Tuesday 7 December 2010

Print Exchange Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio 2010

It's been a while................thing is that I have been so busy lately that I didn't know quite where to begin.    Gosh this spellcheck wizard, that they now have here on blogger is excellent.  It's in a little pale blue box, with ABC written in  it,  and a green correct tick mark ( for those of you who haven't noticed it).I have just noticed that it also has a little red button with a big "A' and a small "a" written on it (?) and that performs the dual function of translator as well as dictionary (WOW !!!!) That is good.

Anyway as I was saying and well you can see how easily I am distracted..........Yep I was invited to participate in a print exchange with other printmakers of DCA and as I had just finished (well fairly recently)  the edition of 22 for the 20:20 exchange which is organised out of Hot Bed Press in Salford, I thought ..12 prints - what the heck.  Well I had originally planned to do a print which combined inkjet with drypoint.  Apparently they were hoping to include 20 different print studios and 2 of these were to be international.  I wont know yet whether they were able to realize this until I get my return portfolio and hopefully a sheet of text about the project.  I should receive 20 prints in return.  That's the 20:20 exchange though which I referred to in the previous post.

HOWEVER my naughty moody truculent Epson 2400 went on a "wobbly".  It just wouldn't perform it's tasks for me.  There was absolutely no reason why not.  It just didn't want to do it  - it was obviously sulking about something or other and.......................... well I got fed up with it and put it away off in another room.     I thought I will take a break from it.  Perhaps we needed to spend time apart.   It's not as though I use it that much.

The print I was going to make was this one.
Its working title was "Knightbird and Puddle"
The background i.e.,  the blue-ish area was from washes of ink, which I thereafter scanned into Photoshop and minimally edited.
 The bird like figure was done on polypropylene using a drypoint tool..But after this proof was made the Epson 2400 printer- started playing up.

Anyway so I immediately thought....... OK lets see what plates I have,  that are the size required - the brief stipulated paper size 20 x 20 cm so anything that fitted it,  was acceptable.
I did consider using my 'dirt poor' China girl plate I even cut it down to size BUT as I had used it for the "Leftovers" exchange I thought no - it'd be better if it's something fresh that way I enjoy it more.

Here you can see how far I got with "China Girl". 
OK first I got Bill to cut the plate for me, at the print workshop.

Then I looked around at other plates for potential background prints to locate it, on top of.  Then  I though - like what are you doing!!??  ..... you have to make 12 of these so its better to stick with one plate and use stenciling or chine colle or some such thing as an intervention (as such).
Couldn't find anything the right size in any event .  This china girl plate, by the way,  was about 17 x 17 cm.

 OK first thing was to take a proof of the plate after I cut it down and filed the edge.

I looked though my stack of backgrounds that I have in my digital files and looked through a few potential ones such as this blue one.

Of course by now all the photo emulsion which had been left on the surface for quite a while and which I eventually managed to remove after trying a number of liquids ........was gone   so I could finally take a proof of it, to the bare metal.

Incidentally what removed the photo emulsion from the plate was a product called Johnson's Carefree acrylic floor stripper.  I highly recommend it.  I even think its better than Mystrol and Lascaux remover.   As I am only too well aware removing acrylic stop outs (of whatever nature) can be a major pain in the butt!!
This is an update to this post and just thought i would include a screen grab which shows all the files worked on in relation to 'moving this plate on  into a satisfactory print outcome' Here it is:

It sure looked a lot better than when I had used it for my "Leftovers" edition ( which was extremely variable)  but it looked alright.  

As can be perhaps imagined - I wasn't crazy about all of those dots but thought I would endeavour to integrate this image onto the kind  of  background where it didn't matter.

I considered a whole load of them such as a mottled mould stain in various colours or a washy one or a cracked wall surface - trouble was that  in a way those all looked too depressing.  I though maybe plant forms would be good.  I am aware that I don't often use plant forms in my work so I do collect and make drawings in this direction occasionally so I had a look through those to see what I could come up with.

