Saturday, March 31, 2012



I am so exhausted after working today at the UofA Community Garden.  These students are volunteers from a lot of different areas, engineering, business, art, etc.  They spent a large part of the day shoveling dirt. We paid for 2 small plots and just finished planting seeds this evening.  A bit sunburned and tired but had fun.   They sift it through wire fencing to get the large stuff out of the dirt. That's Andy "tamping" the soil down between plots.  They raise the walkways between the planting beds so that the rain will naturally run into the garden/seeded areas.  I will try to photograph the our garden when I can.

Checking the Stone for Wedge Shape...

Before I grain I try to check the stone for levelness.   I use an inexpensive digital caliper.

After going around the edge about 4 inches apart, I check it again to confirm the measurement.  Then I know if one side is higher than the other.  This can cause a problem when printing.  An uneven or wedged stone will not print evenly and will be difficult to adjust the pressure of the scraper bar.  As Paul Croft says, "Beware of the wedge".

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Queen For a Day", finished...

I finished collating and signing this print yesterday.  It was shipped today.  2 more editions before I leave.  Should be graining my stones as we speak. Maybe I'm regrouping.
5th color yellow printed

I added 10mm of pure glycerin to prevent scumming and to keep the plate wetter longer. The 80 degree heat is causing the plate to dry sooner.  This means that I can only make two passes for each set of rolls before it drys and wants to take ink in the wrong areas.  I also "dry sponged" after the last roll to prevent offsetting on the plate from the previous color printing.

Phil looks like a rug here.  He always, always gets in the path of my printing.  I have to step over him to get to the tympan and the backing sheets.  But I never have the heart to move him.  He wants to be near the action.  People who print with us have to learn to step over and around him, too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I'm printing again...

  Trying to finish this print by Monday.  Two more colors to print, yellow gold and sky blue.

After a long period of not printing due to circumstances out of my control, I'm back in the studio again, YEAH!!!  I have 2 more editions due in April.  Also will try to get another one done before I leave for a trip to Wisconsin, an incredible print school. Really looking forward to working in their shop.  Plus, the added bonus of hanging out with a lot of amazing printmakers.
Andy is printing his edition this am.  We have an agreement that he prints in the mornings at L VIS Press and I print in the afternoons.  It works.  Need to buy some new sponges before I start printing the gold this afternoon.  Our favorite cellulose sponges are from ACE hardware. About 2 months ago I noticed that a student was using rubber sponges and they wondered why their ink wasn't going down smoothly.  I know they were told to get cellulose.  Just a little thing that can make things not work. 

Visit to the local market...

Exotic dried beans in a mix called Jack & The Bean Soup... cute brand. 
They recommended crockpot but we slow cooked on stovetop.  Great flavor.
We've quit eating a lot of sugar but these cactus syrups and jellies were enticing.

A solar oven they were using at the market.  They work well here, except for the monsoon season. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Feeling a bit of this lately...


After all the recent activities with the Republican party about women's 
healthcare issues and  as well as Rush Limbaugh's ridiculous comments 
about women as "sluts" and "over-educated" I've reached my limit.  
Rebecca West nailed it!

Cicely Isabel Fairfield (21 December 1892–15 March 1983), known by her pen name Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, DBE was an English author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. She reviewed books for The Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Sunday Telegraph, and the New Republic, and she was a correspondent for The Bookman. Her major works include Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), on the history and culture of Yugoslavia; A Train of Powder (1955), her coverage of the Nuremberg trials, published originally in The New Yorker; The Meaning of Treason, later The New Meaning of Treason, a study of World War II and Communist traitors; The Return of the Soldier, a modernist World War I novel; and the "Aubrey trilogy" of autobiographical novels, The Fountain Overflows, This Real Night, and Cousin Rosamund. Time called her "indisputably the world's number one woman writer" in 1947. She was made CBE in 1949, and DBE in 1959, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to British letters.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Printing the little stone...

I am debating how to set this up on the press.  Because the edges are not very straight the entry under the press becomes a bit of a quandary.  This is the second smallest scraper bar we have. 
Last night, I scratched away a quarter of an inch border and scratched away the nose and mouth of the woman then I etched it with a spot hot etch (15 drop). The extra hot gum etch around the edge of the stone and her face were after I made an overall 4 drop etch (buffed tight).
One strange phenomenon is that we have a gallon of gum arabic that turns a deep purple when you add nitric acid.  I have been using it even though it looks strange at the moment you are etching but dries with that usual brown color.
Wish me luck today.  Plan to print a small edition of about 24.  The final edition is 14.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Graining Stone...


I did a bad thing...I drew an image on my "graining stone".  Beware when doing that.  The jagged edges are a problem, even though I filed them, it's just not a square stone.  I may try to build a housing to frame the stone before running it through.  My smallest tympan is too small and the next size is too large.  Well anyway I etched it a short while ago .  The edition size is small 20 prints that are 5"x7".

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Stone Whisperer, Melanie Yazzie

It's Spring in our desert.  I am lucky enough to own one of Melanie's magical ceramic animals. 

"Growing Stronger"

"Luna My Favorite"

"Spring Walks in Iowa"

"Pedro Belongs to Nezbah"
This is the work of one of the most influential artists in my life, Melanie Yazzie (I borrowed these images from other sites).  One wonderful day many years ago in Arizona, I had the pleasure of working with her in her studio.  I've NEVER seen someone so fluid and spontaneous! Her lack of inhibition is one of the reasons her work is so beautiful, the color, her invention of magical beings. Her storytelling and iconography give me a glimpse into the feminine mystique of an indigenous woman.  She helped me to see things more clearly, to follow my instincts and not to be afraid to make work. 

Along with her academic titles she is "The Stone Whisperer". This is a true story... but for years I have called her to talk to my litho stone before I print my edition. I actually hold the phone to the stone while she talks to it. 

Melanie goes over the world sharing what she knows with others... so another name I call her is the "Ambassador of Printmaking". She is the main reason I am a printmaker today.

If you're in Santa Fe, New Mexico you can fine her work at the Glenn Green Gallery.
Check out this video of her in action with some students.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K_fCJ80WD0