Sunday, 27 May 2018

Artwork for Paris May 2018 Estampes +

Creating Monoprints for "Estampes+" ( May - June 2018) Paris

I spent a whole week - maybe even going on for two weeks making these monoprints.  

First I made a series of backgrounds by painting watercolour onto Yupo paper that I placed onto a polypropylene plate.   I also placed some small styrofoam rings onto some of them whilst they were still wet..........
Once they were completely dry - these were then run through the etching press onto dampened blotted paper Fabriano and Hahnemuhle paper.

A practical TIP for those of you making watercolour monotypes - is to use a digital timer to allow them to sit on the press bed, in position with the dampened blotted paper on top and then covered with the blankets - for 3 minutes.



This 'reactivates' the dry watercolour paint and the damp printmaking paper.  I think I made about eight watercolour backgrounds to potentially develop further into finished monoprints.  BTW - it really is best to use a digital timer because its only too easy to get distracted by a phone call or someone asking you a question and so on and so on.............make sure it beeps and put it in your pocket etc.



I did the turquoise watercolour backgrounds first and decided that maybe these were just a bit too bright / intense ...........

Well you can see for yourselves.  I did end up using some of them although it was the 2nd batch that I  painted the following day - which I used more of, for the backgrounds.







The next batch of watercolour backgrounds were a mix of ochre blue, yellow and burnt umber.  I have to say theres something very pleasing about working on the Yupo paper and you can easily remove it in areas where you dont like how it looks.


                                                                                                                                                                           

                                          
On some pieces, I also used a little washing up liquid "Fairy" brand (UK) - thats how I got all of those tiny bubble marks.  Having decided which of these watercolour backgrounds  to use it was then a matter of incorporating various elements into the 'picture space'.

"Daddy Long Legs"


Here an image of a young girl  I had drawn and painted ages ago  combined with an offset impression of a spider and a piece of cotton string that had been 'coloured' with watercolour crayon.

This is a pretty tricky strategy as everything has to 'not move' once it has been put in place on the re-soaked  and blotted watercolor background.  It turned out sufficiently OK to 'pass muster' as they say.  I use rice paste on the girl image to adhere to the paper.  Its always best to not use too much paste because otherwise there is always the risk of it 'sliding or skidding' as it runs through the press and making a mess.






She Knows Best

This image which I had been working on lately didnt seem to integrate well with the watercolour backgrounds so instead I chose to use an aquatint plate made using the addition of water and washing up liquid as the aquatint was developed on the copper plate.  I think she looks really haughty.












This was one of the watercolour backgrounds that I did use although I'm still not quite sure about this one.

It was good to use some of this roughly textured  chine colle paper that had this nice graduated umbre/olive shaded colour.

It's an image of a female of sorts thats been around in my 'encyclopaedia of ciphers' for quite some time.

Thus far it is untitled.







                         untitled

Here (I really liked this back ground) I have incorporated my little emperor (PuYi) who in case you dont know was the last emperor of China.  What a life he lived.   Its an image I am fond of and that I have used previously although I am not sure as to whether it has featured in any of my finished artworks.

I incorporated a drypoint (on textured polypropylene) of a sphinx of an Ancient Egyptian cat.

That material really holds the ink well although I didnt bear that sufficiently in mind whilst making this print.  Really I should have done a more thorough wipe-away of the ink on the flat surface - which would have resulted in a paler impression of the plate.

However having said that I find that I have become more accepting of the overall appearance of the finished piece, than I was initially. The little bird was inspired from looking at a book about medieval illuminated manuscripts, another longstanding love of mine.

It doesn't have a title as of yet although maybe I might call it "Dislocation" or words to that effect.  That shape around the bird is a piece of thin cardboard that I varnished with Lascaux acrylic hard ground and when dry I rubbed some water-soluble crayon onto it.

