Archives for category: General

My nephews were visiting over the holiday, and we spent the afternoon in my art studio.

Step 1: Pictures were drawn, to the size of the block. Then traced onto tracing paper for transfer to the block.

Step 2: Carving the block. No nephews were harmed in the making of these prints!

Step 3: Ink up the block and run through the press.

Z used a paper “mask” to cover the background while he inked the house in black:

N used different brayers to ink up different parts of the block without a mask:

This is my new Econo Etch Model II press.

One of the final prints, a three color Eiffel Tower:

Sometimes I find myself in the position of explaining what printmaking is to someone who’s never heard of it – this is actually fun!

A super basic definition of “printmaking” is something like this: the art of creating an image (through carving or impression or other) on a firm block (such as wood, linoleum, or rubber), applying ink to the block, and then transferring that ink to paper to make a print of the image.

For the block material, I use either MDF (medium density fiberboard – it’s like wood, but much cheaper – but also less durable), wood, or rubber (sometimes called “speedycut”).

First, I draw an image, or I’ll alter a photo that I’ve taken. Lately, I have been doing pieces that are simple and small, so that I can focus less on drawing and more on carving and choosing layers to print.

Then I transfer the image to the board I’m going to cut. Sometime I have to think about whether I’m going to use two colors, and transfer one part of the image to one board, and the other part of the image to a different board.

For this print, I drew a Yucca plant seed pod that I picked from a trail near our house.

To carve the board, I use special carving tools. I recently got this cool set from Flexcut! The tool handle tucks right into my palm, so it’s easy to hold and control. Each tool provides different line thickness.

I carved the first block and printed it.

Then I decided that I could add another color to this image (usually you figure this out first!), so I found another block that would fit and carved out the background color. The block on the right is the background color – ink will only appear where the white spots are in the image above.

It takes a bit of mental calculation to make sure you carve out the right spots on each block. And you’re looking at the image in reverse!

Final outcome – small and fun to do!

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Swimmers are supposed to look down, so that you aren’t straining your neck when you’re swimming all those laps in practice, but as you approach the end of the pool, you look up for visual cues indicating the end of the pool and where to place your feet against the wall as you explode into the next lap after the flip turn.

This is my first two color print. I printed the blue with the bubbles first, then I printed the lane line and markers on the pool wall. And, I like power tools. I created the bubbles in the water with a power drill.

[Note: I have a backlog of posts that I didn’t publish – I’m backdating the post to around the time that I worked on the print. Current date: 9-2015]

Cool happenings in 2010 (sabbatical + studio = creativity integration project & art coming back to life) provide fertile ground for artistic resolutions in 2011! Here they are:

  • Finish several large “hand” pieces, keep dialing in technique
  • Get imaginative with layering: layering ideas, layering papers & prints, layering technique & materials
  • Practice art+thought+technology: this blog, and twitter @talismanplace, @boulderart (given to me by Lindsey Cash)
  • Education: taking a screen printing class this spring, spurs new techniques, learning the field of printmaking

What are your creative resolutions…?

If you don’t feel like you have a concrete imaginative aspiration, one resolution could be to pick a creative “muse”. Who inspires you? What do you remember about creativity (art/design/architecture/music/etc) in your childhood? What are your passions? Pick one person/piece/event that stands out to you, and look more closely. Read about it, hang up a picture, get curious…

Happy New Year!!!

Organic intensity – Energy – and motion made visible – memories arrested in space – human needs and motives – acceptance.”  –Jackson Pollack, found written on the back of a photo of himself.

Well, after a year of hemming and hawing about how to get started blogging, I finally figured it out. Since being “on sabbatical” this summer and following my intuition on how to spend my time, I found that I’ve been drawn strongly to my creative side. I have been integrating “artistic” and “creative” into my “real life” and I think I can share that experience clearly with others.

Part 1 – Outer – There are so many amazing creative resources out there, and I’d like to compile and share them. Just a small sample: Rebekah West is just finishing up a 100 post blog from Australia called “Everyday Solutions to Creative Obstacles”; Theresa Haberkorn, a printmaker in Boulder who is doing amazing work, has a printmaking blog; there is a great column on the NY Times on drawing for the next 12 weeks; to name a few…

Part 2 – Inner – I’m exploring my own artwork, finally. I took enough classes in undergrad to practically equal an art minor, although it’s not official. I continued writing along the years, and I’ve been part of a writing group for over 10 years now, but I haven’t continued my drawing or other fine art practices until recently. Then I took an amazing class from Robert Spellman in 2007 called “The Contemplative Artist: Meditation and Studio Practice”. That course changed my life and brought creativity flowing back to me.

Now, the intersection – I’m going to work on integrating Art and Life – the outcome? Unknown!