On Saturday, I did a little experimenting with my Gelli plates, and Golden Acrylics. I made a stencil of three crows, and used both the positive and negative parts of the stencil for a variety of arrangements.
The Gelli plate is clear, flexible, and has the feel of a solid sheet of gelatin. The Golden Acrylics are slow-drying, and recommended for making these monoprints. The paint is rolled onto the plate with a brayer. Stencils and other flat objects can be laid onto the plate to block off certain areas. Here are a couple of prints that I made.
I added the birds' legs and the wire after.
It's going to be a busy week ahead, with five days of work, and some Christmas loose ends to wrap up. We had a snow storm yesterday with about 6 inches of snow, but today it was rainy and mild. The temperatures have been up and down recently with frigid lows below zero, then back into the 40's. I don't know why I'm surprised--this is New England!
Last weekend, I took a 2-day workshop at the NH Institute of Art on White Line Printmaking. Our instructor showed us a book on the prints of Blanche Lazell for inspiration. She was well-known for her work using this technique.
An example of Blanche Lazell's work
We started off carving small blocks for practice (mine was 3" x 4"). I drew an image of double barn that my husband had photographed many years ago in northern Maine. To cut the lines, you need to make a v-shaped groove using a sharp woodcutting knife or a utility knife. You can also use a small
v-shaped wood carving tool. It's not an easy process as you have to deal with the wood grain. I found straight lines were a lot easier than curved ones. The blocks we used are called Shina Plywood, from McClain's Printmaking Supplies.
Here is the big block (8" x 10")
To make a print, the paper is attached to the block with tape so the registration will be accurate each time one adds a new color. We used watercolor paints, and for the big one, I used Rives Lightweight paper. Each color is painted on the block, then the paper is flipped over and rubbed on the back with a spoon or one's hands.
Each print is a monoprint when using this technique. I enjoyed learning about this process, and would like to experiment with other materials. You can do very simple one's with styrofoam sheets, and a pencil to push down the lines.
As usual, Wiley is hanging out while I'm trying to get work done!
The colors of fall have been beautiful this year! I wondered how the summer drought would affect the foliage, but it seems as if the variety and intensity of the hues were not affected in any negative way. While enjoying time outdoors, I've been taking pictures of the leaves and other plants that have been catching my eye. (photos were taken on my iPhone 6)
Started creating a new illustration last night for Illustration Friday's prompt "ice". I'm posting the sketch before I add any color.
I'm not looking forward ice and snow! Last night we had the first frost of the season. Fortunately, the day turned out beautiful, and I was able to get out for a walk with a friend after work. The foliage is almost at peak, and even after a drought this summer, the colors are still brilliant.
Our area is in the middle of an extreme drought. There's been very little rain this year, on top of very little snow last winter. We had 2+ inches over the past weekend, but need more consistent days of drenching rain to make a dent.
Settling into my 'back to school" routine after summer vacation. It took a a week or so to readjust to the early morning alarm, and having to put together an outfit that didn't include shorts or yoga pants. The other challenge is having to talk all day long again!
This is the finished reduction block print that I've been working on. I posted the earlier steps in the last post to show the process. The final layer of darker brown/black brings it all together!
Summer vacation is swiftly coming to a close, as I'm back to work next week. It has been a great couple of months, with trips to Virginia, Washington DC, and Maine in the mix. I always miss the flexibility of free days to work on my own art, but the structure of another school year is inevitable, and makes summer such a treat! One more day at the beach this weekend, and I'll be ready (I think).
Looking forward to a special birthday dinner with my dad and other family members! I feel so fortunate to have great parents who have always been supportive and a big part of my life!
I had an enjoyable day at the "Uncommon Art on the Common" event this past weekend. I don't do a lot of fairs, but this one is in town, and I like supporting Art Team who put this whole thing together. We have been having very hot and humid weather this summer, as well as a drought from lack of rain. Of course there was a little rain while we were setting up, and threats of thunderstorms, but we lucked out and managed to have a storm-free afternoon. I sold some of my work, and explained the process of reduction block printing to anyone who would listen!
