Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Winter

"Winter" 30x22" Monotype

This is a larger version, from Monday, and it actually came out better than this rather amateurish snapshot might indicate. I wanted to post it simply to complete the progression I've been yammering on about. I'm getting it photographed for possible publication, and when I have that, I'll post a complete portfolio on my Facebook Fan Page.
Next week I'll move on to a different concept in this same, minimalist vein.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Ghost Tales

I got very busy with a summer workshop proposal and a residency application, and almost forgot I promised to post a ghost of the last monotype. Here it is. I think you can see that the dark gray retains its graphic power more than the light gray.

I still have options, though. I can print another layer ( something in the foreground?), or I can hand tint the little ponds/ puddles to bring them out. Or I can just leave it alone. What do you think? I'll probably work on it Monday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sketchy Business

The year seems to be getting off to a good start. I wanted to do more sketching as a way of adding focus and unity of purpose, and I wanted to keep the images minimal and make greater use of negative space. Those things seem to be happening here, in the print I did Monday. It's not in its final state; I'll need to touch up a couple of areas.

It's two drops, gray and dark gray, and it was trickier than it looks; I took my time. I had gotten a late start because we went over to help lift a press into a car bound for its new home up in the mountains. It's a Squishtoid occupational hazard- every time someone buys a press, we wind up doing the grunt work. It's not something my back
especially looks forward to after 25 years of lifting 50 pound bales of potatoes, but it's nice to see a printmaker living the dream, and she did buy us breakfast and bake us cookies!

I have a ghost of this which I'll post tomorrow. For now, I'll post the sketch to prove I'm not just talking the talk.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ghost Tales

That Tuesday posting ( below ) was actually the ghost of this print ( above ). If there is enough ink left on the plate after the first run through, you can put a fresh sheet of paper down, and run it again, and that is called a ghost. These are just quick snapshots, so the color is off in the ghost- it came out much bluer where the gray should be- but you can see that there was plenty of black ink left for a second impression. Sometimes, as the hard edges become softer, the ghost is actually the superior print. If you have a preference, then post a comment!
There are more photos here. I'll be back next week with another batch of images. If you want to keep track of new prints and upcoming shows, then click "fan" on the Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Good Start

If there is such a thing as omens, then Monday's printing would be a good one. I went slow and examined each part of the routine for changes I might like to make ( for example, I made a slight adjustment in paper size during tearing, because it might make the smaller pictures more compatible with ready-made frames now available).

When I finally started composing, I kept it simple and tried to be conscious of negative space. When you are working with a limited color palette ( in this case black, and mid-value gray), It implies that white ( the paper) will be one of your colors, so use of negative space in the printmaking is essential.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good Times

Hanging the salon-style wall at the Open Press Small Print Show in December. They always look great, especially after you straighten all the frames. Add Image

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Start

"SOL INVICTUS", 15x11"

I mentioned that I often take a break this time of year. Toward the end of these holiday breaks, I often start getting a bit antsy to work on something new, which is proof enough that a break is a good thing, for me at least.

Last night before sleep I was running through some images and concepts in my mind, enough to keep me awake for a bit. This is sometimes, though not always, an indication of what might happen on return to the studio.

Here's a peek at the last stuff I did, for a demo during the Small Print Show, which has also been on my mind, so another possible direction. The colors are a bit wack, and the composition cramped, but that's not unusual, since they're pretty small.

I won't try to verbalize what exactly I think the new work will look like, but here are some "keywords": line drawing, muted color, figure and landscape.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

All in Color for a Crime

My last post was a sort of improvisation on the subject of comics and the culture wars. Since I'm on the subject, here's a tip for some very interesting reading: a good book has hit what I like to think of as the book lover's sweet spot- available in remainder as a HC, but newly released as a PB. The Ten-Cent Plague, by David Hajdu, outlines one of the earliest battles in the culture wars: the comic book censorship hysteria of the 50's.

Subtitled "The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America", The book gives a pretty good outline of what not to do when under attack by the moralizers. Like the movies, comics- thanks to turn-of-the-century artists like Herriman, McCay and others who popularized newspaper comics by showing the heights the medium was capable of, were a very robust pop culture medium in the 30's and 40's. Like movies, they responded to pressure to tone down their sensationalism by forming a self-censorship program. Unlike the movies, the comics, usually published by exploitive money men with little regard for the medium's artistic potential, panicked and gave in to excessively restrictive controls on content. Thus not only killing the sales, but ripping the creative heart out of the medium and turning into the infantile hack work most of us remember from childhood. They would not fully recover their appeal to committed creators until the 80's, as noted in my L&R post. But by then, the medium was almost totally marginalized.

The book reads like a breeze, offers colorful portraits of the characters on both sides of the battle, and carries a lot of relevance for those who've noticed that the pop culture media (movies, music, comics) have never matured here as they did in Europe. Hajdu has written books about NYC folk musicians, and Billy Strayhorn, and doesn't talk down to comics, as many in the mainstream do.