"Sunday Best"

This piece is called Sunday best and it began with this image of a 5 yr old girl( Charlotte May Pierstorff) , known by the name "May",who was sent in the postal service in the USA in the early 20th century by her parents.
See full details HERE   They couldn't afford the train fare and were 'sending' her to relatives for a few months to be looked after by them.  Perhaps it then made it possible for them to travel searching for employment.  I am just speculating not knowing of the real story of her family. It was a lot cheaper to 'send her' using that method.  With her being a child of course the USPS  had to deliver her at the address.  I imagine that the parents had not written the 'senders address' onto the 'package'. This was during the very first year of the postal service.
I loved the story and her photo integrated so well with the picture space I had created in the watery cream coloured and watery black watercolour background made a while back so that became another one of the pieces that I sent to Paris.




                       untitled                                                         "Waiting for the Ancestors"

The final images - well the one on the right is the last of the four required images sent to Estampes+ 2018.  This was also  an earlier previously created watercolour background monotype.
The little animal figure on the left is lino print onto acid free tissue paper, that image was inspired by  looking at ancient Chinese funerary objects - in this case a container for the ancestors ashes.  The little red circle is imprinted with a tiny dry pointed circle on polypropylene - I love how easy it is to cut this material to a desired shape.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Exhibition in Paris May 2018

OK It would have been nice to go along to this exhibition in Paris................but an excursion of this nature would be too exhausting and extremely painful - more than I could bear
In December 2017 - I received an email from artist printmaker called Akane, inviting me to participate in an international exhibition of printmakers, taking place in Paris,  May 2018.  She also mentioned that there would be 5 other artists exhibiting in this show and that its an annual 'event' that they stage at gallery in the city.  I think she said it was called "Estampe+".
YES - I was interested and also keen to know about the other artists ? - I mean I didn't want to show with any who either made sexist, racist or otherwise offencive artwork.  My other concern was I didn't want to exhibit with unprofessional low standard artists.  However having looked up HER portfolio website  I could tell that yep...... it was going to be good all round.
The week before last (i.e., at the beginning of April 2018) - I was thinking “oh great - that's good, jpegs and lists all finished with and emailed off to the exhibition organiser…….

Now I just need to package up the actual artworks in as wide a cardboard tube as I can find, and then post them off to this Paris based group exhibition and that will be that !!  - task done and dusted!” 

I can get on with some new work

Great…but oh oh.............then I got an email from her, saying that my selected artworks were the wrong way round………………
duh…………..what's she talking about…”wrong way round ?- oh no !!”??
Akane said that they needed to 

a) be all the same size

b) be ‘portrait’ orientated

and 

c) that they all should be no more expensive than 200 euros gallery retail price.

Unfortunately I had misunderstood the instructions/specifications she had sent to me, well in advance - which were translated from French, concerning what each artist can show.  The following was included in email instructions I originally received from Akane 

“sizes (Jésus vertical) or 2 raisins”.   I  have to admit I found this translation or phraseology hilarious.

It also said that for the four smaller pieces of art  it would be - “appreciated with a reasonable price”

I have to admit that when I looked properly once again (just this minute in fact)  at the original instructions I had been sent

In addition to sending two larger art works.............
 ........it had also said

four same small sizes on paper of 29.7 x 21cm or 30 x 24 cm vertical(framed by the gallery)

OR 

“four portrait size prints on 30 x 24 cm paper” ............of course she  was correct ..........

It was probably the Jesus reference that threw me………….(what with my traumatic Catholic upbringing and all)

I suppose I was looking through the smaller size pieces that I had and just selecting those that I thought "suitable". 
Because everything takes me so much longer to do now because of the spinal pain being exacerbated by standing/walking………I find myself reluctant to do more than I absolutely  have to.

So I selected the following
“Perduras Dream” it’s a copper hard ground etch on Inkjet - boy I tried so many different hybrid copper etch plates to find which one worked out best.
“Catalan Birdsong” Made using polymer ’spit bite’ hard ground etching and digital chine colle. (landscape orientation)
(To my mind) It would fit into an A4 size picture frame.

“Contemplation” (portrait orientation). Made using a hand spray administered aquatint (I used a salad -oil ‘pump action’ spray).
I also added some collagraph materials to the plate to get the outcome I needed, having decided that  It would be easier to do that than go back and forward, and back and forward to the etching mordant and apply resists / and then remove them etc etc etc.  

