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The Reduction Process

I hope you all had a refreshing holiday. Ours has been hot…. pretty hot! one would think that as time goes by we get used to the climate where we live, but it does not feel that way.  The fans are on 3 at night or reluctantly we have been putting the air conditioning on (it is nice to think that we ‘adapt’ but too many bad nights of sleep is a recipe for grumpiness!). However, it is still beautiful, the birds are active, the plants are green from the recent rain and I have been plugging along in the studio, full of plans in my head but also needing to give time to some projects that must be completed soon.

I received a beautiful small print from a dear friend, a linocut from the artist Anne Curtis, who is based in Port Douglas.  She makes linocuts and uses the reduction method. The work is very impressive, even more up close than when you see it in photos. The colours are very bright and there are lots of details. Here is a close up detail of the work I now own.

Anne_curits_print_cropped
Detail of ‘Native Garden Grasstree’ by Anna Curtis

I like the idea of the reduction method, it seems that registration should be easier and one uses less blocks. So I decided to have a try by making  a small woodcut, 15 by 10 cm.

Bandana_step_3_s Bandana_step4 Bandana_step5 Red_yellow_woman

I missed the first two steps in the photos, where I used a light pink/flesh colour and a slightly darker one for the darker value in the face. I can see what went well and what didn’t. It was interesting to add a white final layer over the black background. The white does not really become white, which was the goal, and I think the bandana looks better without the dark surrounding… perhaps more natural?

Still lots to learn. Registration was easier but not perfect (I am just not very good at precise work!) and the order in which to apply colours needs careful thought.  But definitely will keep trying!

Happy New Year 2015! New Website, New Blog

Hola! Feliz Año 2015 with lots of health and happiness! Hoping deeply for a wonderful year for all, to find more peace in the world and more contentment.

I have a new website and I am still in the process of moving things over. I am not very good with computers so this turned out to be a bit (I really mean ‘much’) more difficult than I predicted. I hope the change is for the better! still have lots to learn. You will see that the previous blog posts are in fact from the previous website, I had to ‘copy and paste’ them so  to correct  the dates I included them in the title.  I also need to learn properly about inserting images. You can see that many of my images have this weird black frame around them… not intended. Some don’t but I don’t really do much differently… hopefully this will soon be solved. So in the meantime please excuse the no completely professional  look.

I hope this year I will share more of my process and inspiration. Now that I don’t have ‘another’ job I am supposed to have more time… it hasn’t happen yet  🙂 but I don’t complain, it is so great to be busy doing something one really likes. I love what I get from other artists on the web, so I hope to give a little back.

Humbug_fish_75This is a small etching I created during the Christmas break. It represents the Humbug damselfish. My husband worked with this fish for many years and I always wanted to create an artwork that had a special meaning for him. Next are pitcher plants and ant plants!

Still inspired (12 October 2014)

The exhibition only has one more week to go and it has been a truly great experience. There is nothing like the pressure to meet a deadline to help one push the boundaries of what we know and be braver at expanding. This is what this exhibition did for me, push me to combine techniques, push me to explore more about colour (really difficult for me!) and remind me of how nice it is to work with the theme of nature. I will be forever grateful to the Perc Tucker Gallery for their belief in me and support to see this come through. I have put all the works available in the ‘ printmaking’ Portfolio.

I have since created one more work. We had a nest of a pair of  brown backed honeyeaters in our garden and two little babies were successfully reared :). On this day it was time to practice flying and both little ones had a go. It was fascinating to see, the little ones have still very undeveloped tails so they fly very clumsily. I hope to produce some work of some of those stages, but this one just shows them safe back in the next wanting to be fed.Ready_to_fly

Exhibition! (25 August 2014)

Bird and other creatures_invitation

Today is a big day…. I am going a bit later to the Perc Tucker Gallery to help mount my exhibition on ‘Birds and Other Creatures’, to be displayed in the showcase. It has been a very intense month, working hard to produce some new works, but very satisfying because I have learned a lot. The exhibition was a last minute opportunity so I only had a month to get ready.  There is nothing like pressure to push you to places that may be one wouldn’t go in the tranquility of every day. I feel I have learned much more about working small, using colours and combining woodcut and linocut to complete an image. It is quite interesting to understand better the differences between lino and wood as a relief medium and understand better what it is that attracts me so much to wood. I know I like the work but of course, as with everything, with more time would do a few things differently. I hope people like it! there is also a scary feeling when one is exposed like this to the audience…. hard to avoid that feeling.

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