Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Monoprinting Mania

Tree With Moon

Moon With Mountains

Slowly but surely I am beginning to understand the order in which I need to lay down my masks in order for my landscapes to look correct. In printing everything has to be done backwards and it isn't always easy to think that way. It is so different than painting.

This plant, which is called the Mexican Bird of Paradise, really does look like a tree when you print with it. I love the way it prints and gives such nice texture. Many of the plants I have been picking lately have not been working well for this process. They are either too soft and floppy or they just don't have good vein structure. There really is no way of knowing until you actually print with them, Also, color makes a difference. This is Carbon Black with the addition of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold. A lovely mixing color!

I am enjoying the process of printing and I am going through quite a bit of paper! I bought two reams of cheap drawing paper so that I could feel free to experiment without worrying too much about paper costs.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

More monoprinting







I have been working on a small 6x6 gel plate. I know I said I was going to go larger but I really love working small. The only thing about the small plate I don't like is the rounded corners but they are easily fixed so I don't sweat it. I also love working square for some reason.

I took a short online class with Linda Germain on Monoprinting Mountains. I found it quite helpful since I was having some trouble trying to figure out the progression from light to dark and front to back with my masks.

The weather here in Tucson has been delightful lately and I have been doing a lot of walking. I am trying to do a 10,000 steps a day routine but it is not so easy! When I was back in Boston visiting my mom in the hospital,  I walked over 14,000 steps in one day and could barely walk the next day! That is a lot of steps! But I am taking a bit of a break from biking right now. So walking is a good alternative.  Plus when I walk, I am more apt to stop and pick leaves for mono printing. And who can resist that! I always like finding a new plant to try out with my plate!

I recently discovered Golden Paints Bronze in Open Acrylics from Lee Monts.   Lee is a Golden Paint educator and his experiments with bronze are very inspiring. I will post some of my experiments with it soon.   It is a highly unusual paint color. It actually turns green as real bronze does due to oxidation. So it is very hard to control but the results are pretty amazing.

Thats all for now! Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Landscape Monoprints

Mountains with Feather #1
Whenever I stop working for a while, as in the past few terrible weeks, I can never seem to go back to where I was before I stopped working.

Since my return however, I have done a lot of grieving and sleeping. Little by little I am returning to my work. Yesterday I did a small series of mono prints of the landscape where I live. I think I was so happy to be home and back in my happy place that these mono prints just came tumbling out.

I am working on a small 6x6 inch gel plate and I am finally getting a good registration on them. Bob Pennycook has a great way of registering his prints and it really does make a difference. My registration board is not quite as elaborate as his but it suffices.

My registration board

This next one is the ghost print of the print at the top. I almost like it better. The ghost prints are very elusive and you never really know what you will get but sometimes you get one like this and it makes all the failed prints that came before worthwhile.


Mountains With Feather #1 Ghostprint

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Saturday, November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019


greeting card

I loved my greeting card class with Linda Germain. I always learn so much from her. It was a short class but nevertheless, very interesting. I realized that making a stencil for a greeting card is much harder than it looks. I made a lot of stencils but most just did not work out well. You really need a complete design in that small space. Some of my designs were too simple. Some too complicated. I like this one so far the best.

My husbands surgery went well. Except for the first night we spent in the ER. I hate that they send you home right away after surgery. In my experience it never works out well. I have returned to the ER too many times after out patient surgery. So we spent 4 hours in the ER that first night. Didn't get home until 4AM. Brutal.

But he is healing up well now. And now my mom is in the hospital. So I am off to Boston on Wednesday to see her. I have to go alone since my husband can't fly yet. I am not bringing much so I should be OK in putting my bag in the overhead bin. I never check luggage. I have had them lost before and it was not good!

It has been a brutal week for the most part. A lot going on here.  The upstairs unit in my building above us had a burst water heater which rained down on us. Lots of damage to our water heater room. We were lucky that we were here and noticed the water dripping. The damage could have been much worse.

Also, my friend and neighbor is losing her very short battle with cancer. I have only known her for a little over a year but we grew close and she is an artist too. It is all happening so fast. She is in hospice now. Days I have been told.

Enjoy your life. It is short.



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

October 22, 2019

Moonlight 
Moonlight II
I have been on a bit of a mono printing tear the past few days. I have been using the gel plate for many years now and I am still learning new ways of working. For these two pieces I used a mask for the moon and the mountain in the background. Then I added the plants on top of that.

It is an interesting process and you really never know how it will turn out. My masks are made of yupo paper. I find that it makes the sturdiest and most long lasting stencils. Tyvek works for smaller masks but for the really large pieces I like yupo better.

Moonlight ghost print
This is one of the ghost prints from yesterdays printing session. I love the way this one came out. Believe it or not, These hills are in my backyard. Every day I wake up and see them.  This is just what they look like.

For paper I am using Hosho rice paper. I make so many of these prints, that if I used Rives BFK printing paper, I would go broke!

