Skip to main content

From the Studio, Part Whatever

At the end of 2010, I began working on a set of 18" x 24" panels, that I posted about here regularly during the first few months of working on them. Gradually, I posted less and less, as I got stuck with them and worked on them less and less. But every six months or so since then, I have taken some of these panels out and worked a little more on them, to the extent that the first coat is now buried beneath many layers of stuff.

Well, god help me, I pulled one of them out today, and worked on it for a day:


If I can recall correctly, the media that I've used over three years are: acrylic paint, acrylic gels and medium, airbrush pigment, gesso, modelling paste, ink, and oil pastel. If I used a texture, or I drew a shape, what I had in mind were things to do with coal, and mining, just the same as the short film I just completed. Some of the abstract marks still derive ultimately from remembered shapes of machinery, pipes, and so on.

For this latest foray, I took out lots of work on Japanese paper (ink drawings and prints), tore them into strips, and began collaging them to the surface using acrylic medium. It produces a pleasing extra layer of tone and texture, covering up the preceding layers but not entirely. Here is a close-up of one part:


The fibres of the paper are working with the black ink and acrylic paint underneath. I like the effect, though who knows whether I will call this picture 'done' -- after three years! -- or whether I'll keep working on it until 2016.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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.

Restoring my Printing Press

I've just finished restoring and assembling my large etching press -- a six week process involving lots of rust removal, scrubbing with steel wool, and repainting. Here is a photo of the same kind of press from the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative:


And here is a short YouTube video of me testing the press, making sure the motor still works after nearly seven years of lying in storage:


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…