This particular pale blue image is a  scan of a washed water colour page which then also had a stain from a cup of tea on it.   I do like my tea.  Earl Grey tea is my preferred ....although I will tolerate ordinary tea when I am e.g., at the print workshop or if someone is kind enough to make me some at their house and such.   For some reason or other I am always reminded of the PG tips advert from my childhood which had the chimpanzee family in it with their human dresses and trousers with dubbed "speech" when I see ordinary tea bags.  Well the truth is I actually think it tastes awful on the whole.......or it might be that I am addicted to the oil of Bergamot.

This proof of China girl onto  a piece of yellow chine colle paper - I quite liked the look of,  and had a look in my drawer where I keep such my chine colle papers which cost me a considerable amount of money from Falkiners Fine papers in London.  I did buy them a while ago so they have lasted me well.  This is the place where I also buy my Japanese paper onto which I print inkjet. 

I thought this image I had of echinella flowers ( a name something along those lines- they look like thistles as a matter of fact), might work well so I printed it out and put it to soak.
Those of you who haven't tried printing onto inkjet backgrounds may be interested to know something about the process.

 Printed paper from an ordinary everyday dye based printer will run when you put it into the water to soak.
The other thing is that it will fade pretty quickly and as such it is not appropriate for use when printmaking.  Maybe if you were a student and just starting out you might use they dye based .......mind you ..........you would probably find that you had made this great print that was on naff paper on top of dye based ink and someone, like a museum  curator,   would ask you if they could buy it from you...........and then that would be embarrassing plus a lost opportunity.
Anyways at the end of all this - I didn't use either of these prints for the edition.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Leftovers Print Exchange Project

This project was initiated in August 2009,  by artist printmaker, Amy Nack, who was one of the co founders of Wingtip Press in Boise, Idaho,U.S.A..  I can't remember exactly how I came across it - probably cross referencing from someone else's blog or maybe through one of my Google alerts.  I mustn't have had much on,  at the time (unlike the past few months during which I have been frantically busy) so I asked Amy if it was OK for me to be included - as I seem to remember that the closing date for sign up had just passed.          

Well I mulled it over,  as to what I would do for this exchange.  Initially I was going to do this aluminium  plate I had an image etched onto,  although I wasn't too sure as to whether I would print it intaglio or relief. Currently I only have a relief jpeg of it - but I shall add the intaglio proof, as and when I come across it.
However there was something that wasn't quite right about it and I fiddled about doing little tiny alterations  to  the nose and veil using Lascaux acrylic hard ground  to make the adjustments..........in the end though I think I just developed a deep hatred for it.  
I am OK with it now though as there has been some distance in time.       I also had an earlier dry point (the red one here)  on polypropylene, of an earlier version of the image,  that I was thinking of using but the feet were too tricky to fix up. 
So in the end as I had all of these paper pieces from some 'rejected large collagraph prints from my "Aran" (2007) installation I thought I would use these. 

Particularly as that had been the idea with this exchange project in the first place.  I also had this image on an aluminium plate that I had made a while back when I did a course with Paul Musgrove  on Photo etching at FDPW.  I hadn't really put it to much use as of yet.  I thought that perhaps it might work well in combination with the turquoise backgrounds.  However as the plate had proven so difficult to remove the photo polymer emulsion from that proved to be a total bugbear when it came round to proofing it onto the surface of these 'backgrounds'.  EEEk!!!

This just was a bad phase in my printmaking practice ...things just get like that sometimes and .......well anyway time was running out   and ~ I just kept with it - I had a date( it was due in by about March/April 2010) by which I had to get the edition posted and I had to stick with it.  Despite all my efforts the edition didn't turn out satisfactorily and it was indeed the most variable edition turned out by my hand ever!!   I added some hand coloring to the prints and turned out a very variable edition of 12.

Anna Paradis:   no url located

I have included a few of the prints  I sent.  The exchange was exhibited at 2 venues in the locality.  Unfortunately I can not remember the second place where they were shown.  

Getting back to the 'efforts' I dispatched -  I coloured them with 'Carbothello' pencils which if you don't know of them are excellent,  I find for these kinds of situations where you want just a touch of colour.   They are like pastel pencils that are "smudge-able" or if you want,  you can add a wet brush and manipulate them as per watercolour.    

