Skip to main content

A New Place

I moved studios nine days ago,and am currently in the middle of setting things up in the new space. It's a process that will probably take until the end of the month, which in turn means that I won't get seriously into making new work until March. This is one of the reasons why I postponed moving from my last studio in Wicker Park, even though that one had been very unsuitable for me for a long time: I hate the whole moving thing, the waste of time involved in packing up boxes, throwing things out, moving, and unpacking the boxes at the other end.

But it's done, and now I have a clean slate to set up a new space in the way I want, and to try to get it right this time. The ceilings are very high in this space, so no more scraping the flesh off my scalp like I did many times in the previous space. I've got a printmaking area set up already (see photo above), and on Sunday I decided to give it a test drive, using an etching that I made in 1998:

It's a four inch x four inch copper plate, with a deep aquatint on it created by a combination of sugarlift, and marbling the plate by dabbing it onto stop-out resist floating on the surface of water in a dish (to create that swirling pattern).

The print that I took from the plate was as crisp as fifteen years ago:

So that's another piece of great advice that I got from my printmaking teacher in London: to preserve copper plates for a long time from oxidization (which turns the plates green, like statues left out in the open for centuries): coat the plates with a thick layer of vaseline.


  1. Hi Phillip

    I think maybe you are as enthusiastic about printmaking as I am although we all approach it in our unique ways. I tend to build images as I go along although sometimes they are more planned. Seeing this effect reminded me that MARBLING by floating the stop out u=in a tray of water , is something that I havent YET got around to doing ......I love this effect fact I often very much like organic effects. Have you played around with Lascaux 's A. R, E, (acrylic resist etch) products yet ............they are also very useful for collagraph applications. There's a chapter in Carol Robertson and Robert Adams "Intaglio" published by Thames and Hudson, which explains these very well. Its a book I would highly recommend. But having said that I'd not be surprised if you already know a lot of this already. Lovely proof. I find keeping steel plates a tad bothersome. Take care I ought to be blogging more often I seem to have lost my momentum with it. I have so many things to post about that I kind of don't know where to start plus I am so behind with edition projects. Cant wait to get those finished.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.

A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

I Did Nazi This Coming

Metropolitan Opera, New York: Parsifal Act III
Despite being a lifelong lover of and listener to opera, I've never had the ear for Wagner's music. I love hearing everything from Gluck up to John Adams, but skirted around or jumped over Wagner whenever the temptation presented itself.

I used the provocative 'N' word in the title of this post because one of the things that has always made me wary of the Bard of Bayreuth is the stain laid on it by its National Socialist admirers. That's not the only reason.

Reasons why I never liked Wagner:
The enormous length of his operas, often five hours plus. And my objection was not to the length per se, but to what it said about his musical language. For example, if like me you are steeped in Mozart's operative language, with its brilliance and variety and liveliness, Wagner's music can seem turgid and static by comparison.
The ridiculous medieval stories. Given the chance to watch Mozart or Puccini or Richard Strauss…