Posts Tagged ‘block printing’

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!

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 –


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?

what to do with a styrofoam plate

October 5, 2012

I think I love doing children’s crafts about as much as anything I do and tomorrow, I will be showing the children at my church how to “engrave” styrofoam plates and make art prints.  We (3/4’s of my family) played last night and I wanted to show you our images.

Suzannah’s Tom Sawyer
Ken’s HorseTheir first styrofoam printing session ever.  Well, not for Suzannah, she did it at art camp when she was about 9 but she doesn’t remember.  I still have her prints, though.

And my images…

My first (just drawing on the styrofoam to see what I could do.  Never ever did I tell you that I was the best “artist” in the house.  Now you know.)Second one of a whale.  I added the black onto the print after I printed it. 
The same whale.  This time I printed a solid black on the paper and then, while the black was still wet, printed the orange whale plate on top.  I think this turned out cool but when I tried it again, it wasn’t any good at all.

And the last one I did.  This time I cut away large areas of the foam where I wanted it to be white. The other 1/4 of the family has yet to do one.  If he does, I will show it also.  He is quite a good artist.

If you want to do this, take a plate of styrofoam and draw with a pencil onto it.  Using a brayer,  roll ink all over the plate (you might could paint it on).  Make sure there is plenty of ink on the plate.  Lay a piece of paper onto the plate and press hard.  The ink is sticky enough to hold onto the paper so it should not slip, but take care anyway.  Use your hands, a printmaking barren or the back side of a wooden spoon and rub hard, harder than you think it should be.  Lift a corner of the paper and see if you have a lot of ink on the print or if you need to rub harder.  You can make maybe three prints from one plate.  That hard rubbing wears out the styrofoam quickly.  Try it, this is serious fun!

red fish, blue fish

September 27, 2012

My daughter loved Dr. Suess when she was tiny.  I read the Cat in the Hat by memory to her and if I would purposefully try to skip a page or two after the 1,000th reading (did you ever do that when reading to a child?), she would make me stop and go back.  What I wouldn’t give to “go back” and experience reading Dr. Suess to her again.

Here are a red fish, blue fish and black fish.  I carved an easy cut lino block the other night and printed these.   “Carve” is an overstatement, this block cut like butter!


back to basics

August 19, 2012

Used crayons this evening just to have something to do with my hands.  This was done like the old fashion scratch art we did as kids, cover your whole crayoned drawing with black crayon and scratch it off.  Then burnish the wax in the crayon until it is very shiny.  I like the technique…looks like a block print.  Sort of.

Can you believe I was able to place -ed on the word “crayon” and spell-check overlooked it???  Think I could use it in Scrabble?

evening painting

April 17, 2012

Watercolors create fast portraits.  I did this one this evening.

Compare that to linoleum block reduction printing.  I worked on a little (4″x5″) block based on a drawing of some of my little felted birds.  I used 4 colors of ink, plus the white paper.  It has taken me hours to come up with 12 relatively decent prints.  This is my favorite, I like the offsetting of the ink colors.  But overall, I was disappointed with them.  I wanted a whimsical feel, what I got was too simplistic.

Maybe I should stick to watercolor for a while.

Carving blocks is so much fun though, and I did just get this fabulous book, The Printmaking Bible, for my birthday…  Guess I will try it again.

standing tall

February 26, 2012

Catching up on blogs tonight, I read several stating that “it felt like springtime…”  It’s still a bit cold for my tastes, but it is almost March and the beginning of March is the beginning of spring to me!  Even if I still have to wear a winter coat.

With spring comes bunnies.  I had an idea to do 3 block prints of rabbits just in time for Easter.  Here is my first.

Here it is watercolored (on the worst print of the bunch, it was trial and error and I didn’t want to use my best print!).  Not sure which I like better.  I left a lot of open space to fill with color but I wonder if I should just leave them inked only.  What do you think?

The image size of this rabbit is 5.5″x8.25″

I need to do the other two quickly before the desire to carve lino blocks passes…

bird blocks

October 2, 2011

I’ve spent the week in other-than-artistic endeavors so I’ve tried to ease back into art making by carving linoleum block birds.  These didn’t really feed my muse, but here they are just the same.

Carving blocks is so much fun while you are carving.  My problem is what to do with them once they are carved.  I have a great stack of papers with printed images on them!

Sorry the green paper turned out to be so vibrant.  The original is a pretty Amy Butler paper that isn’t quite so glaring…


June 8, 2010

Last week is past and was filled.  Time begins again this week (isn’t it nice that we are able to start fresh each morning?).  My husband and I passed (I don’t say celebrate because there wasn’t much celebration done) our 26th anniversary last week, the day after the family beagle, Rosie, died.  We had 14 + years with her and although that felt more like 30 (I am not really a dog person), I miss her and still tear up when I realize I don’t have to be quiet so as not to awaken her up and have to take her out.  Told you I am not really a dog person and taking care of her had become a trial.  She had Cushings disease for the last couple of years.  She was really my son Taylor’s dog, a gift from the pound for his 7th birthday .   For the most part, Rosie was a great little dog.

After that sad interlude, we headed to the beach.  Took the watercolours but did absolutely nothing related to art other than observe (which is probably the most crucial part of art).   But we are back now, somewhat ready to start a new week.

Here is a watercoloured block print I did of Rosie a few years ago when she was  a chubby little thing!

I would like to say how grateful I am to Rosie’s  vet,  Dr. Richard Best, in Marietta, Ga.  He was recommended to us years ago by my dear friend Leisa Bailey.  He had been her neighbor way back when she and I were teens.  I doubt there is a more compassionate soul than Dr. Best, he went  thru the painful process of putting her to sleep, assuring us it was the right thing to do at the right time (she was vomiting blood with congestive heart failure and her kidneys were shutting down) and then he didn’t even charge us anything.  He was truly a blessing.

what does an old rooster and a daughter have in common? they are both chicks!

February 9, 2010

So I can’t write comedy but I try.

My day did not start as I had expected.  I expected to get up this morning, drink coffee in leisure, do a little pick up in the very, very disarranged studio and then paint.  I actually got up, poured my coffee and took my daughter to the doctor.  Her temperature was 103.9!  A 24 year old with a high fever is no less scary than a 4 year old with one.  She now has antibiotics in her system and hopefully will make a remarkable recovery.

Now, on to painting.  Over the last few days I have ruined no less than 4 canvases doing very uninspired work in spite of creating notans for composition and assurance of a “successful painting”.  Maybe my 5th canvas will be the charm.  I have an idea….

Thought I might share a chicken with you today.  Soup form for Suzannah, block print for you.  This was printed in black ink and then watercoloured.  Artist Kathleen West does remarkable graphic block printing with watercolour.  Her control in carving is remarkable.  Very inspiring and sometimes amusingly poetic.  Look for Mary’s Lamb for a better laugh than above.