been reluctant to incorporate them into my artwork knowing that the inks would smear if I applied acrylic mediums or any other liquid glues. In this video the artist, Darlene Olivia McElroy, instructs you to spray the image with a fixative and allow it to dry before applying the medium. I am excited to try this. A simple solution to the dilemma! My gampi isn't white or tissue-thin like the type she uses in the video, but if I have a background similar to the natural gampi paper it should blend well. If not, that is okay because this paper is beautiful and will add its texture to the finished piece.

Two photos taken while vacationing at Madison Cottages, Summer 2010. Sepia and black & white/green tinted photos inkjet printed on my handmade gampi paper.


I have done "ghost prints" on thin store-bought gampi and have used some in prints via chine colle, but the paper doesn't "disappear" the way it does when using acrylic medium as shown in this video. You can see that in this print where the paper on the right was adhered via chine colle to the print then overprinted with the inked oak leaves. Perhaps if I thoroughly wet the gampi paper (providing the ink printed on it is waterproof) as well as the backing paper, it may "disappear". If not, I can try to use a matte medium so that this section won't have a shine to it (from gloss medium which this artist uses), since the rest of the print doesn't have or require that look.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Monarda added To Queen Anne's Lace & Wildflowers Print

Water mixable oil paint printed on handmade gampi

This week I drew an image of Monarda that would fit over the Queen Anne's Lace and Wildflowers linoleum print. The first print was created using watersoluble colored pencils for a botanical drawing-type look.  The transfer wasn't quite what I had hoped. It appears like the Monarda is behind the Queen Anne's Lace. I had wanted it to be on top.  Next I used water mixable oil paints and the image was a bit darker, yet not quite the effect I wanted to achieve.  I am thinking that I will try a silkscreen version of this design next.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

View From the Kitchen Window - October 19, 2011

The Woods Out Back

The Family Pond & Swampy Meadow

There is something almost magical about a rainy landscape. It is easier to see true colors. No sunlight to bounce off the surfaces, dust washed away and wetness adding a gloss or sheen to the colors and textures.

Whenever I look upon this landscape, I am reminded again and again how very blessed I am to live here. I grew up in Queens, New York and although we had a backyard, it was probably only 30'x30' at most. We had no trees surrounding us. Just a few shrubs put in by building contractors. My father planted Japanese Maple saplings and my mother planted a Kwansan Cherry seedling several years later. I don't remember seeing squirrels. The only birds I recall were sparrows and starlings. Of course I was a child then and didn't pay much attention, but I think I would have remembered cardinals and bluejays, squirrels and other small animals. When I think of these creatures, memories of my grandparents' summer home in Putnam County or my aunt and uncle's home in Suffolk County come to mind.

Living here for the past eighteen years has done much good for my psyche. Part of thirteen acres owned by various family members on my husband's side, this former dairy farm of 60+ acres still enchants. Not the home in the country I always dreamed of, it is satisfying nonetheless. I have space to garden, room for sheds and barns to house the equipment and materials of our various hobbies, a front and screened back porch in which to sit and enjoy the sights, sounds and scents. I am content.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Queen Anne's Lace & Wildflowers

Continuing with where I left off with the post, Transitioning, here is what I've done so far with that initial drawing on the linoleum.

coloring in what is to be removed

the finished block
applying ink
I plan to overprint these with drawings of monarda, echinacea, goldenrod and other wildflowers.

Its Time for City Wide Open Studios

Each year ArtSpace New Haven sponsors three weekends of open studios. It is a must-do event!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Punica ornamentum aureolis

I was asked to donate one of my prints to the 2nd WPKN Artfest Auction to be held during the annual City-Wide Open Studios in New Haven. At first I thought of donating one of the drypoint etchings/chin colle prints I did of the blueberry drawing for last year's Blueberry Summer silkscreen. Since I donated one of these silkscreens to last year's auction, I decided against it. Instead, I chose to revisit the linoleum block I made for an earlier print, Punica ornamentum. I have wanted to use this block again. I carved out the background lines that created the original prints, mixed up a maroon ink and hand printed on several different handmade papers. Deciding on the one printed on flax paper, I added gold acrylic paint to accent parts of the design. Next I looked through previously printed papers intended for backgrounds and collage and found a lace print I made from a collograph on my handmade gampi.

In keeping with the concept of giving this a fictitious botanical name, I made this a variety of the original. This is entitled Punica ornamentum aureolis meaning Golden Ornamental Pomegranate.

2011 Papers

A sampling of the papers I made this summer
Some of the papers you see here are (bottom to top):
14x17 - kozo dyed with forest green Procion dye, Philippine gampi, sage dyed under-beaten cotton, flax, goldenrod dyed cotton
8.5x11 left -  pure cotton rag, cabbage dyed cotton, carrot top dyed cotton, bamboo sheaths, turmeric dyed cotton and abaca
5x7 left recycled paper
8.5x11 right- gampi dyed with colored tissue during pressing of sheets, gampi, purple-leaf plum bark dyed gampi, abaca dyed with dandelion leaves and flowers; sage dyed cotton, goldenrod dyed cotton, carrot top with copper modifier dyed cotton, flax

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Transitioning: Good-bye Summer, Hello Autumn

Summer rarely hangs on until the last day here in southern New England. Fall is in the air usually a good week before the official autumnal equinox. The same is true this year. Since last Friday, the temperatures have been in the mid 60's F and cooler at night. The sun has set by 7 p.m. The leaves are beginning to change color and some are even beginning to fall.

Yes, the sunny, warm, seemingly endless days of summer have come to an end. I really enjoyed this summer. I will miss it, but I also look forward to the days of transition ahead. Transitioning from shorts to jeans; from sandals to socks and closed shoes; from wet hair to blow dried; from whites, yellows and bright greens of summer home decor to rusts, browns and dark greens of autumn; from margaritas to apple cider, cinnamon and bourbon; from papermaking to printmaking.

I am once again taking the Monotype/Monoprint class at Creative Arts Workshop. I start this evening. I am going to build on what I started in the summer class and start new projects as well. Today I am working on a simple design of wildflowers that I will cut from linoleum and use primarily as a background. I am planning to do a series of prints featuring wildflowers on the naturally dyed cotton paper I made. If I can figure out how to thicken the ink I made from Viburnum acerifolium berries and Salvia officinalis, I will use these as well. If not, I have other projects in mind for those.
Design on "wonder-cut" linoleum before carving

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Mushrooms

Walking around my front yard a week or so ago, I came across a variety of different mushrooms growing in the "lawn". Mushrooms have been growing in several locations all summer. I would come upon them while walking to my car or getting the mail, etc. Going back later to take photos was too late. Either the squirrels had eaten the caps or they had turned slimy. This day, I stopped what I was doing, got my camera and took these photos. I find them intriguing. I know nothing of mycology, but hope to learn what varieties these are.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Garden Sage Dyed Cotton Pulp

I read in the book Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles by India Flint that the leaves of garden sage make a red dye. This intrigued me and since I have several very robust Salvia officinalis plants, I decided to try it. I believe this must be a misprint. It is more than likely that the purple flowers will yield a red dye. I will try that next June. In the meantime I am very pleased with the sage green I got from these leaves.

leaves before cooking dyed pulp before & after rinsing

the dried, finished sheets

I simmered some of the used dye bath until it was reduced to half. The color is very dark. I believe this will make a wonderful ink.
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