For 9 days every August, the League of NH Craftsmen holds their annual fair in Sunapee. We got an early start, and were at the gates for the 10am opening. It was a beautiful day to be outside, and we had a great time wandering through the tents.
I've been working on the "Shells" print this week, and you'll see the progress since I last posted.
The weather was so pleasant, that I was able to do some of the carving out on the porch. Wiley and I enjoy watching the birds (and squirrels) in the yard while I'm working.
In the images above, I've already printed the first color previously, and carved out the areas that will remain that first color (light gray). I'm also carving out the texture of the background.
In the image below, here is the layer of darker gray after it has been printed over the first layer.
I've had to do a lot of carving to get the block ready for the next color.
Below are a few variations of the print with the blue-gray layer.
The ink color shows up better in this photo.
I could be done at this stage, but I think I may do another layer. I will have to wait and see how the ink dries. All the various layers of ink, affect the final color. The real trick of making a successful reduction print, is the perfect alignment of the printing paper each time you add a layer. The pins and tabs, as well as a sturdy base to hold the block in place are the keys to matching up the image every time.
I've been working on an idea for a new reductive block print. I love the ocean, and the native shells that wash up on the beaches. I want to use a limited palette of colors as well, so I worked up a composition that incorporates mussels, small clam shells, and a heart-shaped rock.
This is the drawing that I created on a sheet of tracing paper. I used the tracing paper for the pencil drawing, so that I could easily transfer the image onto the block by flipping it over, and rubbing the back with a spoon. The size of the drawing and the block is 6"x 18".
After transferring the image to the "soft-cut" block, I outlined the shells with a permanent marker. so that the drawing won't rub off during the printing process. The image on the block is reversed from the original drawing, so that it will look like the original after it is printed.
I plan on using the natural colors of the shells---brown, gray, blue, and cream. The paper is Rives Lightweight white (more like an off-white), and the ink is Akua intaglio. The ink works very well for relief printing, and can be cleaned with Dawn detergent and water. I've placed the block in its template, taped down the "pins" for registration, and taped the "tabs" onto each sheet of the printing paper. There will be 12 prints made from the block using this technique.
I've been finding some fun things to do now that school is out for the summer. A quick trip to Maine, and a day on the beach with a friend, inspired me to paint on some flat rocks that I collected there.
Here's the beach, and a massive piece of driftwood, bigger than myself.
Mermaids have been one of my themes this year, so I tried to fit my drawings onto the shapes of the rocks.
When I'm done, I'll put a coat of varnish on them.
After a recent rainstorm, I took some pictures of my back yard. The colors of the clearing sky and the misty atmosphere made everything look very lush.
I've been having too much fun to work on a new block print, but hopefully in my next post I'll have something new to show.
The school year is ending, and I'm looking forward to summer break! We've been having such lovely weather the last couple weeks, and I'm ready to get out there and enjoy it! Wiley seems to like it too.
It's nice to see flowers blooming in the yard, and house wrens in the birdhouse. The parent wrens are swooping in and out of the birdhouse, and you can hear the little nestlings chirping to be fed.
The irises have been adding a pop of color here and there, and the day lilies are starting to open.
My daughter took a picture of the sunset from one of the tall buildings in Manchester, and if you look very closely, the new moon is just coming out. The sky and the horizon make for a stunning contrast of complementary colors (the art teacher in me).
I've been very lax about posting on this blog, so hope to get back into it now that school is almost out. I'll be working on some new block prints, and will share my progress. Bye for now!
It took a while for Spring to arrive, but it's finally here, and we are enjoying all the gorgeous blooming trees and shrubs. New Hampshire's state flower is the Purple Lilac, and they come in all variations of purples. I took this picture while walking around town the other day.
Everything seems to be blooming at once, and our ornamental Cherry tree had a bounty of flowers on it this year.
Also the Azaleas
Last weekend, my group of fellow printmakers hung work at the Massabesic Audubon Center. We did another event two weeks ago in Brookline NH, which got us excited about showing our work. The new show will be up until June 23. It's a great place to visit for hiking and birdwatching---they even have a live video cam of the peregrine falcon nest in Manchester. While I was there, we saw one of the parents feeding the three babies. The parent had brought what looked like a small bird back to the nest, and ripped it apart, then stuffed bits down the eager babies' gullets. A little gruesome, but fascinating to watch.
My pieces in the show.
Tried to get this little sketch done in time for last week's Illustration Friday post "hairy" but didn't make it, so will post it here. Looking forward to a day at the beach, but not on a windy day like this!
I had been working on the "Mad River, Waterville Valley, NH" print for a few months, and I finally finished it. I'm happy with it now, but I wasn't feeling sure that it would come out the way I wanted. I started with some intense colors in the first layers, which I liked, but I had to make some color decisions in the middle that deviated from the actual tones in my reference photos. I got some feedback from others in my printmaking class, and I'm satisfied with the final color scheme.
Setting up for the final layer
Registering the paper
Leaving them to dry
This weekend the printmaking class is showing our work at a venue in Brookline NH!
Yay it's April! Must be Spring! Too bad there's a chance of snow this week, and nothing above 50 degrees in the near future. Of course I shouldn't be surprised as this happens every year. We get excited about warmer weather, and then disappointed when the cold weather hangs on longer than anyone wants. Tomorrow is Opening Day at Fenway Park in Boston, and our beloved Red Sox will be playing on a windy, sunny day with temperatures in the 40's. Go Sox!!
I have been working on a different mermaid print. For this print, I painted a black background with acrylic paint, inked up the plate with Speedball ink, and printed it over the black base. I added a variety of colors using Prismacolor colored pencils over the ink.
It's considered a monotype as each print will be a little different. I like experimenting with different techniques and color schemes.
A simple little Easter card
My faithful companion who likes to hang out on my desk while I'm working on projects.
I've been working on a Mermaid print for a while, and the final layer of ink has been printed. I did an edition of twelve full-color images, a few variations, and a black and white series, upon which I will be adding watercolor paints. Below is the finished full-color version.
Mermaid Dreams (6" x 14")
I also played around this past week with some monoprints. I had a week off from school for February Vacation, that allowed me to experiment with some different ideas and materials.
The lighting is not the best but you can see the Gelli plate in the center, and a few variations, as well as some stencils that I cut out to make designs. I used Golden Open brand acrylic paints as they are made to be slow drying, and usable for monoprinting.
Here is one variation created with the Golden Open paints. I'm not entirely pleased with any of these prints, but they are fun to work with. This experiment led me to try making individual printing strips that I carved to look like birch trees. Below are the tree trunks made from soft-cut blocks. They are easily cut apart with an X-acto knife. I used black Akua ink for this print.
I used a light weight rice paper and a wooden spoon to print my design.
3 Birches (7" x 12")
I like the graphic look of the print, but I plan on doing more experimenting with the image.
It is March, and the yard is almost free of snow. The blue jays, cardinals, titmice, gold finches, sparrows, crows, nuthatches, and woodpeckers are enjoying the seeds we have been putting out all winter. Of course the squirrels are finding their fair share. The days are lighter longer, but it is still technically winter, and there will probably be a few more snowstorms before it gives up!
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.