faces 15 and 16

July 20, 2013

I have some drawings to share with you!  Can’t believe I have found the time to draw, but each night this week I have sat with a new grey sketchbook in my lap and 3 colored pencils, white, terracotta (hence the sunburn look on the screen, they don’t appear so red in person) and dark brown.  Here are the last two drawings (and the best, I needed a lot of warm up!)  These faces are old photographs of actresses that I found on the New York Digital Library.  I love looking through those old photos.  And it’s amazing, when you crop out the hair and clothes, they look totally current!

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April 26, 2013

Dear Blog,

Remember me?  It has been a while, hasn’t it!??  I was able to take a day away from architecture to play today and after being treated to breakfast by a dear friend, I dusted off that tiny press and practiced my printmaking.  The best I’ve done (I think) so far…

little bird

Hope to write again soon!!!  🙂

adventures in dry point

March 16, 2013

If you have read my blog recently, you will have read that when my husband gave to me a Utrecht baby etching press for St. Valentine’s Day, my printing adventures began (although until today, I haven’t been sharing my failures with you).  I have been trying to teach myself how to use this little press for its intended purpose, etching.  Dry point etching to be precise.

I bought some plastic etching plates and an engraving tool today after trying unsuccessfully  to use acetate and the pointy end of an old compass leftover from my hand drafting days.   The plate was rather easy to etch into .  Or engrave.  (I saw one comment on a site that said etching needs chemicals and he/she was not very nice in how they corrected the site’s author.  Please, be nice if you leave a comment.  My feelings hurt easily.)    I etched/engraved Mark Twain and was very pleased when my son said “it’s Mark Twain.”  But etching/engraving is easy, printing is hard.

Here is the first attempt…

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I think the paper was too dry.

Here is the second print…

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the ghost of Mark Twain, I wiped off too much ink.

Third try…

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I left too much ink and was not careful with my handling of the paper, but I did like some of the line work.

I thought this next try would be perfect, but…

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I realize I have a long way to go to perfection.

This one was done after I watched an artist online use his hand to wipe off the plate.

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I liked the background but I was not very adept at controlling how much ink was left behind.  And my hand got really black with ink.  But this one gave me enough confidence to think I would be able to pull a good print after my next try.

And here is where I stopped.   For today.

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With another 100 tries, I may have something I am proud of.

What have I learned?  That printmaking is hard.  That washing ink off your hands about 30 times really dries out your skin.  That a sink in my studio would be really nice.  And that I need a more knowledgeable instructor than myself!

memories

February 26, 2013

I spent the evening reading old journal entries.  I couldn’t keep a journal until I decided I would write it for one special person, my future (maybe?) great grandchild.  That made it easy to think of what to write.  I wrote things that I wish I knew about my great grandparents.  My aunt recently told me that she wrote her memories of her children and grandchildren and gave them as birthday gifts this past year.  How clever of her to think of such a wonderful gift!  I am always surprised that my kids don’t remember things from their early days, or when their memory is flavored with the telling and retelling of stories.  But isn’t that the way it is for all of us.

My mother talked a lot of memories during her last months.  She didn’t share memories (she shared plenty over the years), rather she talked of  what memories were, of how our perspective of an event so totally affects a memory.   My memory of an event from childhood may be very different than my sister’s memory of the same event.  But both of them are true, who is to say your memory is wrong?

The other writing I do is note taking while listening to sermons in church.  Those notes include lots of doodling.  Sometimes a sermon inspires very visual notes, other times not so much.  I am not sure what inspired this fish!  Can’t remember from the notes!

sermon-notes---Jan

Here is another watercolor portrait I worked on last weekend.  Added some finishing touches tonight, mainly to keep me up past 9 pm!

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This is on aquabord, 8″x8″.

first prints from my baby press

February 22, 2013

 

I haven’t had the time to carve any new linoleum blocks but I so wanted to play with my new Utrecht Baby Press, so I used very old blocks and tried printing.  Theses were the best of the bunch.  I like the bird printed on watercolor testing scraps, a leftover from architectural rendering and trying to find an ideal paint color for siding on a house.  See, there is a reason I save scrap paper!  Who can tell me who the gentleman is?  Anyone?  (I hope so, means my portraiture skills need improving if you cannot tell that is Wm. Shakespeare!)first-printing-with-baby-prI think the press does a pretty good job of making contact with the paper.  I also played with “engraving.”  I drew on aluminum foil in preparation for my children’s Bible study class and then rubbed ink on the engraved side and ran it through the press.  It actually made an image!  I am going to buy some heavy duty foil and try it again!

