Saturday, January 31, 2009

some things I keep

I just discovered the macro lens on my camera

Friday, January 30, 2009

the finalist

two plates:  both solar plates; first the red one printed as relief, second the black one printed as intaglio, with Chine-colle using a grey hand made chinese paper

watching paint dry

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just off the Press

A long time ago, I spent a lot of time making prints.  My most favorite place to be was at Il Bisonte in Florence, Italy.  I spent most of my junior year in college walking an hour each way through the historic city to get to the studio, which was located in a beautiful old stable on the far side of the Arno.  Each press was located in a horse stall and there was a beautiful open courtyard in the middle of the building where we would rest after lunch.  Life in Italy, in so many ways was  lovely.  Fast forward about twenty years.  OK,  more than that.  I hadn't laid eyes on a press again until this winter.  Being new to Maine, I met a woman who put me in touch with a printmaker who ran studio time down in Damariscotta at the Midcoast Printmakers, and there I revitalized an old love.  Frances Hodsdon is a wonderful teacher, well versed in all kinds of intaglio printing that I didn't even know existed.  One of the newer techniques I learned was a solar plate etching.

What you start with is a drawing or ink painting on a clear surface,  In this case, I used a glass plate.  The plate is set atop the special 'solar plate' and is exposed to a strong lightbulb.  This in effect marks the skin of the plate, which you then wash in warm water.  No acid involved!  As a mother I guess I embrace this toxin free method.  The plate cures under the hot lamp for a few minutes and it is then ready to ink as any regular intaglio plate would be. 

    A close up of the 'etched' plate

Don't you love this part?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shop Talk

I am by nature a slob in my studio.  My brushes get properly washed only after I complete a series.  The floor is usually littered with rags around the painting wall and scraps of paper under my work table.  I like the idea of organizing.  I am the first to purchase office supplies with the best of intentions.  Magazine files for snipped articles and images, little boxes to hold various pastels or inks.  Still, most of the time I survive in my own mess.  But I have to say, this is an invention that I just love!  I got the idea from some home improvement show, I forget which one, of sinking canisters into a table top to hold my brushes.  They were always tipping over in the jars and cans that I had stored them in.  Which made my work surface even more chaotic.

So I bought three metal canisters from an office supply store that had little rims on them, and drilled holes into this table top.  Even better, the table itself was free from my neighbor Mike Rich, who by the way is an encaustic painter and shows his work at the Leighton Gallery in Blue Hill, Maine.  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seeing Red

Right before Christmas I received a gift.  I was invited to participate in a group show at the Aarhus Gallery in Belfast, Maine.  Aarhus is in a beautiful space and I have often thought about approaching them to show my work, so I am thrilled!  The title of the show is RED.  I have been at work in my studio making some new paintings for the show.  Gathering inspiration for something red in the dead of winter has proven to be less of a challenge than I had thought.  I take daily walks along the water with my dog, and come across frozen cherries and crab apples still clinging to their branches, many holly bushes filled with berries, and the occasional bare shrub that leaves a crimson bark to stand out against the winter's snow.  Of course in the house there are baskets of ever present wool and bowls of fruit from afar (clearly strawberries don't adhere to a hundred mile diet).  In the studio the little heater is at work, along with the plumber and the frozen pipes.  I hope to get back in there soon to my awaiting palette.

Its a new day!


Monday, January 19, 2009

It doesn't look like its that cold out

While it is not my intention to comment on the weather in this journal, one does have to pay respect to the -17 degrees read on the thermometer this week.  It wasn't record low for Maine, but it certainly was an all time record low for me.   It may not look that cold out under the clear blue sky, but it is.  And because of that, I was able to witness the beautiful phenomenon of 'sea smoke' which occurs when the temperature of the air is colder than that of the water.  Yesterday the bitter temperatures gave way to snow, and it continued to fall steadily throughout the night with the mercury hovering somewhere in the teens.  Although I spent much of the week warm and indoors, the weather did have a pesky way of infiltrating other aspects of daily life.  Its impacts on this old house and barn-ice dams and frozen pipes truly test the pioneering spirit of this former urban dweller.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A New Year

Every January 1st I like to find myself alone in the studio to set the year with an intention of maintaining my practice.  This year my aim is to record my working process.  This is a little piece on paper I made that day for an author as a thank you for writing a lovely book which I had read earlier in the fall.