In April, 2010,   Amy Nack, the project coordinator and some of her friends, mounted the exhibition of the 70 or so,  participants works in two locations fairly close in succession.  The first being at Saltgrass Printmakers gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Of course I would have loved to see what the work looked like in person but as that wasn't possible - I thought that maybe eventually they would be posted onto the blog.  That way we would all get to see everyone elses work.  I mean thats part of the fun of it for me.

I have done this where possible with other projects I have participated in (although I still have some more to upload from other projects).  For example the Emission portfolio I participated in, which was coordinated by Mary Robinson.  That was for presentation initially at the Impact Conference  in Berlin and Poznan (Poland) but was later shown in Venice and possibly somewhere else - I  can't quite recall at the moment.

Kiyoko Miyashi :

In the end though there were not enough images sent through to me -  in fact there were only nine and as I can not set up a folio about a project with over 70 participants with only 9 images to show.  As the fellow participants were good enough to send me jpegs  I thought that I would like to include them here.   Hope you enjoy them. 

Linda Schrock:  no url available

In some cases people had not scanned their print edition so in this case I requested that another print work be sent as a representation of their printmaking practice. 

This final piece -is by David Carrillo
Unfortunately I can not find a blog or website for David - if any of you can help on this?

Leftovers Project Blog:   http//leftoversanyone.blogspot.com/

Saltgrass printmakers   http://www.saltgrassprintmakers.org/

Wingtip Press:   http://www.wingtippress.com

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Eutopia or Distopia ?

A few months back I saw that 'Culture Inside', a European based artists website,  was having an exhibition on the theme "Eutopia".   I read through the details and thought to myself that my installation "House Angel"  was ideal as submission material.  I contacted them and was very pleased when additionally they informed me,  that there was no entry fee for 3D artworks/ installations.  I was originally invited to be an artist on this website a few years back and try to visit it every now and again.  

detail from the installation "House Angel"

Anyway so I sent the jpegs in on time and was pleased to hear very quickly that my installation  had been selected.   Had I not been disabled and been in possession of sufficient funds I would have loved to attend the opening event.    It  turned out that the reason there was no cost for submitting  3d works,  was because they (C.I.)  were not in a position to exhibit such pieces - although they hope to be able to do so for future exhibitions.    The three selected works - we were referred to as "winning sculptors" which I find amusing as I have never considered myself as such - would have their images projected onto large screens at the venue in Neumunster in Luxembourg.  The exhibition ran from end of July to mid September.
The people I dealt with at Culture Inside were very nice.  Here's the press release which they sent me:
Do click on it to enlarge and make it legible.

details from the installation "House Angel"

To find out more about the exhibition and the organization 'Culture Inside' visit this LINK
I look forward to receiving  a copy of the catalogue which will be a memento of the event.

I have looked through the works chosen for the exhibition again and again and there were one or two pieces that caught my eye like e.g. "Rickshaw" by Serge Strelnikoff from the Ukraine, and   "Condescension" by Nick Katkov, (Russia).

  Otherwise the only  artists work that I truly found to be of significance was that of Basil Colin Frank as I feel it has authenticity and depth.  Here's a link to his website.  http://www.bcfrank.co.il/ where you can read more about the intentions behind the piece.

Monday 11 October 2010

Agata Dymus-Kazmierczak

I first came across Agata's printmaking about 3 or 4 years ago.  I think she was just starting out in printmaking at the time and I saw some of her early work on  her Flickr account. Have a look here to see those earlier pieces .    She had an adventurous approach and there were one or two pieces that I quite liked.    But my goodness she has come such a long way since then and has been doing very well for herself.    I seem to remember that she got some kind of  a residency at the Robert Gordon University, following her B.A. degree and most recently a place on the M.A. printmaking course at the Royal College of Art.

Go check out her website.............she seems to have that  Polish "knack" for graphic art and more importantly a beautiful aesthetic and imagination.

