Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Steady Drift 2

For some reason, the system wouldn't let me attach the image to the first post, so here it is!

Steady Drift

This is my latest woodcut print, done for another exchange. The theme this time was "Journey." My reference was a photo I took of my husband Steve on his first kayaking trip. He's wearing an enormous life jacket because he sinks like a stone when he tries to swim. This was a point where he had stopped paddling for a moment and was just enjoying the solitude and beauty of Hoit Road Marsh. However, he was still moving, as the ripples signify. I like the idea of a journey continuing, even if we stop our frantic paddling now and then. I started this image as a reduction print, but due to life getting in the way, ran out of time, so did it in one color instead, using a new block. At some point, I'll continue the reduction print and see what happens. 

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Here's my latest woodcut, "Cecilia, Lily of Heaven." It was created for an exchange with the theme of "Canterbury Tales." I picked the second nun's tale, in which an angel gives a crown of lilies to Cecilia and a crown of roses to her mate, Valerian. Cecilia dies a horrible, bloody death in the end, but I decided to go for the less gory part of the story. Tori, my 14-year-old granddaughter, posed for me, wearing a crown I made using fake lilies. Instead of clearing away all the background, I left much of the wood in the area of the hair so that it would print as hairy texture. The image is 8" x 6", printed with oil-based inks on Rives lightweight paper. This version of Rives is easier to print on by hand (which is what I'm doing until I get the press) than the BFK version. 

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Here's the "fix" to yesterday's failed acrylic landscape. I'm posting it to show the method rather than the success (it's still not OK as a painting!). First, I scanned the 6" x 6" painting into Photoshop and printed it out actual size onto heavy paper. Then I painted on clear Colourfix Primer, which has a fine grittiness to it. Once that dried (I left it overnight), I put a couple of layers of pastel over it, turning the ugly brown shed into a tree and adding a shadow in the front where there really should have been one. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm fairly sure that the Colourfix could be painted right over the original acrylic. Pastel over that would probably have even more texture to it. This method could also be used over watercolors (esp failed ones), drawings, pen and ink, etc., just about anything that would take the acrylic based Colourfix. 

Friday, July 4, 2008

Plein Airless

Working in acrylics outdoors proved to be almost impossible. The paint dried way too quickly, even though I was working pretty fast. I did 5 little studies, from 6" x 6" to 6" x 8", in as many hours. As you can see by the above example, I didn't get further than an underpainting. The very next day, I learned that there's a new product on the market as of July 1, Golden Open Acrylics, that promises to remain wet for hours or even days. I'd really like something in-between, paint that would remain open for a couple of hours. It could be worked into wet-in-wet for awhile, then allowed to dry and worked over. I now  have some gel retarder that I'll try with the regular acrylics before investing in a whole new gamut of paint colors. A couple of days after the painting trip to Shaker Village, I scanned that little underpainting into the computer and did a kind of fun experiment that I'll post tomorrow.