Anyway so that is what I did with that image.  Incidentally - the little face is inkjet chine colle.

“Attic” portrait orientation, mainly etching zinc with a small amount of acrylic resist hard ground applied to the top plate, using a stencil mask.  When it dried, 
I just inked the whole thing up.

ASIDE. I think theres a close up photo of this image "Attic", 
in Mark Gravers book “Non Toxic Etching”
https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/non-toxic-printmaking-9781408113257/

I must say that given that there are a couple of my images featured in that book - it doesn’t seem fair that I don't have a copy of that book in my library.
OMG - I have just been on the web to look up the url for the book and it is so damned easy to get distracted on the Internet especially if you get taken onto PINTEREST.  I do try my best to stay off it.   Unless, of course,  I have a very specific focused objective.

By the way if any of you printmakers who happen to read this have that book will you please have a look in the book for me - and drop me a line in the comments box.....I'd really appreciate it.


Anyways so yeah those were the artworks I was going to send until it was pointed out to me that  as well as needing to all be the same size, they needed to be portrait-orientated because of the way the gallery staff  hang the exhibition/wall space etc, in the gallery.

What I also really liked was that they would also be framing all the pieces that us printmakers would be sending.

So the following week I worked my butt off getting these artworks done - mainly because of this stipulation that the artworks all needed to be portrait orientated.  More on this, to follow.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Printmaking Activities first quarter of 2016


Printmaking Activities first quarter of 2016


Leicester Print Competition March 2016

Started the year off working on some mini prints for Big Print Small Impression which Leicester Print workshop host every few years.  I was in their last one so thought I would have another shot at it.

They also tour the exhibition around the UK a fair bit which is also good.  Last time I think I sold six prints - which is always welcome news.


Co incidentally they used the one I sold 6 of (image above) , in their "Call to Artists" - of course they should really have asked me if that was OK with me............. but I didn’t mind.
It was quite a small size - trying to remember now - it was 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4 inches)







One of the images I was working on was about refugees............ Gawd I got so into it trying out various possibilities - like using carborundum ( no actually it was pastel ground)  on cut out figurative shapes to print on top of the three female figures apart from their faces and another possibility  I was considering was to try out having these Greek 'shrine-like'  artifacts to go above the children's heads (to give the sense of them thinking they were going to some kind of "promised land".

Of course there wasn't going to be one of these 'artifacts' on the mothers head because of course she was the person who was having to 'carry' them all to where ever they might find refuge........the horror and pain of it all ......

Here are 2 images from the countless possibilities involved in the creation process.

These were probably the best two and I will at some stage make these.  I have physically made the little plates for the 'shrine like hats'.    I have also made the little plates for the shroud like coverings (except the faces) for the 3 main figures.  By the way the newspaper text that can be seen in the image (above) refers to Bashar Al Asaads deeds to his own people.  


Here are some 'notes to self'............... regarding technical stuff and signification etc:

NOTES re Refugees and overhead Devices etc

Refugees Image..............desire for home.................different  for child than it is for adult.....................
.................dream of a new life, somewhere safe.....................idea of a shrine.........................................
 

TRY
A cut out polypropylene)  of the house overhead form shape.  The prep with gum Arabic and paint on a layer of see-through (transparent/translucent) white - ish blue watercolour.

OUTLINE the three female figures and cut these shapes  from sandpaper, then glue onto mount board. OMIT THE FACE SHAPES in these ...............................




Depending on how that turns out another possibility is to make the 

figure outlines onto polypropylene that has been scratched/sanded.  

Then fill in the black figure areas with carborundum.  I like the 

affiliation these forms  have of "shrouds" in relation to the plight of the refugees. (Similar to the effect I got when I did the BED PRINTS)


 
REGARDING RED STITCHES _ HORIZONTAL LINE etc

Could use  wool or thread sewn onto some paper  of the same size................ and then scan in to PS
 - I may need  print out a copy of the image to put stitching on before scanning it into layering process.
Having said that I do like the idea of having the stitching physically present in the finished art work.
it appeals to me aesthetically and metaphorically
another possibility:












 


Draw the house form in white/ pale blue chalk pastel onto black Somerset printmaking paper and scan in to Photoshop and then overlay it onto refugees.