Agata has not uploaded her more recent work to her website (reminds me that I ought to do that too!!) so her best pieces are only viewable on her FLICKR account.  Of these I particularly like  "Elegy about a Polish Mongrel" also a piece called "

Hamartia" both lithographs which she seems to particularly favor.


Wednesday 29 September 2010

Jessica Brice Lambert - Photocollagraphs

A while ago I was thinking that I would like to try out the technique of making a photo-collagraph - without knowing that much about it.  And as is usual I search out people on the internet who have already done this technique.  I found a few but not many when you think of the number of printmakers that are out there in the world!!   During my search I came across Jessica Brice Lambert's works.  Most of her work is in mixed media drawing although she does oil on canvas too.  I think her photo-collagraph works are her best pieces.  But thats just what I think - others may have a different opinion.  You can see what you think by checking out her website.  Here are some of her prints.

I had thought that I would try a quick one - while we were doing a photo etch course with Paul Musgrove a few months back.

So I sealed some cardboard and then rolled some Fotec emulsion on and let it dry.  I then exposed my image which was based on a drawing I did,   of a very old battered Victorian doll.

Unfortunately it became water logged when I put it in the developer, as I had feared it might.    So I put it to one side.  I have it here in my studio somewhere ??.  Both the original drawing which was made using walnut crystals ink and wash / as well as the photo exposure on the cardboard.

I will add it into this post when I find it.  The photo exposure had worked - it was just the water.

Since then at FDPW - we have done a further course  using photo etch laminate (which Paul also taught us).  The film of Fotec is   laminated onto the surface of our plates,  through the etching press - so yep -  I will definitely use that when I make my next attempt.

Perhaps, after I seal front, reverse and sides of the mountboard -  I will cover the back of the cardboard with "Fablon" ( that contact adhesive sheet that is meant for people to,  for instance line their kitchen shelves) - it's quite robust and may help to keep it from becoming water logged.

Friday 24 September 2010

Recent Discoveries

I came across these four excellent artist print makers recently - trouble is I can't remember where  - other than for the last one  shown here.  The first one is by Caitlin Sheedy.  She doesn't seem have her own website which is a shame.  I love the 'magic realism' aspect in this piece of hers.

 The figures leap through our vision, "mermaid-like", I love her range of tones and the sense of space.  The fact that one of the figures is wearing spectacles is also a humorous touch.  I think that's a planet in the upper left corner?.

Next,  Glen Skein from Mackay, Queensland, Australia.  His assemblages and box works  which you can see on his website. are very inspiring -  take a look at them. 

Number 3 is by my associate Naoji  Ishiyami - talented fellow that he is, whose work I very much admire.

I  like the surreal dreamlike quality to Naoji's imagery and his use of aquatint at which I think he is quite adept.   We exhibited together at the Falun Graphic Triennial, held at the Dalarnas Museum in Sweden back in 2007. See HERE for images of the visit,

exhibition, artworks shown by the other artists.
That exhibition which really was a great experience -  came about very much through the initiative and far reaching efforts of Modhir Ahmed another  talented  print maker friend,  based in Sweden, who like Naoji seems to be very much in the spotlight when it comes to receiving awards. 

I came across this photo of a page from an artists book -  on Modhir's website - it's one

 from a series of about 5,  documenting the project he undertook as a collaboration with
renowned Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer

Here is an extract from a poem of his,  called "Haiku"

  "Carried by darkness.
            I met an immense shadow
             in a pair of eyes.

            These milestones
            have set out on a journey.
            Hear the wood-dove’s voice.

                                 Resting on a shelf
                               in the library of fools
                                                                          the sermon-book, untouched.

Diffused Relief Print

This final image is wonderful - I love the over layering which artist Monika Meler uses.  

She refers to it as "diffused relief printing"  I have got to find out more about this??

Please if anyone knows what is meant by this phrase  - let me know !!!

Oh by the way I came across Monikas wonderful image on  the Protius Mag blog which has some excellent artwork - well worth a visit .

FOOTNOTE:  Thanks to those people who took the time to post some comments on here about this process.  I even had an email from the lovely Monika, in response to my questions.

