Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ROADTRIP - The Workshop

Saturday and Sunday, June 19 and 20, I taught a Reduction Linocut Workshop at Oxbow Press in Reno, NV.  It felt like a challenge to try to accomplish a multi-color reduction print in just two days but I practiced with the fish and leafy sea dragon prints to see if I could print more than one color in a day.  With some success under my belt, and an easy registration system, off to Reno I went.  It was the most fun I have had in a long time.  There were 10 students, almost all printmakers but none well versed in reduction lino.  Everyone brought images to review and discuss the pros and cons of using for reduction linocut.  We used Gomuban, a product widely used in Japan, described as somewhere between ez cut and linoleum.  It is very easy to carve and will hold fine lines.  With the short time period, it made for a quicker cutting time.  The majority of the first day was preparation for printing, altho at the end of Day One, Miles was ready go and printed his first color.  On Day Two with two available presses, everyone printed.  And printed.  On one press, we could print 4 at a time.  So there was no waiting.  The artists decided to pull editions of 20.  Candace Nicol, director/founder/goddess of Oxbow generously allowed workshop participants time to come back to complete their prints.  Rossitza had printed 3 colors by the end of day 2.  Everyone spontaneously decided to do a print exchange with each other and come together in celebration with final prints at a party in August.  So the community of printmakers in Reno is alive and strong.  Miles Becker was the first to finish his print and he sent me a jpg of it which he has allowed me to share with you.  It is titled The Falcon.  I couldn't be more proud of such a fine first print.

I realize I may have gone on too much about this workshop, but it was my first solo teaching experience and it was huge for me.  It was such a good experience, I think I will keep on this path.  Thanks to the students in Reno and Candace and Vicki at Oxbow Press for throwing a fun and organized workshop in the middle of a major art event weekend.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ROADTRIP - The Beginning

My plan to blog enroute has failed.  I have returned home, and now I hope to make up for it.  My ROADTRIP took me from Phoenix to Vegas, to Reno to Shingle Springs CA to San Francisco to Riverside and home.
The trip started out about art but seeing family became the priceless part.

At the last minute Steve had to stay for more Census training so Marlys volunteered to be my road companion on the long drive to Reno.  Lucky for us, we got to spend a morning in Reno with Candace Nicol, the heart of Oxbow Press, a 2700 square foot haven for press-less printmakers.  Wanting to do something similar in Phoenix, we soaked up all the knowledge Candace shared about how Oxbow works, in some fine detail.  She is generous and open and just about the nicest person I have ever met.  She and her hearty crew (an impressive number of enthusiasts - is it the water in Reno???) turned an industrial looking metal building space into a fabulous creative zone...I could go on and on but you should just check out their website.

Here are some photos showing their space - the press room has two presses and a large print rack; the inking station room has tons of glass topped counter space and the work room was the classroom setup for my workshop.  More on that in the next installment.


Here are the 6th and final colors.  It is a leafy sea dragon I have named Prancer.  Overall I loved the process.  I used gomuban from McClain's instead of linoleum.  It is much easier to cut and does hold a fine line.  It only comes in one size so working larger than 11.75 x 15.75 wouldn't work.  But it is still a nice size for most of my typical prints.  I am already contemplating my next print...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fish Out of Water

It took 3 days for that orange ink to dry.  I am getting excited to see the final version - just two colors left.  I will post both of them together probably to drag out the last reveal.  I only have 3 days left before a trip to Reno and SF so it might not get finished until the end of the month.

If you see these blogposts from Facebook, my last post took 3 days to get posted to Facebook.  What's up with that???

