Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Drypoint

Edge of the Field
5 x 6

This week I've been working on drypoints again. I've talked about this here (and how it differs from etching) but I thought I would show a few images of the actual process. Here is the plate with three of the tools I use to work the plate. The squiggley one has a point on each end and is called a Whistler's needle. The flat part on the one on the right is a burnisher which you can use to soften or eliminate lines on the plate.

The paper is soaking in a water bath before it is used. After its soaked for about an hour, you take it out and blot it until it's damp but not dripping. Then you are ready to print.

Here is the ink being mixed on a glass palette. This is Daniel Smith burnt umber etching ink with Easy Wipe added- a substance which helps make the ink more workable.

Here the plate is being warmed up on a hot plate. This will make the ink easier to apply and manipulate (especially since it was about 45 degrees in my studio today!).

I am applying the ink to the surface of the plate with a cloth dauber. The entire surface is covered and wiped in each direction so the ink can find its way into all the lines as well as the burrs thrown up by the needle. Unlike an etching where you could wipe and rub pretty vigorously, with a drypoint you have to use a lighter touch to apply and wipe the ink.

Here is the plate after I have started wiping the ink but before its completely finished. I forget to take a photo at the end!

The plate is on the press waiting for the paper (which is in the bath at the right) to be laid on top. The blankets (which you can see laid back over the roller) are then placed on top and the tension adjusted to an even pressure and the press bed rolled through.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meanwhile Up on the Hill
8 x 10
Available at Huff Harrington Fine Art
, Atlanta

For those in the Atlanta area, Huff Harrington hosts A Grand Affair opening this Friday, January 21 , with small works priced at $1000 and under.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Workshop in Taos

As many of my blog readers know, I lived in New Mexico for over five years. Although I am completely immersed in the landscape around me now, I still see New Mexico as a beautiful, magical place. So, when I got the opportunity to organize a workshop in Taos, I didn't hesitate!

The location for the class is a beautiful private home equipped with two large studios in Ranchos de Taos. It's surrounded by the gorgeous high desert and views of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. There are affordable accommodations nearby. The workshop is scheduled for September 19-23, 2011, which should put us at just the right time to view the breathtaking color of the turning cottonwoods and aspen.

This five day workshop will combine some outdoor work with studio time. We'll draw and sketch in the field, then return to the studio to compose well designed underpaintings and learn indirect painting techniques like glazing and scumbling to create luminosity and atmosphere.

Light lunch will be supplied each day and we will also have a couple of evening sessions to talk art history and the business of art.

The workshop is beginning to fill. A $150 deposit holds your spot in the class, with the remainder due 45 days prior to the start of the workshop. Please email if you have any questions. You can sign up here (scroll down to Taos workshop).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

Yesterday a big storm blew through leaving six inches of snow (unusual for us). We've had snow about once a winter since we moved here, but it always warms up and is gone within a day or less. But, cold weather is supposed to hang around for a few more days so today was a snow day! We went out to explore late this afternoon. I was particularly struck by the rusts and ochers in the trees and grasses, against the violet sky and cool expanse of the snow. I came home with more than a few ideas for paintings and etchings or drypoints.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Birding

Black Capped Chickadee
2 1/2 x 5 1/4
graphite on sketch paper

Bird watching is one of the simple pleasures of winter. We have an abundance of subjects to watch at the feeder and bird bath these days. The usual suspects- chickadees, titmice, juncos, robins and cardinals. But, the cedar trees and a huge old mulberry tree on our property also make this home to bluebirds, pine warblers, cedar waxwings, several species of woodpeckers and the elusive yellow belly sapsucker. Still, the little chickadees remain my favorites.

The new online class Painting Water starts next month. You can click here for information and registration.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More About Memory

Edge of the Field II
8 x 10
Available at Huff Harrington Fine Art

This small painting was done from memory. Working from memory is a skill that can be acquired with practice. It requires careful observation over extended periods of time. Why is this important? Memory is a powerful aid in helping us separate the things which are visually compelling as opposed to merely present in a scene which interests us.

To illustrate this point, in my workshops, I ask students to close their eyes and remember a very significant event (this can be visual but doesn't have to be). So, go ahead-close your eyes and think of something in your life like that and try to see it in your mind's eye. When you do that, you will remember and "see" details about that event even though it may be far removed in time. But, if you try to remember things that are extraneous to the event- the weather, what you had for lunch that day- those memories will be gone. That is because your memory has distilled and intensified the most important aspects of the event. This can be an incredibly powerful tool in making art. We just need to learn how to use it.