Monday 20 September 2010

Done and Dusted (print edition dispatched)

I was invited by Clare Mc Vinnie, artist and printmaking technician at the Dundee Contemporary Art Centre about 5 months ago to  participate and so I said I would.  I decided eventually to work on an intaglio  lino image that I actually begun years and years ago but had never developed further.

It was just a linear image of a figure in the foreground well the face and then the horse image behind it.  I will do a separate post concerning its progress from that  'old' state to the final b.a.t..

I used caustic soda to etch the lino and also some diluted Lascaux acrylic hard ground,  to make part of the surface 'paler'.   I felt that this was an excellent medium /process to go with,  for making an edition - given that I don't really do editions other than for projects such as this.

I experimented on some additional plates in the course of making this blue print and learned some new things that I want to develop further especially where larger works are concerned -  well let's say plates that are 40 x 55 cm.............. that kind of size.  As I said, I'll share what I learned in a future post on the making of the plate/print.

Here's a photo of the finished edition
The project is originally initiated/ coordinated by Hot Bed Press where my good friend Sean Rorke, works.  We were fellow students on the  post graduate printmaking course at Wimbledon in London.  For me the course, left a lot to be desired  but I came across some great fellow print maker colleagues.

I notice that Sean's book about print workshops throughout the UK is online now.  I knew he had been working on it for a while so well done Sean on getting it finished bet that's a load off your mind !!


Just came across a full album set on FLICKR of all the prints that were part of this international print portfolio exchange project.

Sunday 19 September 2010

A Dog and a Chair

I started with a 10 x 15 cm aluminium plate.  I painted some Lascaux acrylic resist hard ground,  on to the plate - then I 'scribed'  my image through the ground,  using an etching needle, exerting only  light pressure.    The little dog like figure had evolved from my attic plate that I had done for the exhibition (New Zealand)  in Mark Graver's International print exhibition back in January.

 I think maybe the tiny chair which you would almost hardly even notice may have been inspired by David du Bose's gorgeous drypoint which is in the "Intaglio" book by Robert Adam and Carol Robertson... although it is a motif that I have always used in my artwork every now and again.
This Red proof shows the plate in the same state, as in the first one - I had some what over wiped it.

 I seem to remember that I then left that plate aside for ages as it had just been a little ditty plate that I did while I was waiting for something else to dry.
I decided that there wasn't enough variation of tone and for some reason decided to take an additive approach  to the plate using Lascaux acrylic pastel ground for the dark area - unfortunately I applied it to the plate,  in far too casual a manner and well you can see the consequence of this. Although I liked the dark background and the lighter foreground.

This application, i.e., to the plate that outputted the blue proof -  meant that,  in a way,  I was using a collagraph application onto a plate that had been etched ................but what matters to me is the final result when printed onto the paper.  Where I am concerned  having some kind of 'purist' attitude to etching  or to printmaking gets us nowhere.  I mean, if the 'technology' exists then use it........ well that's what I say.
As you can imagine - I wasn't too pleased with myself where that background was concerned so I though I would sand it down a bit which is what I did and then took another proof.

It still looked 'naff' so I concluded that it would be best to get rid of the layer of acrylic pastel ground.  So I put  the plate in some Lascaux remover for a while I think I had it in for about half an hour.  It came off pretty easily.

Then I decided to put the plate back into the copper sulphate mordant.    With plates of this size putting them into 'etch' in mordant,  is so easy.   I use those little black plastic rectangular trays that ready made pasta dishes come in.  They are  just  big enough for these 4 x 6 inch plates.  I painted Lascaux acrylic hard ground onto the plate which I had degreased using Jif  cleaner (what you use to clean the sink and the bath) .    Here's the plate with the acrylic resist ground applied.

I painted a layer of it,  onto half  of the  area I wanted to get etched.  I left it in the copper sulphate mordant about 5 minutes.  Then I put it in some remover  and when it was cleaned off I~ put it back into the mordant, for a further 5 mins.  I ought to add that while I was applying the acrylic resist I also put a layer of that over the bottom half of the image and went over the lines delineating the figures.  They looked a bit too light ..the lines...I wanted them to be a bit more pronounced.   It looked a lot better.