Really you should quit reading now.  It has been so frustrating and I don't want to be one of those who rant...BUT - the bottom line was that Microsoft blamed HP and HP blamed Microsoft so we hired Data Doctors who have taken my laptop and external hard drive away to clean them up and reload everything.  It will be $400 at least. I can't believe how many times in one day I have wanted something that was on that computer.  BTW the Data Doctor rep blamed AVG, our security program.  We are switching to Webroot Antivirus.  Enough said.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Orange You Glad to See Me

(My title pays homage to OPI Nail Colors.) It was a tough cutting day today, time consuming.  Found a couple errors.  Will probably be more but I might get lucky.  The aqua ink was still a little tacky but I was anxious to put down another color after all that cutting.  It may not look like much, but there is a lot to line will make more sense at the end.
I mixed my color a bit differently from yesterday's four test strips.  I used orange, a little Miracle Gel and a bit of burnt umber.  All the inks I have used on this print have been oil-based relief ink from Daniel Smith.
The next cut will be easier, the sea horse body.  But I need to wait till the ink dries; even with cobalt drier it will probably take a couple days.  See you then!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Color Mixing

Today didn't go as I thought it would.  I imagined myself knocking out two or three more colors today.  Yet all I could manage was one.  Printing over green was an experiment.  I decided to go for a light aqua by printing what turned out to be a very light blue over the green.  I liked the color I ended up with but before I could print, I needed to cut away the areas I wanted to save as green.  As you can see from the line drawing (in an earlier post here) it is very detailed.  And confusing, I might add.  I made some changes along the way in what was cut and what was added.  But now I am left with making sure my improvisations don't leave behind glaring cutting errors.  Something Fishy was a whole lot easier to cut.
So my next decision was do I print orange next or a raw siena kind of color?  And how much will printing a not totally opaque orange have when printing over aqua.  When I mixed the two inks on the palatte, the white in the light blue made the orange turn coral.   So I prepared four different oranges, one pure, one with a little red, one with a lot of red and the second with a little umber added to it.  I needed a real test of printing on the actual print.  And frankly, I was a little surprised by my results.
The orange was dulled only a little.  They all came out a whole lot truer than I expected.
I noticed that the aqua was still wet and on this particular print I hadn't used any cobalt drier.  The orange didn't cover smoothly so I will have to watch that tomorrow.  Hopefully the aqua will be dry and I won't have any problems.  Tomorrow's challenge will be cutting the blue.  I have to say though, I love seeing the prints after cutting away another layer.  Secrets are revealed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Escape from Windows 7

Ever since my husband installed Windows 7 on my HP laptop, I haven't been able to use my printer.  Two weeks later after many hours of online help with both HP laptop support and HP printer support they finally gave up.  Then we bought a new printer and that didn't work either but Steve found a number for Microsoft.  Several days have passed and many tests and more referrals back to HP but finally Microsoft has owned the problem.  They want to reinstall everything.  So I escaped the stress of our home office to the studio to print blissfully away on the first two colors of the SeaHorse.  The colors here don't reflect the actual colors but you get the idea.

It is our 22nd wedding anniversary today so I had to leave the sanctuary of transfer-image-carve-roll-print to go home to find out my laptop now can't read the new external hard drive on which we must back everything up before the reinstall.  AAARgh!  We chucked it all and went out for a lovely dinner where we wondered what the world would look like 22 years from now.  It is amazing what has happened in the past 22 years.  Hopefully, we will start taking better care of the planet and all its inhabitants.

New Reduction Print

Spent all day yesterday working on color separations for my new reduction lino I am planning.  It is a dragon seahorse which I saw at the Newport Aquarium last year.  With this print I hope to be printing multiple colors in one day and am struggling now with the order to print them.  I have learned that to get a bright yellow you need to print that first and I have an orange that I think needs to be next.  But then I want a pale green and pale blue and have learned that over yellow a pale blue makes a pale green.  If I were just going on the values, the pale blue and green would be first then the yellow and then the orange.  Hmmmmph.  This will be interesting.  I am going to try to not have any expectations on what the colors really have to be.  Let's see what we get!

Registration Extension
The Phoenix Center for the Arts has extended the registration deadline for classes starting later in the summer.  So there is still time to register for my 6 week Solarplate Class which begins July 12th and the 8 week Reduction Linocut Class which starts June 30th.  Call 602 262-4627 to join in the fun!