Monday, April 26, 2010

More Mono-prints and a sketch

Why have I avoided drawing my grandson?  I have no idea but I finally did a quick sketch this weekend.  We had been out with the kids for a family photo session in a woodland park here in Grand Haven, Duncan Park.  The outdoor air wore the little guy out so while the rest of us were having breakfast, he was snoozing.

warner 4 24_edited-1

I’m going to have to do a painting one of these days. 

Meanwhile, I’m really loving the monoprinting.  Here are a few of my favorites from the 10 I did on Friday.

Flea Market Series #8 Marine Memories

Artisans Gallery #2

Remembering Holy Island 2

Now that I’ve seen how they come out using the press I really want to go back and do repeats of some that I did before.  They won’t be the same and I really like both results.  Here is an example of the last one done using a different format and printing by hand.

Remembering Holy Island

Do you have a preference?  These are for an exhibit that is opening at the Gallery Uptown May 7.  There will be 10 watercolor artists in the exhibit, all the same medium but vastly different in style.  It’s going to be an interesting exhibit.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What a difference a press makes

This has been a great week, busy but good things happened.  I had my grandson two days which is always good but I also got a lot of art done.  I’ve been doing watercolor monoprints and printing by hand.  I’ve posted some in the past.  This week I did several plates and my good friend Annie Morgan suggested I print them using her press.  That’s what I did today and here they all are hanging on the line drying. 

prints drying 3 prints on the line

I still need to scan, cut mats and frame.  So far I’ve gotten one scanned, “The Gang’s All Here.”

The Gang's All Here

I love doing this and I’m happy with the results, especially now that I know I can use a press to print them.  I’ve been doing small ones, this is the largest and it’s just 8 x 8.  This is something I can do while my grandson is here because it’s fairly portable.  At least one of those I finished today is a repeat of one I had done before and printed by hand.  I’ll post those when I get the scanning done.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mixed Media Symbol

Beatitudes Symbol

No, this isn’t the instructions on using the hand sanitizer for a transfer.  I’m still working on that; however, I did use the technique in this piece.

I did this piece as a symbol of the rule or way of life to which I feel called through the Beatitudes.  Back in 2008 I joined a group at our church for a study called “Companions in Christ, A small-group experience in spiritual formation.”  It started as a 26 week study.  We finished that first one in 2008 but wanted to keep going and found that there were  several more short studies, part of the same Companions program.   Nine of us are still studying together, challenging ourselves, learning, gaining strength in our faith, questioning.  It’s a great experience, I love everyone one of my 8 other companions and look forward to beginning yet another study next Sunday.  

But before going on to the next study, the last one was on the Beatitudes and making the symbol was the final assignment.   In the study I learned that I am not nearly as well grounded in my faith as I thought I was, there is so much more room to grow.  I made this small wall hanging to hang in a place where I see it every morning when I’m getting ready for my day and every evening when as I get ready for sleep. 

I started with an image of an encaustic painting that I had done awhile back.  I transferred the image to cotton fabric using the hand sanitizer.   I quilted that piece, attached it to a piece of ultra suede which I attached to a piece of lutradur that I had been experimenting with, then a piece of unbleached muslin and finally another quilted piece that I had in my stash of stuff that I didn’t know what I was going to do with.  The words were added under the window… “Window Open, Mind Open, Searching, Creating, Praying.”  These are the things I need to remember, to concentrate on. Searching or learning is represented by the trellis which I’ve made into a ladder.  I’ve put some breaks in it to remind me that falling is ok, I can get back up and there are some places that it would be difficult to step on to remind me that I can keep going even if the road is bumpy.  The last piece I added is a charm dangling on the side, a fish, a reminder that He is always with me.

Now I’m looking forward to the next study, this time we’re moving away from the Companions Series, doing “Invitation to the Psalms.”  I’ll also be working on the instructions for the transfer technique.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Watercolor Mono-print how to

Watercolor mono-prints are a fun thing to do and anyone can do it, no drawing skills required.  Of course, if you are able to draw you can do that but it isn’t essential.  I like doing small ones, especially now that I have my grandson here, I can put him in his snuggie on the kitchen table and chat while I work.  But you want to know how to do it, not what I do while I’m doing it.

Here are two examples of prints I’ve done.  Two of these are from photographs which is the method I’m going to show you.  The other is from a sketch in one of my sketchbooks and I show you that just to show you that you have other options.

print flea market 2   still life print


First you’ll need a few basic supplies and they are easily obtainable.  A piece of plexi-glass is the plate the size of your photograph and you’ll need sandpaper to prepare the plate.  One side gets sanded so it will hold the paint.  Your local glass cutter or picture framer will cut you a piece of plexi whatever size you need.

prepare the plate

The other supplies you’ll need are print paper, watercolor paints, a paint brush or watercolor crayons and a container to soak your paper in.  Also helpful but not essential is gum arabic and a chamois

supplies for monoprint paper soaking

Cut your paper a bit larger than your photograph, you want some white space around the image and you want room to crop just in case you don’t put the paper on the plate straight.  Put the paper in the pan of water to soak while you’re working on your plate.  Also, if there is something in the photograph that shouldn’t be reversed, like a word, reverse the photograph before you make your plate.  When you print it’s going to be backwards. 

If you have the gum arabic and chamois, put a drop on the plate and rub it around to completely cover the plate.  It acts as a release and supposedly the paint comes off the plate easier.  I’ve done it with and without and haven’t had a problem either way.  Let the gum arabic dry before you start applying the watercolor to your plate.

Once it’s dry put the plate over your photograph.  Now you can see why you don’t need to know how to draw, you’re going to paint the image you see the colors you see.  Don’t be skimpy with the paint, you want more paint than water in your watercolor and if you’re using the crayons, softer is better.  Caran d'Ache and Stabilotone are the two I like best.  I’ve also used Staedtler Watercolor Crayons but I find them harder to work with.  It isn’t necessary to finish it all in one sitting, when you print the paper is going to be damp and the paint will dampen and move off the plate to the paper.  Here you can see the finished plate and the photograph.

finished plate and photo

Now that the plate is ready, get your paper out of the pan, blot it with paper towel.  You want it damp, not wet.  You’ll also need one more piece of equipment, a wooden spoon.

plate paper spoon

Put your plate down on something that will keep it in place.  Rubber shelf padding works; you don’t want the plate to move while you’re printing.   Now carefully lay the paper down on the plate and rub it softly with your hand to marry the paper and the plate.  Once it’s down, rub it with the back of the spoon.  You can hold one side down and carefully lift a corner to peek and see if you’ve rubbed enough.  When you see that you’ve rubbed enough pull the paper off and set it aside to dry.  When it’s dry, frame it.