What have I been doing? (22 July 2014)

I have been quiet for quite some time. All is good but this is now what I will call “an adjustment period’. After many years of work I have taken the decision to quit my ‘other’ job. In terms of piece of mind it feels like a great decision, time will tell whether it was also a good decision in other aspects. For now, I am trying to answer those questions that I imagine many artists have: what do I want to do as an artist? why am I making art? where do I want to take my art to? Do I want to be commercially viable or do I want to do the art that truly comes from my heart no matter if it is likely to be sold or not? I imagine the answers will come slowly so I must be patient and let them form and in the meantime keep working on my art.

This saturday is the opening of our Pressnorth Printmakers group exhibition resulting from the 4 workshops we took with Peter Lancanster, G.W.Bot, Trent Walter and Judy Watson. It is a great display of the many different techniques we learned. The second smaller print in the invitation is the lithography I made during Peter Lancaster’s workshop. Great experience, learned lots.

Pressnorth_exhibition

Monoprint Workshop with Trent Walter (29 April 2014)

Last weekend I attended a 3 days workshop with Trent Walter. Trent is a master printmaker and artist based in Melbourne, with a rich history of experience working with other artists and on his own. This workshop is part of a series of 4 workshops with well known artists (Peter Lancaster, G.W.Bot, Trent Walter and Judy Watson) that are coming to Townsville for an artist residency and as part of this they give a workshop. The program has been organised by Pressnorth Printmakers, a North Queensland Printmaking Collective of which I am very proudly part of! and funded by Artslink Queensland, and done in collaboration with Umbrella Studio and Perc Tucker Gallery.
Trent’s workshop was very interesting and inspiring. I am only just learning to produce images that have more than one or two layers, and usually I have worked mostly in black and white so the workshop was just what I needed. This workshop was about using many different techniques to create an image, including image transfer, monoprint, stencil, watercolour, and more if wanted! Such a variety of techniques usually leads to the production of one unique image, that’s why the name monotype or monoprint. At the end we produced two books that will be exhibited as part of the exhibition Dexterity, which will showcase selected prints from these workshops. This small exhibition will run at the same time as two other much larger exhibitions by two printmaker friends I admire, Jo Lankester (Cornerstone) and Donna Foley (Limina: the threshold of experience).
The image below was my best and the one that appears in one of the books. It has image transfer, monoprint and several stencils. Very happy!

Curlew_monoprint

Print for the Bimblebox Nature Reserve Project (19 March 2014)

I am participating in a very inspiring project where many artists are joining forces together to raise their voice against the proposed plans to build a coal mine that will destroy at least half of the Bimblebox nature Refuge. This place is unique in that it has a very high diversity of birds, which undoubtedly be severely affected if the mine goes ahead, in addition to all the other negative environmental consequences. There is a variety of activities, the one I am involved in is making a print of one of the birds that live in the refuge, in my case it is the ‘Black faced cuckoo shrike’. There will be 153 artists making an image of one of the 153 birds found in Bimblebox! You can read more about this project here. They also have a facebook page where you can follow the project. At the end there will be an exhibition with all the artwork, poetry and music… it should be beautiful!black_faced_cuckooshrike
It is a great privilege to be part of this!

Update: Find out more about the Bimblebox Nature Refuge project  here , and about the 153 Bird Project here

Woodcut and Monoprint (30 January 2014)

There is so much I want to learn so I know better what I am doing when I decide to try a piece. Part of this experimenting is combining printmaking techniques. Colour doesn’t come to me naturally, I think, but I am finding that I do want to add some. So I tried using monoprint, stencil and woodcut and was pleasantly surprised! I did two, below is the other one. There are bits I like from each, but I think overall this first one is probably the better one. The thing is that it is all such an experiment that I am sure if I try tomorrow again it will not come easily!!! but that surprise is part of the attraction! Anyway, for the time being is a great feeling!

woodcut_monoprint_2woodcut_monoprint_1

Hopefully I will be back before not too long!

Monoprints (29 September 2013)

Hello again!  I seem to be permanently in an experimenting face, but with little time, so that makes the learning very slow. Looking through my prints I discovered this monoprint that I did in my first year (or second?) of printmaking.Monoprint_women

Monoprints are particularly attractive to me, they combine drawing but take it one step further because you can’t really see how the image is truly developing. This example has a lot of room for improvement, I think what I like best is that the faces came out subtle enough.

This one is much more recent.  monoprint_2Here I am trying to capture the texture of the wood, my perennial challenge. I do like very much the intensity of the colours and don’t know if I can produce a similar effect again. These are oil inks so it is easy to ‘clog’ the wood and end up with very little texture. I am soooooo keen to learn the Japanese woodblock techniques but at the moment have no access :(. I have been following closely a very good printmaker who works with the japanese technique, Laura Boswell, she has a great website, a great studio diary with lots of advice on many topics, and lots of pictures of her beautiful prints.

I am finding out about what I must do to post images from other websites but as soon as I know I will post some images (a bit in a rush right now). I want to post more about others…. Will come back soon!

Loosing up (2 August 2013)

I didn’t think it would happen to me so quickly but yes, other things take over and the blog goes down on the list… I must make an effort (a subtle way of making a promise).
It’s been quiet on the blog but not in life. I basically take almost every free minute from my paid work and family life to do art, so although not writing about it I am quite active in the studio. I am going through an experimental face, I think just trying to find more clearly who I want to be as an artist, how I want to draw, how I want to paint, etc. I’ve gone back to TAFE for another drawing class, which I love and keep learning from and have been using youtube and the internet to find inspiration (almost too much!).
One thing I am learning is that I like ‘loose’, realism but not realistic, and somehow figures give me the most joy, but also animals. Landscapes I can find truly beautiful but somehow I don’t feel I can transcribe the emotion into the paper…. uhmmm. So, wFigure_3atercolour and ink are very attractive to me because just by adding water the control is ‘lost’. I am sure the experts don’t lose control but I definitely do! 🙂 Sometimes it is a total disaster and sometimes is what I am aiming for, so that keeps me going. Here are some examples….face_2 Figure_5 Figure_4 Face_1

Faces in Woodcut (22 May 2013)

I very often show figures in my work and it has been a very interesting and a continuing long process to learn to create them in woodcut. Recently I have been thinking of faces in particular because I am hoping to (one day soon) make an artist book with many of the faces of the people I have portrayed in my woodcut work. What is very interesting is how the way of cutting affects so much the image. I don’t know which style I like more, I just marvel at the different strength of each image and really the different message that can be transmitted depending on the technique. So I guess I need to think about that message to make sure it is what I want to say with that particular image…. uhmm often I just like the texture so much that I like to play around with different styles. The funny thing is that as soon as it crosses my mind that I am finally mastering a technique I have a total failure that takes me back to square one. In a way this surprise is part of the challenge that drives me to try.
There are lots of amazing woodcut artists that have created amazing images that show faces. The German artist Käthe Kollwitz created some beautiful and very strong images; Leonard Baskin, Barry Moser, and many others. Below are some of the faces I have been working on. Three are full prints, and two are sections of bigger prints. I leave it to you to decide what you like best!

face_a face_b face_c face_d face_e

Let’s talk about many things!

Hola! I have been inspired by numerous blogs, to the point that whenever I feel a bit stuck by lack of inspiration or motivation, I only need to spend a little time browsing these blogs to feel inspired again. So, thank you to all those bloggers out there! I feel that by creating my own blog I can give a little back as well as having a place to share my thoughts on art, other artists, things that inspire me and anything else that comes to mind!