Thursday, 27 October 2016

International Exlibris + Small Printmaking Competition Sint-Niklaas 2017(submission)

Yesterday, just after lunch C. popped out to post my submission  to the – International Exlibris + Small Printmaking Competition Sint-Niklaas 2017.

DEADLINE:  1st November, 2016.  One had the possibility to enter two categories:

BOOKPLATES

3 Exlibris (bookplates) - image size: (13 x 13 max) on paper size: 15 x 20 cm.

or  SMALL PRINTS   -  3 small prints - image size: 13 x 13 max on paper size: 15 x 20 cm.
 
It said "all graphic printmaking techniques, including mixed media printmaking techniques, original photographs  and digital works" were eligible
 
"CITY IN THE FUTURE" – was an optional THEME, which although I wasn't immediately taken with the idea  I HAD nonetheless  looked into / thought about and considered,  a while back.  
I had even done some trace monotypes but that was as far as I got so I didn't have anything 'specific' to submit in that regard - I was a little irritated with myself about that,  given the research I'd done - but having put  all the images and files etc   into the 'November' folder,  on my computer - I hadn't really allowed enough time. 

Yes I should have definitely put it into the "October"  folder!!!!!! NEXT TIME !!! what a silly billy.

Anyway .............I submitted three prints to this Saint Nicks event (as I referred to it) these were:



"Last Book II"  pigment archival inkjet and drypoint


"Disappearing Self"  etched zinc emboss on pigment archival inkjet


"Eurydice"  etched steel with pigment archival inkjet chine colle

One thing that occurs to me is that I need to do more small prints maybe about 10 x 10 cm, in size.
I have previously had my work in this event that was in 2011
they even sent me a catalogue book.

Although I am listed as a participant they didn't featured photos of my artwork in the catalogue book - which of course is disappointing.


Depending on how I get on this time (selected or not) and if I am selected - whether my artwork gets featured in the catalogue or not ...............will resolve as to whether I make any further submissions in the future.

Here's a photo of the 2011 catalogue with some of my favourite art works.


Exciting stuff huh !!??  Just love that brown.  Its in the Belgian Flemish language (I used to live in Belgium so I have heard it spoken - it sounds very much like the Dutch language - I wonder if that's what it is with some regional differences)








If you visit the website url , you will see they
http://musea.sint-niklaas.be/exlibris/grafiekbiennale/concours-wettbewerb-competition
 don't have loads of previous exhibitors works to look at ( like they do on eg 'Lahti Miniprint' / Finland) which is a shame...... but if you have a look around you can get to see some art from some  previous competitions/exhibitions - mainly exlibris prints.















Image on the left  side is by Thom O Connor (United States) the text on the page says Prent (i.e., not an exlibris but a small print) Title:  "Through the Blinds"  fotografie, digitale beeldverwerking (which means 'digital image processing'. Oh and yes I used Dutch in the Google translate as there was no "Flemish".

Image on the Right  side is by Nadya Onyshchenko  (Ukraine) ets, materiaaldruk, naaldwerk which means etching, fluid pressure, needle work. Now - I'm wondering what is meant by "fluid pressure"? 

I like that red stitched thread - I feel it integrates very well with the image. 
















Image on the left
Bea Van der Heijden  Nederland, Prent Twee meisjes op weg naar een feest 2, ets polymerets, drogenaald, vernis mou, linosnede eervolle vermelding voor diepdruk.  Isn't her work absolutely gorgeous I have known of her work for a few years and I find it very impressive - I love how she uses materials to get the effects she does (such as lino etc) wow!!

Image on the right 

Sandra Wimer   United States, Prent "Homing in"  digitale beeldverwerking,  veelkleurendrukEervolle vermelding voor digitale technieken.

















Image on the left side

Alexsandr  Reider  (Russia)

Exlibris prent,  Valentina  ets (etching)

no website found (!)


