This year I joined the Uforge Gallery artist collective and our first group show opens this Thursday!
The First Thursday Art Walk is a great event in Jamaica Plain where one can visit businesses and galleries on South and Centre Streets in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood in Boston to view art, check out bands and sample products from local businesses.
The reception for the Member Collective Showcase is September 4th, 6-8 pm. The show will run until the end of the month.
Go here to check out the Uforge Gallery website.
My work will be featured in the Juror’s Choice show at Uforge Gallery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts during the month of August. The opening reception will be Thursday, August 7th 6-8 p.m.
I will also be participating in 21st annual Jamaica Plain Open Studios this year, the weekend of September 20 – 21. I will be set up inside at the First Unitarian Universalist Church at 8 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain, MA.
Hope to see you there!
The plate has been worked and now I’m moving into the printing phase. My plan is for the final print to be in color and I’ve been experimenting with color applications and different papers. The colors I’ve chosen are a mixture of sepia, burnt sienna and lamp black for the background:
Madder lake and yellow ochre for the lantern and surrounding area:
A thin wash of permanent yellow lake and yellow ochre is applied with a soft roller (it can be seen in the upper right-hand corner of the photograph below).
The method of inking I’m using is called a la poupée. The colored ink is applied directly to the plate in the areas that I want colored and worked into the areas with the tarlatan. The word “poupée” comes from the small felt “doll” that is often used to work the ink into the small areas of the plate. I usually use small pieces of mat board that have been cut to different sizes. The color roll is applied after the surface of the plate has been inked and wiped. In this way, the plate is only run through the press once to create the print with multiple colors.
I’ve been adjusting the color combinations within the different groupings and I’ve put up photographs here of the results. There will be at least another week of experimenting until I find something that conveys the feeling I’m looking for!
I always find it very exciting to pull the first test print from a new plate, especially when I’m working with a new technique. I pulled a test print from the mezzotint plate I’ve been working and am pleased with the results thus far.
I’ve been applying the scraper and burnisher very lightly because I’m still developing a feel for how the scraping and burnishing affect the plate and it is better to work from light to dark than to try to recover dark areas lost.
The print is very dark but there is much subtle detail in the back that I intend to leave as is. Other areas I need to work further and bring the light into.
Detail from upper right-hand corner.
Here is a side by side view of print and plate.
I often work on more than one plate at a time. I enables me to work creatively in different ways. The mezzotint work requires a very methodical and precise way of working. To counter this, I started working on some collagraph plates. A collagraph (from the word collage) is a printmaking plate that is created through materials like mat board, paper, gesso, string and anything one can think of to create a texture.
To prepare the plates, I coat both sides of the mat board in gesso three times, letting the board dry in between each coat. I use the insides from mats I have cut so the edges are already beveled. When I begin to attach my materials I use either Elmer’s glue or acrylic medium. I only use the glue if the surface will not be exposed because the glue is water soluble.
For these collagraphs, I am working from a sketch. Unlike the mezzotint, I did not reverse this picture but am working directly from the sketch.
The base of the plate is mat board that has been gessoed and allowed to dry. The other materials I’m using are modeling paste, sandpaper, carborundum grit, thread, sand and whatever else I pull out of my materials box that will give me the texture I need. Collagraphs made this way require lots of dry time which allows me to go back to work the mezzotint during long periods of drying.
The second piece is being constructed from remnants of the first collagraph. I liked the shapes left behind from the materials I was cutting and decided to carry them over into another collagraph that would echo the shapes from the first.
Here is a close up of a piece of the collagraph 1.
After working the plate this past week, I inked and printed a test print. The ink was applied with a roller and worked into the plate texture with a clean piece of tarlatan, which is a stiff, open-weave cotton fabric used in printmaking.
For the print, the image I’m using is from a trip to Kyoto I took years ago. I worked out a sketch and then reversed the hand-drawn image on the computer to use as a reference while working the plate. I then drew the image on to the plate using the reversed reference. The thing to remember in printmaking is whatever is created on the plate will print in reverse. I wanted to keep the composition the same as in the drawing so I went through the effort to reverse it for the plate.
The tools I will be using for creating the image on the copper plate are a scraper and a burnisher.
The scraper will scrape the burrs from the surface plate to bring out the grey tones. The burnisher will flatten the burrs and polish the copper plate and create areas of white. You can see from the photo that the tools are tapered at the end, enabling one to work small areas and bring out details.
After my last post, a friend of mine expressed interest in this process so I decided to add more detail on how I’m creating the matrix plate for my mezzotint.
Here is a close-up of the serrations on the rocker.
This will give you an idea of how small the grooves are. When the rocker is “rocked” across the plate, those small indentations will pit the surface of the metal plate.
This is what is meant by “rocking”. It’s quite literal! The rocker is held perpendicular to the plate and rocked back forth while moving it slowly down the plate.
This is my “cheat sheet” so I can keep track of the directions of the rocking. Once the entire plate is rocked in each of these directions, the surface should be suitably rough and, when inked, it should print a velvety black surface.
This is the current state of the plate. Once I’m finished with the rocking, I will do a test print to determine whether any more work will need to go into the surface.