For 2013, those same Bible study kids made a block printed calendar from drawing on styrofoam plates.  Here are three randomly selected months.  They are all wonderful and I love seeing the calendar hanging in my kitchen!February-2013 May-2013 July2013

Wondering why 27 is not showing up in July???  Hope I fixed that on the final printing!

Woman #14

February 16, 2013

Last Saturday was spent in bed with a bout of stomach flu and fever.  My pour husband.  Today was so much better.  I received a wonderful  Utrecht Baby Press for St. Valentine’s Day (he really loves me!).  I cannot wear it around my neck or on my finger but it is so much more fun to play with than jewelry!  I pulled out old cut lino blocks and ran a few prints to see how it works.  It is a little persnickety but if you run the plate though with care, it will give you an even, good quality print and is a whole lot quicker and easier than using the back of a spoon!  But I am not an expert yet and did get a little frustrated, so after a while I put it away and pulled out my watercolors.  It has been a while since I had the whole day to just play with art supplies!  Here is my watercolor.

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Woman #14  8″x8″

I hope your day has been as fun as mine.

Super Bowl Sunday

February 3, 2013

It is Sunday and they happen to be playing something called the Super Bowl and I was able to spend the day in the studio.  This is the result – a super bowl chicken.  It is pastel and larger than a sheet of print paper, I am proud to say.  I have only been doing small things lately and I want to paint/draw/create larger, but just haven’t convinced myself to do anything that will take longer than a couple of hours.  Well, this didn’t take much longer than that and it was super fun pulling out pastels.  These were my mother’s pastels (mine are buried under hers) and hers were, I am sure, organized the way she liked them.  I just used what was on top.  And that was mostly Sennielier.  Oh, the pleasure of using Sennelier soft pastels…  What an inheritance!

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wrens

January 28, 2013

Watercolor sketching wrens.  I love seeing them at the bird-feeder. These guys need a background but I doubt they will get one.  Think I will make at least one into a card.Image

interview-ee

January 21, 2013

I am very honored to be interviewed over at Mr. X Stitch – Gear Threads Blog today! It is a blog on contemporary embroidery and Gear Threads focuses on machine embroidery.  First time I have ever been interviewed!  Well, I think one of the kids interviewed me in grade school once.  Hop over there and take a look.  I am so proud!

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reduction print redo

January 20, 2013

I am lucky to have some friends who like to get together to try various art projects for fun.  Yesterday we played with reduction printing.  I think being a printmaker would be the most wonderful occupation (along with being a weaver or potter).  I do not have a press nor do I have room for one but it doesn’t mean I don’t really really want one.  I want it to go beside my dreamt-about-frequently-but-not-yet-purchased-loom in the dreamt-about-frequently-and-totally-organized-studio.  (I haven’t even broached the idea of a kiln.  Yet.)  We had to use a spoon to print our masterpieces.  To be honest, mine didn’t turn out to be a masterpiece but I kept on going after the ladies left and, using Ludwig Hohlwein’s roses as inspiration, I did this –

rose-prints

I was pleased enough with this to share with you.

You may not know much about Ludwig Hohlwein, I didn’t until I saw and bought the poster with the roses that inspired these. (Really, I’ve copied  the stylized roses, just not the arrangement.  I can’t find a good picture on the internet to link you to the originals)  Hohlwein lived in Germany in the early 20th century and was an established graphic artist by the time the Nazi party took control of Germany.  He joined the Nazi party at some point and even did some art work for them.  (I read he was offered the opportunity to leave Germany in the early 30’s but chose to stay.) This knowledge created conflict in me, should I enjoy the art of someone who had such poor judgement (hopefully that rather than just being an evil man)?  I still have the poster hanging and I still like the episode of Bugs Bunny that plays Richard Wagner’s opera despite the controversy of Wagner’s racism.  The past is flawed as is the present and I am sure the future will be, also.  I recently read In the Garden of Beasts about the American Ambassador and his family at the beginning of Hitler’s regime.  It was a fascinating book.  Hitler’s control crept up on the German people at that time.  If just a few had had the courage to speak up… I feel another book about this time in Germany is a must-read book,  Stones from the River.  Most excellent book.  I think the world would be a better place if everyone read this book.

Goodness, I’ve expounded a bit tonight, haven’ t I?