Image on the right side

Blanca Saccomano   (Argentina)

Exlibris Julian Mattei met titel Happy Football

digitale beeldverwerking, veelkleurendruk







 









Image on the left

Nicole Henderiks    Nederland

prent feest ballonnen diepdruk kleurendruk collagrafie


Image on the right

Sergey Hrapov   Ukraine

exlibris S Hrapov met als titel Rivals ets aquatint






 












Image on the left

Frank-Ivo Van Damme  Belgium

Exlibris Helga Becker Bickerich met als titel " in taberna " Kopergravure

Image on the right

Bea Van der Heijden   Nederland

Prent Twee meisjes op een feest

ets polymerets, drogenaald, vernis mou, linosnede


Thought I would finish on another lovely piece by Bea with her beautiful lino etch, polymer etching  etc.

I will do another post if my work gets selected for inclusion - if not I might still do a post to despair as to the injustice of it all............. etcetera.................

oh by the way


I did manage to do some work on one of the trace monotype  images I mentioned earlier in this post.
That was this morning though so too late for sending as a submission.  Here it is.











 









Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Bimpe 2016 prints finished and ready for despatch


 In case you are not aware BIMPE is an international printmaking showcase held  every 2 years in Canada, for small postcard sized artworks created using various printmaking techniques such as etching, woodcut silkscreen etc etc.  The actual exhibition of the selected art works is due to open on the 24th September 2016.  I have been in this exhibition previously although I am not sure whether it was once or twice. 
"I am quite pleased with the final sets of prints packaged up to go in the post to Canada tomorrow.   I packaged them up late last night and they weighed 540 grams approx.  This unfortunately was just over the 500 gram mark which made them a lot more expensive.  So after having extensively wrapped and taped them up _ I had to take a scalpel and "un-package" them ....ugh !!!  Never mind I managed to find some foam board pieces and then tightly wrapped them and put some Amazon brown paper ( which they use as space beads when they send you stuff in boxes) .  I managed to get it down to 340 grams in the end - this made the postage costs less .  Not exactly cheap but more manageable" 

Here are the pieces I submitted:


"These Small Things"  10 x 15 cm  etching and collagraph on archival inkjet on Hahnemuhle paper.




"Inside a Magpie"  I didn't  manage to resolve this piece to my satisfaction in the end,  so I sent a 'replacement' which is the 4th image down in this post.  It's 10 x 15 cm as well.  Like the piece above its an etching/ collagraph  on archival inkjet - with chine colle.  




Here is a photo of the same print which I have outlined using the Photoshop to see what it would look like as I may do this using a fine-liner pigment pen rather than just throw it away. I think it looks better although I'm still not sure.................








"Brothætt" (which means fragile in Icelandic)  it's  10 x 15 cm again and made using drypoint on textured polypropylene which I love to work on because you can really 'selectively wipe' the plate to your hearts content and get it just how you want it to look.  The 'grainy-ness' of the surface holds the ink really well. Of course the other thing is that it is easy to cut to make organically shaped printing plates.

Of the three pieces that I made to submit to this exhibition - this was the one I was most pleased with.  You know sometimes when you are making a piece of artwork you kind of know what is the sense of that which you are hoping to communicate - but then coming up with the title - well sometimes saying it in another language is somehow a way of adding something further to the meaning.  I do'nt know whether any of you understand what I am saying but I thought I would say something on the matter - none the less.











"Stitched Bear" (replacement print for 'Inside a Magpie') a test collagraph proof worked into an archival inkjet print 10 x 15 cm.
Love this little creature too and that 'she' has been stitched together as that kind of expresses the nature of the Polar Bears current 'position'.  That is speaking  in global warming terms as in its continued existence/survival is 'fragile'.  I always think these creatures have such a hard hard time of it - especially the females.

I finally got round to trying 'stitching' in a collagraph - something I have been meaning to do for absolutely ages.  You have to do it in such a way,  so that the stitches that are at the 'back of the item' you are sewing do'nt 'show through,  when you proof the print /roll it through the press (under all that pressure). 
NOTE I will do a separate post on this sometime soon.