I am trying to get a lot done this week in the studio since next week I will be busy helping my husband get through his hernia surgery. I will be glad when it is over. Surgery is never fun for either person!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019

Sonoran Herbarium No. 51
Here it is another week and I don't have a lot of new art to show for it. I have been experimenting with some new print processes which I am not ready to share quite yet. They are quite different than my usual nature prints. Sometimes you just have to mix things up in order to get out of the artistic ruts we sometimes find ourselves in.

Also, we were supposed to go to Nogales for a day trip in two weeks, however, my husband is going to be having hernia surgery instead so we had to cancel that trip. We were both really disappointed but you have to take the date the surgeon has available. Plus he is pretty uncomfortable right now. We went down to Patagonia this past weekend for the annual craft festival but he could barely walk so it was not much fun this year.

We still have the other two day trips coming up in 2020. Going to see the sandhill cranes in January and the heard Museum up in Phoenix in March. So fingers crossed that we will still be able to go to those.

I am taking an online stencil/card making class with Linda Germain this week. It is just a weekend class and she is the queen of all things gel plate printing. She even makes her own gel plate from scratch!  I have been wanting to make stencils for cards for quite a while now and so I am looking forward to learning a new skill from her. She uses Tyvek for her stencil making. I am curious as to how that will work as opposed to my stencils made from Yupo paper.

I am also planning to sign up for a class with Donna Watson that is actually in person. She is coming here to my Paperworks group in February. That will be a real treat for me. I love her work and I am looking forward to her class!

Well, enjoy the rest of your week!




Thursday, October 3, 2019

Go Bigger!


Sonoran Herbarium No. 50
This week I created Number 50 in the Sonoran Herbarium Series. I feel like it is quite an accomplishment! I am trying to get a bit more color into the work and I feel like I succeeded in this one which is mostly reds with a small bit of green for contrast.

Yesterday I took a day off from painting and went over to the JCC to help hang the show where I have three pieces. Hanging a show certainly is very hard work. The woman I was helping was up and down the ladder about a zillion times! I learned quite a bit about the foibles of hanging a show. My three pieces did not hang well on the gallery wires so I had to rewire them in order to make them lie flat against the wall as opposed to flopping over. Larger pieces don't have that problem due to the weight helping them to hang flatter. Which brings me to my biggest conundrum. My work seemed very small compared to all the other work in the show.

My work really would be better in a small works show but I have not found any of those here. Most of the art out here is huge! And I mean huge. I guess I do need to go bigger. I have 3 new wood panels that are 12" x 12". So I am going to try and see how I do with them and go from there. I don't find it easy to make large works. I would really have to rearrange my studio space in order to make bigger pieces. Of course after you go big like that where do you store it all? Let's face it, we artists are lucky to sell something once in a while. The rest takes up space in our homes and studios. My walls are filled all over the house in addition to closets being full!  So it is a dilemma.

Well, I will figure it out! Have a great weekend!


Saturday, September 28, 2019

It feels like Fall!

Sonoran Herbarium No. 47
Well, hooray! The weather has turned finally! We had a couple of lovely rain soaked days here in the desert and it ushered in some nice cool fall days. Of course here, cool means in the 80's. It means that we get to turn off the AC, and open all the doors and windows. It is a real treat to be able to do that. After a long summer spent indoors, we can finally go outside any time of the day that we like! It means I can sleep a little later in the morning because I don't have to beat the heat to get out and exercise. Although it is a little hard to change my sleep patterns. But I will do it slowly.

I did make a lot of art this summer! I have plenty of new work to show. I have three pieces in a show at the JCC that begins next week, so that is very exciting for me.  Just to have my work somewhere else besides my studio and living room is a very big deal.

I am trying not to let the state of things in our country and our world get in the way of my creativity. It takes quite a bit of energy away from it so I try to stay away from the news. It is not easy though!

One other thing I have been doing lately is cutting stencils and masks for printing. Sometimes I feel the need for something other than plants to print with. As you can see below, I have made many stencils!


A few years ago I purchased a book on Islamic art which I have been using to create some of my stencils. I am not sure how I will use them but I am certain I will find a way. In the meantime, I enjoy dividing up my studio time between creating a new piece and creating bits and parts for them. Sometimes, I just paint papers, sometimes I cut out shapes and file them away. That way I always have something to do in the studio when I need a break from the act of making an entirely new piece.

Well, enjoy your week!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Postcards

Three postcards submission
Over the summer I submitted these three postcards to a show for The Postal History Foundation Library Exhibition. The theme is "what do you love about Tucson."  For me it is really all about the unusual plants that grow here. They are really like nowhere else I have ever lived. Most of the US has pretty much the same plants from state to state. Of course Florida has some very unusual tropical plants but the Sonoran Desert is really outstanding in the variety of unusual plants. I could mono print with them all day long. And some days I do just that. In fact, the prints were piling up so much that I recently started cutting and trimming them for collage materials. It was getting out of hand.

At our recent Paperworks meeting they were displayed in book form and they really looked wonderful. Some of the folks in that group really know how to make wonderful and unusual book structures. I tried to get some good photos of them but it was rather difficult due to the crowds forming around them to view all the lovely postcard submissions. I will have to go see the exhibit when it opens.  Maybe then I will get some better photos.  It is exciting for me to see my work somewhere other than my house. Getting into shows here is very difficult. There are so many wonderful artists (a good thing) but that also means a lot of competition. I keep trying though in the hopes that I will get into a show at some point. A lot of them are "invitation" only.