I don't know why I hadn't done this in the first place but it might be that I had some of the pastel ground on my brush that I was applying to another plate and that I though I would chuck some onto it while I had it out.  Anyway I took a proof to see how it looked   .Dab a bit here dab a bit there tra la la ....what a twerp !!

Much better and I also liked that the  lines of the figure were stronger.
It's funny how the colour you proof in,  can make such a difference to the mood of the image  isn't it?.

A few days later I did another quick proof with  "a la poupee" and liked that too.  When I finally do print this b.a.t, - I may add a little chine colle element,  printed inkjet on Japanese paper .... we will see.

Saturday 11 September 2010

Playing with Lascaux wash resist and Lascaux Soft ground resist

I was making some small plates i.e., 6 x 4 inch ( 15 x 10 cm)  here, to possibly use for the Bimpe prints submission.   

Yellow Proof 
On to the degreased aluminium plate,  I applied some Lascaux wash resist  just to see how it would behave.
I then etched it in copper sulphate mordant.
I have realized that Lascaux wash resist only interacts appropriately in accordance with its performance specifications, on copper.    It does not work on aluminium or on Zinc.  I have tried both.  Although having said, that I didn’t apply an acrylic aquatint spray (which would be the usual procedure ie one would apply it after the LWR was applied to the plate and allowed to reticulate.    (see previous post)

Anyway this is how it turned out.  It was in the copper sulphate mordant for 4 minutes.
I ended up using this background for one of the prints that I chose to submit to Bimpe here's the finished print

Indigo Blue Proof

This plate, was one that I had actually made,  ages ago by gluing sandpaper to mount board. 

 I wanted to disrupt it somehow so tore parts away and then had the bright idea of applying  Lascaux acrylic soft ground to the 'exposed' areas.   After applying a thin coat  with one of my 'pro arte' brushes -  (see earlier post) - its the 5th paragraph up from the foot of the post.

The acrylic 'ground' was allowed it to dry for 12 minutes, at which point it was ready to receive items onto it, to be impressed for the 'soft ground' effect, which of course one can use in collagraph as well as in etching.  This is the great thing about this range of acrylic products.
Actually if you go to the link you see above - you will see just the situation where I inter played a seemingly 'collagraph'  effect directly onto an etched zinc plate in order to resolve the print.

Getting back to this plate  
Pieces of fine wire wool, were arranged over it.   Then I placed some pretty thick transparent acetate and ran it through the press. I like how this turned out.  I am seeing it as a possible background, perhaps not with this dark colour though.

Black Ink Proof

On to some mount board, I applied  Lascaux soft ground ,  I allowed it to dry for 12 minutes and then placed part of a torn up
steel pan scourer onto it,  to impress into the soft ground.

 I placed some  thick transparent acetate , over it and ran it all through the press.

 I think next time I might decrease  the pressure (as per “monoprint pressure”).  If you look closely you might notice that there are differing strengths of the pressure of the indentation - which has me thinking that perhaps on another occasion I will try out doing the pressing by hand and with weights just to see how it goes.

 Pale Blue Needle Proof

This was another impression into Lascaux soft ground.  I actually put the thread through the needle .  Anyways - it nearly came through the card when I ran it through the press with the acetate covering it all.    You might notice that on the upper left is a textural effect which I really like - thats from placing very fine wire wool and teasing the strands apart.  You might also note that there's the effect of pulled away acetate a bit like what you get when kids do those paintings where they fold the paper in two and then pull it apart.  I quite like it though.  I need to have another look in the book by Carol and Robert about the soft ground effect with collagraphs - I mean to see what they used as acetate or whatever, on top of the stuff thats being impressed into the 'soft ground'.
I also need to use pressure similar to that which one would use when putting a monoprint through the press.

Little Boxes...........Luke O'Sullivan printmaking 3d

Luke seems to be very into the innards and outards of buildings/things..........see more on his website http://www.lukeosullivan.com/