Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn's Bounty - Milkweed Seedpods

Week 3 of Fundamentals of Natural Science Illustration: Autumn's Bounty focused on seedpods. I was attracted to one particular branch of milkweed seedpods because the inside of the pod was tinted pink.  I have collected many milkweed seedpods for papermaking and have never seen one tinted like this one was. I thought it was stunning! Here is my rendition of it.

Asclepias incarnata seedpods
The assignment was to complete one part in graphite and the rest in a combination of micron pen, walnut ink and colored pencil.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Beautiful   Quiet   Shibui   Wonderful   Calm   Whisper   
Thought provoking   Lovely   
Imaginative creativity   Delightful   Delicate   Peaceful

These words were used to describe my work and how it made those who commented feel while viewing it at the CWOS Alternative Space Weekend. I am so honored, as this is my goal with my art. It is nature that calms,soothes and inspires me and I try to capture that in my art. The knowledge that it came across to some, is humbling and a blessing.

I had not heard the word "shibui' used before so I looked it up. According to an article on Wikipedia, it is a Japanese word which refers "to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty." 
"The seven elements of shibusa (shibui) are simplicity, implicity, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness, and imperfection." 

"The person of shibusa modestly exalts excellence via a thoroughness of taking time to learn, watch, read, understand, develop, think, and merges into understatement and silence concerning oneself. Shibusa's sanctuary of silence, non-dualism - the resolution of opposites, is intuition coupled with beauty and faith as foundations for phases of truth revealing the worship and reverence for life." 

I identify with the Japanese terms wabi and sabi and now can add shibui to that.

Birds and Blueberries

Of the prints that sold during the CWOS Alternative Space weekend were three containing the same birds drawing and mask used in different ways, and blueberries, printed with two different methods.

Birdsong - Mixed Media
Birds Diptych - Monotype

In the Thicket - Monotype
 One woman who bought a blueberry silkscreen print told me that she was buying it as a Christmas gift for her sister, with whom she shares a blueberry bush. Another woman told me that she too was buying it as a Christmas gift for her parents, who live in area of Connecticut surrounded by blueberry farms.
Blueberry Summer, silkscreen

From the drawing for the blueberries silkscreen, I created a drypoint etching in plexiglass and printed it onto some of my handmade paper, using the chine colle method. There are five versions of this, though this is the only one I have a photo of. This particular one is framed and has not sold yet, but is similar to the ones that did.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Some Artists at CWOS Alternative Space

The New Haven Register Building, where the printing and distribution of the newspaper once took place, was home to artists who do not have studios in New Haven, called Alternative Space, this year. Artists from around the state of Connecticut, and even some from New York, rented space for the weekend of October 20&21. Six areas or zones were set up throughout the building. I was in the main room of Zone D with over twenty other artists. I was able to meet and speak with many of them. Here a few photos and links to their Artspace Profile Page or website. I will search to see if I can find a site that has more photos to share with you. There just wasn't time to take photos.

Eric Iannucci, Mixed media, Ceramic, Fabric, Found material, Animation 

Richard Davis, Mixed media, Photography, Collage, Paint, Graphite

Marcus Schaefer, Found material, Metal, Sculpture, Installation, Mixed media

                                                                              Derek Leka, painter

Kyle Skar, architect, installation artist

Other artists displaying at this Alternative Space whom I know or met:

Kathleen DeMeo, Printmaking, Paint, Mixed media, Collage
Valerie Richardson, Paint, Printmaking, Drawing, Collage
Jeffrey Starkes, Paint
Ariela Martin, Photography
Louise Harter, Ceramics
Elissa Hine, Paint, Printmaking, Mixed media
Stephen Rodriguez, Ceramics
Ruth Sack, Mixed media, Sculpture, Paint, Found material, Collage
Martha Savage, Collage
Melissa Slattery, Painting, Pastels
Linda Wingerter, Found material, Mixed media, Installation, Paint, Wood

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Autumn's Bounty - Bittersweet

Week 2 of Fundamentals of Natural Science Illustration: Autumn's Bounty focused on berries. I started this in class, but by the time I sat down to complete it at home, the leaves had dried and curled. The colors remained this vibrant, which made it a delight to work with.

Celastrus scandens berries

Monday, October 22, 2012

CWOS Alternative Space 2012 - A Wonderful Experience

Words cannot adequately describe the feelings I have. This weekend was so much more than what I had hoped or expected! I spoke with so many interesting, encouraging people and made some new connections. I was invited to participate in two future shows; I sold two framed prints, a number of unframed prints and over a dozen packages of handmade papers. Friends have praised my work in the past and I am thankful for that encouragement, but actually selling work and in the quantity that I did was truly affirming! Here are some photos that Bob took. Too busy to take any more. More about some specifics later.