I also want to apologize to all my fellow bloggers who have commented and welcomed me back to the blogging world. It seems that ever since Google dismantled their commenting structure, I cannot comment on anyones blog nor can I even respond to comments on my own blog. I tried everything but to no avail. So please know that I read all your comments as well as your blogs. I just don't know why I can't comment. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas on how to fix this, I would love to hear about them.



Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sketchbook work

Abstract Shapes
This weekend I took a bit of a break from my nature mono printing to try something a little different. First of all I was very inspired by some videos I watched of Robyn McClelland. I only recently discovered her and her You Tube channel. She has lots of good ideas but I especially like her idea of creating an art journal and keeping at it every day. She does it while having her morning coffee.

I have never had much luck with art journals. I always start them and then put them aside. But I am going to try and set aside a little time each day to practice ideas that are not really ready for prime time. This spread was one of the ideas. I gel printed the shapes and then cut them up and layered them. I think it is interesting. What I find really interesting is the shape of the page spread. I always work on square panels but these shapes seem to work well in the odd elongated landscape format. As I say, it is practice to do these things and who knows if they will ever make it out of the journal! I can see these at a really large size.

The weather here is starting to cool off slightly. It is mostly noticeable in the early morning. I am looking forward to being able to go outside walking and hiking during the middle of the day!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Still working away.....

I know I have been very remiss in keeping up with this blog but I am going to try and start posting again at least once a week. These are some recent monoprint collages I have been working on. 

Life here in the desert is hot right now and I am looking forward to being able to go out during the day again! I get up at 5 AM right now to go bike riding so that by the mid afternoon I am ready to pass out from exhaustion! Well, soon it will cool off and I can go out whenever I want and sleep in later.

The good thing about being stuck inside all summer is that I get massive amounts of work done!

My Gel plate and I are still best of friends. I think that I have been gel printing now for at least 5 or 6 years and I find that I never get bored with it. There are always new things to try and to learn.

This Series is called "Sonoran Herbarium". Each one is numbered. I tried naming them all but it was too hard to keep track. So numbers seem to work best.


Sonoran Herbarium #41

Sonoran Herbarium #42

Sonoran Herbarium #43

Sonoran Herbarium #44

Sonoran Herbarium #45

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring in the Desert


Last week we went on a lovely wildflower adventure to Organ Pipe National Monument with a group from Tohono Chul Park. We had a lovely time with many stops on the way in order to observe and learn about all the plants which are beginning to blossom now that it is spring in the desert. Our leader was a very knowledgable woman who has written several books on plants and birds of the Southwest.

I tried to remember every plant we saw but there were so many, I lost track. I did however take some cuttings back to my studio in order to make mono prints from them.

The plant above is called Bladderpod. It makes for an interesting print. At least I think so. Not all plants make good prints but I am learning so many new plants and the experiments are never ending.

The colors I have used here are Burnt Sienna and Paynes gray open acrylics. I get such a nice print with the open acrylics. Very different than the regular fluid acrylics.

We had such a nice time that we signed up for a birding trip in April. The same woman will be our guide so I am really looking forward to that!


Monday, March 4, 2019

Cyanotype class

Brittlebush cyanotype

Oh that blue!

This past weekend I took a very interesting class on cyanotype. A local photographer, Nan Wollman, taught the class and I really learned so much. I never really understood what this process was all about and now I do!

Basically you mix specific chemicals, brush them on paper, and after they are dry you put your image or objects on top of the paper and set it outside in the sun under glass. Then you rinse the chemicals off and voila! Beautiful image!

I was the only person who brought plants. The others in the class brought "negatives" that they created by taking a photo, turning it into black and white and then printing it out on a laser printer on acetate. Then the acetate is placed on the treated paper and set in the sun. The black acts as a mask and remains blue or cyan and the white stays white. It is truly fascinating. I never knew that blue prints were the original cyanotype!

And after many years of being a graphic designer, I now understand what the C in CMYK really means! (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black)

Monday, February 18, 2019

February 18, 2019




A few of my pieces are currently on display at a local office building here in Tucson. They look lovely hanging as a grouping and I look forward to having more opportunities like this where my art is out in the public for anyone to see and appreciate.


Monday, February 11, 2019

This and that......

Hearts
Yesterday I took a really fun little mini class on Skillshare with Lucie Duclos. I love all her classes but this one is highly addictive! I have decided to use my hearts for our monthly potluck community dinner here. I am going to place them on the tables. I think they will look cute!

It was fun do do something just for the fun of it and no stress involved!

I am still working on collages every day as well as monoprinting with the local flora and fauna.

Here are a few of my recent collages.







Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I'm Baaaack




I really thought I could stop blogging. I guess I was wrong.

I have been enjoying the plants in the desert so much and making prints of them

I do enjoy living in the desert. There is so much to learn and explore.

In a few weeks I am going on a wildflower tour down to Organ Pipe National Monument. I am very much looking forward to that!

Stay tuned!