I didn't have these "buoy" prints at the show, as I am still working on them. For this design, I am working with three small blocks at a time. I've been experimenting with different color combinations for the backgrounds and the buoys themselves. I also printed a few on black paper which produces a different texture and more contrast in the white.
Some rain is falling now, which is great for the plants and lawn, but the heat wave is coming back for the next four or five days, so will enjoy the cooler weather today!
I had fun drawing this operatic mouse for the week's Illustration Friday's prompt. I believe she is called Brunnehilde from the Wagner opera, the Ring Cycle. Even if one doesn't know much about the opera's story line, the image is pretty familiar, except my mouse may be a little too skinny for the role.
I'm getting ready for the "Uncommon Art on the Common" event this Saturday in Goffstown. I've been matting and packaging a lot of prints, trying to pull it all together, and hoping the weather will cooperate! I'll be setting up my booth on the main common this year, and plan to demonstrate some printmaking techniques.
Here is my Illustration Friday idea for this week's prompt, "stomach." I remember that I was advised many years ago, to give my babies "stomach time" so they could strengthen their arms and neck muscles. I think we could all use a little of that, especially in the summer!
Along with a bit of relaxation, I'm getting ready for the "Uncommon Art on the Common" Art Event on August 6th in Goffstown. I'm busy matting and packaging my work in preparation for the show.
It's always a fun event, with a wide variety of different artists and media. Pop on over if you are in the area!
It has been a busy early half of the summer, and I'm finally home from my travels with the sorority girls. Thirty-five+ years, and we are still having fun!
A couple of sights from the Marginal Way in Ogunquit Maine
I also finished a block print of my cat "Wiley," right before I went away for my beach vacation.
The plate with all the white areas carved away
First layer of gray
Poor Wiley is laying low today, as it's very hot and humid here! It has been a glorious summer so far, but we really do need more rain! There is a prediction for a few thunder showers tonight but the 10 day forecast shows little chance of rain through next weekend. I don't like air conditioning, but I may
have to break down and put the unit in our bedroom.
I've been enjoying another sunny summer week, with a day at a lake, and a day at the ocean. The lake's water temperature was fine for swimming, but I only managed to go up to my knees in the ocean. It was still very cold! Usually by the end of August the ocean water is finally warm enough for some extended swimming time. Lots of kids didn't seem to mind, and were having fun riding the waves on their "boogie boards," while paddle boarders and surf boarders (in wet suits) were also taking advantage of the fine conditions.
Last Friday I flew to Baltimore with several friends, then met up with two more near DC, to attend a wedding of another friend's daughter in Roanoke, Virginia. The ride from the DC area to our destination was about four hours, and we had a great time catching up on all the news and drama of our lives.
The wedding itself was at a mountain top facility. We were chaufeured there in several school busses on a steep, winding dirt road that made for a hair-raising adventure. I was thankful the transmission held up, and hoped the brakes would also, for the ride down. The weather was perfect and the wedding was lovely.
The view from the venue.
Thirty-four years since college and we're still hanging out together!
Before heading back home, we managed a bonus day sightseeing in Washington DC. I hadn't been there in a long time, so it was a pleasure to visit the monuments and museums.
World War II Memorial
We also visited the Museum of American History, the National Gallery of Art, and had lunch at the restaurant on the top of the Hotel Washington. The White House can be seen clearly from the restaurant. We didn't see any famous politicians during lunch, so hopefully they are doing something useful (or are on vacation)!
This was a great exhibition!
Andy Warhol "Marilyn" silkscreen
George Bellows "A Stag At Sharkey's" 1917, lithograph
Martin Lewis, "Stoops in Snow" 1930 dry point etching
I am an art teacher who loves to draw and paint, as well as illustrate for children. I also enjoy printmaking---especially block prints. Whatever I do as an artist, I have to remind myself---no pressure---it all starts by just putting pencil to paper.