Archives for posts with tag: MDF

Ok, it’s been a warm and glorious summer, and I haven’t exactly been wanting to hang out on the computer – probably since I spend most of my day at work on one. So, no blog posts lately, but lots going on and several things to share.

Here’s a project I’ve been working on, more with hands – right back where I started at the beginning of this blog one year ago. I shot some photos of my hands and the hands of my family members. I’m working on a series that will incorporate various angles and looks into each of us through what we use to touch and sense the world.

Here’s a carving of one of them. I’m still using MDF. I love how cheap it is for the size, and it works well for what I’m after – in a way, it has some grainy-ness that’s reminiscent of woodcut, but it’s much easier to work with.

Here is the first one, inked up and ready to print. I use Akua Intaglio ink, which is washable with water and theoretically less toxic. The size is about 16″ x 21″.

And here’s the first proof, on some bleached mulberry paper. Interestingly, I bought it a store called Kozo – and kozo means “mulberry”. You learn something new every day.

The one year anniversary of my blog makes me wonder about the effect that working on my art has had on my life. What am I learning through this process? How to accept imperfections and make them into, if not strengths, at least into admitted parts of my life. I’m definitely making progress on some of my visions too, although it feels unclear because my big challenge remains finishing a work, or more specifically a series.

Oh art gods – I most humbly retract any moments when I said or even thought to myself, “I can do that…” when looking at someone else’s work. As an artist, I totally know better, but it has slipped through on occasion. Hmmm, doing it is a lot harder than thinking about doing it!

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My most recent “inner” post was about a new large-format carving I did on MDF. Here’s what happened next:

Carving into MDF isn’t that hard – it cuts smoothly and cleanly. Before printing with it, I suspected I should treat it with something, because it’s porous, like wood (really more like cardboard). I learned from Theresa Haberkorn that the typical treatment for woodcut blocks is Polycrylic protective finish. Since my studio isn’t ventilated, I took the board outside and applied two thin coats with a paintbrush, letting the first one dry for several hours. The board turns shiny, as I expected, as if I had coated a piece of furniture with a finish.

Then I jumped right in with my first print! First, I mixed up and rolled out a bright yellow from Speedball ink:

Then I rolled it onto the MDF block, just around and inside of the hand – I’m thinking that I’ll cut out this large hand, so I don’t need to ink the whole board:

I used a hand-held baron to print the hand onto two pieces of newsprint (taped together – I don’t have paper this size!):

And the final product, which reveals a lot to me – first, it’s inconsistently printed, so I need to pay more attention to that next time – I suspect this is partly because Speedball printmaking ink isn’t the greatest and I should be using something that dries slower. I also noticed some areas that I wanted to carve out a little more, so I did that (and then reapplied Polycrylic).

What a learning process! Sometimes I think my work would move along a little faster if I was in an MFA program, learning from the instructors how to avoid mistakes before I hit them, but I’m also having fun experimenting in the unknown…