Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lino Meets Watercolour With A Little Drama On The Side

Library Square
linocut with watercolour
1 of 10
paper size 15x22
image size 12x12

Astoria Hotel
linocut with watercolour
1 of 10
paper size 15x22
image size 9x12

I've finally come up for air. I've been drawing, carving, printing and painting up a storm.  Today I hauled my first 11 completed linocut/watercolour images out into the sunshine to photograph them.  It was exciting, and not just because of the sense of accomplishment.  While I was shooting them in the alley across from the house I noticed some commotion on the street.  I looked up and saw 4 police cars and a whole bunch of coppers, and one very forlorn handcuffed dude standing in the middle of it all.  There were some 'goods' scattered about the street.  I thought immediately of my unlocked house 50 steps away. I picked up my stack of prints and the weights I was using to hold them flat, scurried home, locked the door and headed a block away to a less dramatic alley to finish shooting. 

It's very exciting being an artist.

A little about these:  They're drawn, transferred, then carved into linoleum blocks, printed on a big ol' wheel press by yours truly  at Malaspina Printmaker's Co-op on Granville Island (my new favourite hangout), using oil based inks. When they're completely dry, I paint each one with watercolour. The lino/watercolour images are marked in an edition of 10, but because they're hand painted every one is an original. I'm also printing additional runs of each plate in black (10) and in sepia (5) with no watercolour. I'll be showing the full series at my upcoming show - details to follow!  If you want a sneak peak, click on my flickr photostream over there on the right. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Reduction Success! An Easy DIY Register

YouTube is the best school ever. I watched a few videos on how to do a reduction print, sat down at the dining table and did this little run of 8 prints. They all worked!  I'm using  speedball oil based inks on watercolor paper. This image is 6x12. I ran the blue, then the red without waiting for drying time last night. I recarved the block then ran the black this morning. 
The process was pretty easy. I'm ready to try it with my more complex plates now. Not sure what I'll do with 8 of these. I thought I'd lose some to 'trial and error, but nope, they all survived. 

How I registered the paper:
I used a big piece of foam paper (mat board or foam core would work), cut it the same size as my paper, centered my block on it and cut a frame just big enough to fit the block into.   This was my register. 
I found a tray with raised sides and square corners big enough to hold the register.  A picture frame with square corners would work.  The raised sides hold your paper in place when you start to print. 
I tucked my register tight into the upper left corner of the tray, then tucked the inked plate tight into the frame. 
I just took each print, lined up the edge of the paper into the upper edge of the frame and gently laid it down and did the transfer inside the frame.  After each pull I checked that everything was pushed tight into the upper left hand corner of my tray.  Pretty simple, but it worked. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Carol Goes To The Musée

After a six month shopping hiatus (see 'start of nothing new' post) I cracked. Right before our France trip I went out and bought a series of dresses that I referred to as the 'Carol Goes To The Musée' dresses.  I just rotated these dresses pretty much the whole month I was away and always felt comfy and fashionable.  And I kept getting asked for directions so I think they must have been fairly 'location-appropriate'

I've been carving complicated Vancouver scenes on Lino blocks this past week getting ready for my show, but suddenly last night got the urge to do something simpler. I did this quick, basic sketch of the dresses directly on a block with a sharpie pen.

Writing backwards was fun.  I've got it all carved out now.  When my ink arrives I'll print and post the results. 

Funny, when I went to my college reunion last week I had a conversation with a classmate (Hi Pam) who told me about a book called "Lessons From Madame Chic: 20 Style Secrets I Learned While Living In Paris" by Jennifer L. Scott.  The writer keeps a blog too, and on it she extols the virtues of what she refers to as the 'capsule wardrobe' - keeping a seasonal wardrobe of only 10 items to simplify life and keep you effortlessly stylish. It made me think about how much easier it was getting dressed from a suitcase than it is from my bulging wardrobe, pressure-packed into my heritage house-sized closets. She might be onto something there.  

Now as I've been writing my shipment of ink and printmaking paper has arrived from Curry's online art supply store!  Time to go play. 

Ciao for now, or as my dresses would say, 'à tout à l'heure'.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

'La Tour' Page From the France Sketchbook

Another page from the France book.  This was sketched from a cafe table across the river from the tour (painted later). Greg says I should put a little 'cost' of each sketch in the form of adding our bar tab total in the bottom corner of each page.

Will post the book in its entirety soon.  I have a lot of bits and pieces I collected along the way that might still find their way in there.  Happy memories :)
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Upcoming Show- 'Hey, You Got Lino On My Watercolour!'

This September I'll be having my first art show in ages.  I had months to prepare, so of course I spent all that time thinking about what I was going to do and left only exactly enough time to complete the whole project before I could begin (sound familiar anyone?).  I've been working like a maniac for the past week now.  I can't really show you anything, but I wanted to share my excitement.  I was having a hard time deciding whether I wanted to concentrate on watercolour or on printmaking when I had one of those 'you got CHOCOLATE in my PEANUT BUTTER!' moments.  Why not combine them?  I did some research with the help of mr. google, and discovered my new fave artist, Belinda Del Pesco.  She combines the two masterfully.  I looked through my old print stash and found a few images relief-printed on Stonehenge printmaking paper.  I tried throwing a little colour on them.   I was surprised at how well the paper took the washes, and that the ink didn't bleed at all!  I also really liked how the colour helped define the space. 

So now I've embarked on a carving festival, working on a series of 12 Vancouver images, mostly to do with community and gathering places.  I learned a cool way to transfer my drawings more accurately onto the linoleum - check out this video from artist Julia Forsyth.  All housework has ceased, our giant dining table is covered in test prints, inks, chunks of linoleum, breyers and reference sketches.  Our front and back decks are covered in tiny little curls of carved-out linoleum, and there are piles of heavy art books stacked around the house squishing things flat.  I sit outside and carve until my hands can't take it anymore, then come inside and work on sketches, ideas and research.  It's so FUN!

When I print at home I usually use Speedball Block Printing Ink.  It's water-based, easy to clean up and, it turns out, completely unstable if you add watercolour on top.  So now I'm waiting for a shipment of paper and ink to come from Curry's and will be carving away until it gets here.  Show is scheduled for September 15th.  More details to come. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Moulin Rouge

Our month in Europe has come to an end and we've settled back into our Vancouver life. We have ten people coming for dinner tonight. That's actually a pretty typical Sunday here, but after a month of eating in restaurants, being cooked for and picnicking in parks, it was a brain shift to get back into entertaining mode.  

I took some time out from cleaning and prepping this morning to flip through my trip sketchbook.  Happy memories. This sketch is from one of our last days in Paris.  We sat at a cafe across from this scene for hours sketching and watching life come and go. While the Moulin Rouge has been completely gentrified (I'd be comfy taking my mother to the show) the street is still pretty red-light. One aging hooker working the corner beside our table came and went several times while I sketched this. The sky gradually darkened and the lights came on. It's such an iconic site.  Tourists kept stopping in front of us to take each other's picture with the  windmill in the background. After all the miles we've put on walking the street of Paris we're both pretty content to just sit, drink,our beers and soak it all in.