Friday, October 19, 2012

All Set Up at the CWOS Alternative Space

Bob and I finished setting up tonight. Looking forward to the weekend!

bowl holding business cards was hand cast with sheets of hmp
baskets were made by my husband. runner is eco- printed reclaimed cotton fabric

handmade paper and journals for sale. displayed on marigold-dyed reclaimed cotton fabric

Artist Statement and information on make paper

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Focus on Drawing

As I have written about previously, I want to focus on drawing to improve my skills so that I can quickly and adeptly depict the plants and wildlife that surround me. I have started Fundamentals of Natural Science Illustration II: Autumn's Bounty at the Yale Peabody Museum Education Center in Orange, CT. I haven't devoted as much time to the homework as I would have liked because of other activities. After this coming weekend exhibiting at the CWOS Alternative Space, I don't have much planned, so will make the effort to really get serious about drawing again.

This week our homework was to draw a garlic bulb, with special attention given to the roots. After an hour and a half, this is what I've done.

Break time is over, so now to finish it.

It took a little more time to bring it to this point. I am hesitant to do more for fear of over working it although I can see the roots on the left need some help to bring them forward. I'll see what the instructor suggests tomorrow.

Polyester Plate Lithography and Monarda

Last night I completed the short course on Polyester Plate Lithography with Alexis Brown at Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven. This technique will take some practice to master it. I like the results that can be achieved, and there are quite a few, most of which I did not try. As I have stated previously, the use of oil based printing inks is a draw back for me. I really appreciate the ease in which water mixable oils allow for clean up with soap and water.

Here is a look at what I did last night. Will add photos from previous weeks in another post.

  This was created with two polyester plates. The bottom layer is the trace monotype of Monarda printed on ZAcryl polyester plate and inked with graphite etching ink.  On top is the original drawing of the Monarda printed on a Pronto polyester plate and printed with rose madder etching ink mixed with graphite. If I printed on white paper I think the graphite ink would be more visible. I like the look of the rose madder on the beige paper, however.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Before Photos in New Haven Register Building

Here are the "before" photos of the area where I will be exhibiting in the New Haven Register newspaper production building:

I've got the two cement walls and floor space out to the poles.

 Here's the plan:
1. wash the cement block walls, garage door and door to equipment room.
2. test the "damage-free" adhesive backed velcro strips made for hanging picture frames as well as printing labels to make sure they stick to the walls. If so, proceed with hanging framed pieces. If not, Bob will install masonry screws.
3. hang unframed prints with binder clips on cord or wire suspended below the vents on the garage door.
4. set up tables
5. install newspaper vending machine and use it to display my handmade papers
6. decorate poles with vining bittersweet if time allows.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Preview of my Space at the New Haven Register Newspaper Production Building

I got to preview my exhibition space at the former New Haven Register newspaper production building tonight. What a great space! Both for where I am situated and the building in general! There will be over 100 artists exhibiting there the weekend of October 20&21. I am so looking forward to setting up, meeting the artists I will be exhibiting next to and meeting all the people who will come out that weekend to meet the artists. Before and after photos will be posted within the next few days.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Turning One of A Kind into a Printable Plate

Monarda Trace Monotype
Making a trace monotype creates a lovely effect and is somewhat time consuming to do, as in this example of a drawing of Monarda. Part of a project I worked on last summer (see link here), this piece shown was created as follows. I made a sketch of red monarda that grows in my front garden. I rolled red ink onto a plexiglass palette, placed a piece of my handmade gampi paper on top, put a piece of blank copy paper on top of that, then the drawing. I traced over the drawing which put pressure onto the paper below which made contact with the ink.

Not only does this yield a color copy of the drawing on the paper of my choice, it provides a softer version of the line drawing. The light, unintentional pressure of my hand as it rested on the sheet as well as the texture of the gampi paper adds something that the original drawing lacks.

I am taking a class exploring Pronto Plate printmaking. I am working with both Pronto Plates and Z Acryl D2P Ployester Plates.  I will have this monotype copied onto the plate in black and white and will have it as a permanent plate to use again and again.

The only thing I don't like about lithography - stone, paper or polyester plate - is that oil based inks are required. I do not like to use mineral spirits for clean up, so use vegetable oil but this process is time consuming. When I create monotypes, monoprints, lino cuts, gelatin prints, etc., I am able to use water mixable inks and paints that clean up with soap and water in very little time. If you know of a litho process in which water soluble inks or paints may be used, please share that information with me!
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