Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bat: The first print

Today, I printed the first print on my new Takach press.  Well, to be honest it's on indefinite loan not really mine, but it's as good in that I get to use it.  It's a table top Takach, but will accommodate up to a 30" x 22" paper, and anything much bigger than that I can print at work.

The move was not quite as epic and demanding as I had expected given that the press is mostly aluminum, so it was doable for only two or three people to move it, though very heavy. My boss helped us move it out of Josephine Press, and then my partner (Jason), my friend Tim Musso and I moved it up into my loft.  Luckily, we have a freight elevator in our building.


Our cat, Mulcifer, immediately inspected the new addition to his domain and found it satisfactory.

The first print, a wee little linocut of a bat, is something I could also have printed on my other press, a wee tank of a thing that has served me well in the past, but I really wanted to get started on the Takach and not put it off until I had something really impressive to print.

The bat is printed on Arches 250 cover with rubber based ink, and paper size is 5" by 7", and I watched Poirot on Mystery! the whole time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Many little skulls

My boss sort of volunteered me to donate some artwork to yet another charity show.  I think people are beginning to believe that I am far more charitable than I actually am.
Anyhow, the theme of this show is seasonal, Halloween, and they specifically requested that we price our items low.  At the printshop where I work, we recently printed an edition of intaglio prints for the artist Aron Wiesenfeld and had stacks of narrow strips of Arches paper.  So, inbetween being a helpful instructor during my monoprint class, I made little tiny skull monoprints.  I started with reductive style monoprint inking:  I inked the plate with a solid layer of black, and created the image by selectively removing ink.  After printing the first skulls, I reworked the "ghost," the residue of ink left on the plate.

The charity show opens this Friday, October 26th at Pop Gallery.

I made these two little prints on the same day as part of the demo.  The witch is by request from one of the students.

Monday, October 08, 2012

"Donkey" Collagraph Print

22" x30"
Carborundum Grit Aquatint Collagraph on Rives BFK

I finished this collagraph last week, just three days before its intended unveiling.  It was made for an auction, raising funds for the Obama campaign.  I had an impassioned speech that I gave at the request of the hosts, but I will spare you it, readers.

This collagraph is a carborundum grit aquatint: this style of collagraph involves painting with sand and glue, using a drawing as guide, onto a plate and then rubbing ink into the surface.  The sand holds the ink and the glue is slick so it won't adhere.  The plate is then run through a press transferring the ink from plate to paper.

Here's a picture of the plate while being made, with help from my cat Mulcifer.  You can see the drawing that I used as the guide while I painted on the glue and carborundum.  While I work, I have three separate bowls of glue and sand:  one just glue, one with small amount of carborundum, and one with heavy carborundum.  I also use a separate paint brush for each mixture. 

Here's the actress Jennifer Lewis auctioning off my piece.  She was hilarious and amazing for all 2 hours of the auction.

And a few more making of photos, this time without a cat.  I printed an edition of 5 with one artist's proof at Josephine Press.  To get a really good print, I should have done primarily handwipe on the plate, but wiping the carborundum is like wiping sandpaper so I used tarlatan followed by tons of paper wiping.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More monoprints from the monoprint class

These guys were described as "thumb people" by my students when I made them last.  I was demonstrating basic monoprint process to some artists new to the medium, and then spent my downtown reworking and printing the ghost (the residue of ink left on the plate from the previous print) and printing on scraps of paper.  The shop I work in has been around for a few decades now, so the scraps of paper have built up considerably.

I have a million of these little demo prints from the monoprint class I teach every other Saturday and now I'm starting training to take over the etching class as well.  I have no idea what to do with them all. Suggestions?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Monoprint Workshop

I run a monoprint printing session at Josephine Press, and last weekend I had a  couple of new people, so I got to do some mini demos of the basic techniques.  To the left, the first image is demonstration reductive inking for the figure, additive inking for the blue background, and stencils for the halo.  Next to it is the ghost print.  A ghost print is a print when only the residue left on the plate is printed. It always takes artists used to working painting on canvas and panel awhile to get accustomed to painting on plexiglass for monoprint, but at this point in my career, I'm far more adept at using the plexiglass.

