Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Selection of Prints

There has been another long silence. We were away overseas for a couple of months. We had a great time exploring, learning and meeting up with relatives. Getting back into the normal rhythms of life has been tricky.

I have been making art since our return of course, but “free” time has been taken up with the number 1 priority of sorting out the trip photos and diary, so writing about my art work kept being put down the “To Do” list. Now the photos are finally sorted and labelled and appropriately filed and it really is time to “take up the pen” again.

So this is a start….. Here is a selection of the prints that I have been working on. They are mixed media. Some are collagraph and pencil, others are linocut and pencil and yet others are a mixture of collagraph, linocut and collage. I have done about 8 prints using each plate. Every print is a “one off.” It has been slow work. The collaged prints in particular, involve much fiddly cutting and affixing of tiny coloured shapes. It is crazy to lavish so much time and attention on each print I know, but having come up with an idea, I find it hard to give up on it until I am satisfied with the result, no matter how much work is involved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Uses for heavy volumes

I started on the task of attaching all of the leaf shapes to the tiles a week or so ago. It is very slow and messy. Apart from a bit of “tweaking” the shapes are transferred at last. 

Obviously it would be a lot simpler to line everything up in the composition if I used a single large piece of paper in the background colour, glued everything onto that and then cut the paper into the 15 parts.

Sadly, life is never so simple. I have found from experience that sticking finished collage work onto tiles like this leads to bumpiness in the background paper (uneven pressure due to textured nature of the work I assume) and so I had to attach the background to each tile first and then add the leaf composition on top. The composition covers the whole 15 tiles and cutting bits for each individual tile independently didn’t make sense to me so instead I have large shapes, some covering several tiles. This means that to get the composition attached correctly, I have to work one tile at a time starting from the top left hand corner, line everything up on Tile 1, glue it down, cut off extraneous parts of leaves that belong elsewhere and then repeat the process with Tile 2,3,4 etc. It is all very taxing and really stretching my brain.

                         (Working panel by panel and cutting off the extraneous bits once set)

Many encyclopaedias are also being employed in the process. We have a set of large, heavy and ancient encyclopaedias that my husband inherited from his father who inherited them from a work colleague. When our children were young they used to enjoy dragging one of the encyclopaedias out and leafing through it, looking at the pictures and reading the strange, 100 year old information. Since they have grown up, no-one reads the volumes any more but they have not been forgotten or neglected. They are a perfect weight to put on top of work being glued to boards (tiles) and I use them a lot. Sometimes I have the whole set stacked up in my studio (luckily just across the passage from the bookcase where the encyclopaedia live) when I have an assembly line of work being mounted ready for exhibition or some other strange project, like this one, is underway.

                                               (The whole composition stuck to the tiles)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Rock, paper, scissors

Since early this year I have been slowly working on a 15 part (20 x 20 cm “tiles”), collage work, for my “leaf” theme. The piece is inspired by the many different, internal structure, patterns I have discovered in Eucalypt leaves when examining them closely.

It is going to take a while yet to get all of the parts of the leaf shapes attached to each other and then to the tiles but at least the majority of the delicate cutting is complete. It has been a long process. The cutting is not something I usually do in my studio during the day but rather in the evenings, sitting on the sofa and listening to an audio book, since the task is quite relaxing and does not require much brain power, but is so very time consuming.

Most leaf shapes in the collage consist of a background and a pattern layer. Where the pattern is fine, I may spend a whole evening on the cutting for just one leaf with my tiny pair of scissors. Cut paper shards pile up in my lap as I laboriously snip away and at the end of the evening when I stand up and brush myself down, a cascade of tiny paper fragments scatter across the floor. They are quite elusive and often evade my dustpan and brush. Sometimes I still find the odd fragment clinging to my clothes or wedged in between the sofa cushions or on the floor in some other part of the house, the following day.

I hope that all the hours of cutting are worth it in the end. Why do I do these things? I have no idea and I’m sure those aliens would have a question or two to ask about this strange human practise if they were looking down at me in my world. Oh well, it is all part of being an artist I suppose.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Lino wrangling

I am currently working on 3 different prints based on images of the microscopic structure of Eucalypt leaves. All of the prints involve both collagraph and lino cut. There is a collagraph layer to provide a background colour and then another image layer over the top, with the final printing over both being the lino cut, hopefully to bring everything together and provide greater definition.

It is all rather time consuming and, since I do not intend to produce a large number of prints, does not make economic sense, but I guess art rarely does. Each of the prints combines different colours so, no editions. The advantage of that I suppose is that the plates are re-usable and I can produce greater numbers of prints with little effort, in the unlikely event that there is a great demand for the works.

Producing the collagraph part of the work is easy but I still find wrangling lino hard going. I am continuing my hot water bottle trick to keep the lino supple, so there is regular ferrying to and fro from the kitchen, kettle boiling, pouring and restarting as the lino cools and the cutting gets harder. I did manage to put a small hole in the hot water bottle too when the cutting tool, slipped off the edge of the lino. The bottle is however still useable. It has now become the designated “lino cutting hot water bottle” and will live in my studio to ensure that no member of the family decides to warm their bed with it and gets a nasty surprise. To avoid further holes I have also instigated a practise of taking the bottle out from under the lino when cutting close to the edge of the plate.

Lino fragments fly and the studio floor is littered with them. My feet crunch whenever I stand up and the dustpan and brush have to be employed regularly. Since little brain power is required for the task I am listening to audio book after audio book as I score and gouge. Being transported to another world helps me not to notice how painstaking it is… and yes progress is slow but progress is definitely being made.

The things we do for our art….

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Off the Track

Art production has been somewhat slowed this month by various family commitments (eg: helping one son renovate and another remodel his garden), as well as Easter and a short holiday in Hobart, Tasmania.

My husband being my husband the holiday was not a time for relaxing but rather a time to walk and walk and walk and then, just for a little variety, to ride. My thighs were stiff from hours of over-strenuous clambering over rocks and bracing against steep descents.

On the art front, we did however go (ride) to the stunningly positioned Mona gallery in Hobart while on holiday and I took some interesting photographs of the reflection of surrounding landscaping and cars off the stainless steel entrance (see below). I also took close up photos of “leafy” things while walking and clambering at Hartz Mountains and Mt Field National parks outside Hobart, to extend the variety of “photo references” I have stored on my computer for the current theme, and which I will use to provide inspiration for art works in the near future (see below).

Remodelling a garden, if not art  is also enjoyably creative (and hopefully pleasing to the eye) but the renovating, especially the patching and sanding of walls, is just plain hard work.