Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Garden babies...

Our newest watermelon.  About 3 inches, with many more popping up nearby. Hummingbirds and monarchs are loving the squash blossoms.

We thought we over watered the fig tree but today it couldn't look better.  It has lost many leaves during the heat of our summer.

Rain barrels for $24 each, they've been recycled from a local soft drink distributor.
About 5:30 am yesterday we installed gutters along the east facing wall of his large studio. The scarey part is over.  I had to climb a double ladder onto the root top of the big studio.  I have a phobia about heights.   
Later that afternoon we made a great find...six 55 gallon water barrels for our new rainwater harvesting project.  We will have collection systems on 4 parts of the house including the studio.  

I like juggling work tasks but the heat is unbearable during the day, with 100-110 degrees F from noon until 4pm.  So all the yard work is done before and after that time.  My goal is to try and finish my studio cleaning this week during the heatwave.

Loose ends...

Old magazine, toy monster and cutout sketch of a judgmental woman.  Still finding strange things that have been stored away for many years.  Plan to add more shelving for storage in my book studio.  Means that I have to get out to the wood shop. 

To view Video of Swoon's installation click here, nice

Monday, June 25, 2012

Figure Drawing session

Thought  I needed a break from cleaning my studios.  Went to an open session at the Drawing Studio.  Due to major roadwork (installation of streetcar tracks downtown) it was a major hassle to get to.  It's been two years since I drawn a model, just nice to get out. Usually they have 15 to 30 people trying to fit in one room with easels and boards. There were only 4 others drawing so nice not to have to compete for setup space.

The melon patch

Combination of cantaloupe and watermelon, shot yesterday

These are the starter plants about 3 weeks ago.
It's been fun to watch this little experiment.  Because we are such novice gardeners we had no idea that the melon patch would take off so well.  Now we're debating to thin it out.  We also planted some flowering plants to try to attract pollinators.  I have never been so excited to see bees.  We can now see small female flowers that are turning into little melons.  Having to thin out the surrounding prickly pear cacti patches that surround this little garden.

Bad prismacolor test

I should mention that this previous prismacolor drawing on the stone didn't work as well as I had hoped.  True confession: I didn't use the brand Prismacolor I used another colored pencil, Lyra Rembrandt.  Big mistake.  Andy said that Prismacolor brand has more wax content and acts as a better resist during the washout with water.  The Lyra pencil lifted up during the washout.

I also remembered two other things I didn't do.  During the first etch with gum Jack Damer patted it dry with a paper towel until the gum payer was quite thin.  I left the gum on to dry without eliminating the excess.  When I did the washout with water several areas of the image disappeared.

I will be graining stones this week and will try this test again following the steps and details more closely. This is the best way for me to learn.  Trial and error.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another beautiful find...

I feel that it was meant for me to go through everything this summer.  I have unearthed some of the most precious things.  This portrait is one that my mother sketched quickly of my sister about 45 years ago.  She was so talented.  In the background is a portrait of my daughter with Issac Stern, a copper lustre pitcher, a book of Robert Burns Poems in the original book jacket and a small cast iron bank that belonged to my Uncle who died at the age of 3 of scarlet fever.  Behind each item is a story to be told.  I need to get into my studio again.  I can see the surface of the press bed again.

Small Discoveries During the Studio Cleaning

It has been about 3 weeks since I started the massive studio cleanings.  My painting studio is looking much better, I can move around now.  Still need to relocate some shelving and furniture but about 80% done.  One of the most wonderful things is that the storage of my framed prints is complete.  I have tried to label and wrap most of the works.  Still a few left to do but now I don't have to worry about damaging or warping the frames.

During my way overdue massive cleaning I found a lifetime of boxes and memorabilia from my past.  Everything from my first pieces of art to my report cards. It's been a real time travel to the past.  In one of them a found a batch of photos that had belonged to my highschool boyfriend.  But one piece that really stood out was a shilouette of his mother that I had in my possession for some reason.  Debating to try to find out where to send it to him so that he can keep it for his children.

Litho with Prismacolor pencil

Recently I had the pleasure of working with Jack Damer, a master printer teaching lithography at the University of Wisconsin.  During my visit he showed me several techniques that I had not tried before.  One was to do a drawing on the stone with prismacolor.  He knew that I liked to draw with the Korn's Copal crayon because of the hardness, control and close similarity to drawing with graphite pencil. I had heard of this "prismacolor on the stone" technique but had never seen it demonstrated. 
So today I tried to replicate what I remembered. I drew an image using a black prismacolor pencil on a small "graining" stone.  After the drawing was finished I brushed the drawing with talc (I used baby powder) to harden the drawn image.   This is because the drawing is more delicate than typical tusche or litho crayon drawings.  After brushing off the excess talc I painted a light coat of gum arabic over the drawing.  Jack said to try to eliminate any small bubbles with the tip of your brush.  I am now waiting for it to dry before I do the next step.  If it works I will post the next few steps on this blog. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Inspiration from my past...

When cleaning my shelves in the studio I came upon these old RAW Magazines from the 80s.  Amazing art, think I'm inspired again to make art.

The melons are picking up momentum...

I love watching the new melons begin to blossom.  We have 4 cantelope at our Community garden.