I'm trying to get people to work more with multiple plate printing, so the second print I demonstrated I made sure to use two plate.  The green background and the figures body were printed first, followed by the hands and face for the second print.

Last picture are the stencils I cut. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Collagraph: "Raven"

I just wrapped up a four day, four week, collagraph workshop at Josephine Press. You can see examples of some of my student's work on the JP blog, here. Collagraphs are pretty fun, especially for someone new to printmaking. The plates are made out of all manner of stuff, much of it just garbage, and all glued down to a simple, cheap substrate like chipboard. I tore the back off an old calendar for this one. After gluing all the pieces down to the substrate, the plate is sealed with a couple of layers of acrylic medium to protect it from the ink and solvents applied to it. I made two demo prints for the class. The first was a little house print, and the second was this raven collagraph. The plate is made with modeling past on a chipboard substrate. I cut the chipboard to the shape of the raven and then messed around with acrylic modeling paste to get the feathers and other features of the bird. Below are two prints, the the raven printed in conjunction with another plate, and then the ghost print of just the raven.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Monotype: "The Crowd, II"

This is the third of the monotypes I made for my recent solo show at GCAC, The Disagreement. I drew my sculptures for it, and tried to place them in a world that gave them a little illustrative mentions without removing them from the gallery context. Which is to say, I wanted the environment I put them in in the monotype to mimic the sterility of the gallery. Here's the sculpture, "They've Already Left," depicted in the print, with and without hordes of people:

Monday, July 02, 2012

Catman print from linoleum scraps

I've been doing my best to get Josephine Press tidied up this summer. The Press has been around, and in the same location, for nearly as long as I've been alive, so you can imagine that there are little bits of all sorts of things hidden away, some of them useful and some of them useless and long since expired. Like ink, for instance. I just found a drawer full of little pots of lovely custom colors some printer mixed up for a client years ago, all of them dried into solid lumps. But I also found a cache of linoleum scraps. They were destined to be thrown out, but I decided to try to use them to make some wee prints with. I can carve a little image in a sitting, and then print it when I have some downtown or after a workshop. This fellow I printed with the ink left over from the monoprint workshop last weekend, and used paper left over from old jobs (offprints and trial proofs, we have boxes of it) and some pretty blue hemp washi left over from a previous edition.

These are intended for postcards that I'll send to my friends who may already be tired of receiving postcards, but let me know if you're interested in doing a trade (print for print or something like that) because I'm up for it.

Techniques represented: linocut, and on the found paper: bokashi roll, screenprint, lithograph, photo etching, monoprint, and xerox solvency transfer.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"The Crowd I" Monotype

This is a monotype from my last solo show, The Disagreement. Like the last one, it's on 29" by 41" Arches paper and made with rubber based black ink, cut with varying degrees of flash oil.  For such a simple image, it took me ages to draw.  Keeping edges and the plate clean is a struggle with monotype, so I always had a bottle of isopropyl alcohol on hand to help tidy up fingerprints and to dip a Q-tip into to sharpen up the edges.
In printmaking, a print designates that something is reproducible in some way.  A monoprint is a print that is one of a kind, but incorporates something reproducible, like if I had used a woodcut or stencil in conjunction.  But, since this is entirely hand painted before printing, it is a monotype. My friend Tim Musso and I just started having a monthly crit group. We met for the first time last night, and discussed each other's recent work and then set goals or homework for ourselves to fulfill by the time we meet next month. I showed him this and two other monotypes. One of my issues is the need to have small sellable work that can compliment my sculpture without distracting from it or being too illustrative. I don't know yet if these fulfill those requirements for me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Didn't Know" Monoprint

This monoprint, entitled "Didn't Know," is on 29" by 41" Arches paper and made with rubber based black ink, cut with varying degrees of flash oil.  It took me about 8 hours to paint it onto the plexiglass plate using Q-tips, bits of rag, and a brush, and then printed it in a single pass. Layering a few more plates of ink onto it would probably look good, but I don't trust my single person registration skills on a piece this large.

The figure mimics the sculpture "But I didn't know" though the monoprint was made after the sculpture, not as a preparatory study.

Here's a girl having her picture taken in front of it like it's a tourist destination: