Too much working on art… not enough blogging about art. Oh well, thanks for keeping up with my periodical updates about what I’m up to.
Christmas time means more time spent at home which doesn’t equate to lying around relaxing. No it has meant more time to do more carving and printing of which I’ve been trying new things and resurrecting old favourites.
This is a close up of a piece I finished last week. I’d show you the whole print but I don’t want to do that just yet – some things need to be kept secret, at least for a little while. This print (which I’ve titled ‘Balancing Act’) was a large and challenging print for me at a metre squared. From trying to capture fine detail on Marine plywood to creating a mottled and vivid coloured background – which has turned into a series of monoprint styled inkings - what I planned to do and what I ended up doing has changed constantly. I wanted to add fine text to the print too, 3mm lettering to be exact. I tried my letterpress – didn’t work. I tried writing the text on – didn’t work. I tried alphabet stickers – didn’t work. Nothing gave me the effect I wanted. Then I remembered the ancient technology of Letraset. No stationary stores had any anymore. The fellow at Officeworks said he’d not ever heard of the stuff. My outdated technology was proving elusive. Finally at a discount art supplies store I found several packets of what I was looking for. 10 hours and several sessions later and the print now had its text. So far it’s an edition of two, we’ll see if that number increases anytime in 2013.
With the delays in the previous print, I spent a few days getting distracted with this one. When in doubt of what to do next… do another print of my Currawongs! Well, they’re not mine but they do come and sing and sit in the tree over the back deck every day and I’ve grown fond of their visits. Here are some that I have previously done of them. It is a two block print (20 x 30cm) with the branch hand coloured in gouache. This one is not editioned as I pretty much did it for myself so it’s a one-off.
Back in 2011 I did some Mexican themed woodcuts. Recently the original print of the one below left me to go to a new home. Leaving me with the task of re-printing and painting some new prints. I made two and spent a good few hours again battling with the gouache to get the colours I wanted – mint green being a real bugger to nail down. Still I got it and am happy with how they’ve turned out!
And going way, way back. In 2009 I surprised even myself with my attempt at creating a realistic woodcut of two owls. I originally wanted it to be full colour and I even tried once with watercolours (my first attempt at hand-painting a woodcut) but I ruined the paper and it didn’t work out – and so the owls stayed black and white. A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I decided I wanted to try to have a seconds shot at the owls. Now armed with a much better knowledge of paper, gouache and printing techniques, it was a lot less ominous a task and with a four-hour painting session one morning - I completed my two owls just as I had originally intended. Somehow though I think this print is still not finished… only time will tell on that one though.
So that’s how I’ve ended my year. Apart from two small group shows it has been me and my carving tools at the kitchen table. I do think that I now almost have enough to have a solo art show in 2013. Putting on art shows is way harder than making art if you ask me so it still could be months away. I’ll start the wheels in motion though for something in at least Brisbane and Melbourne.
Also, if you’re like me and don’t check the blogs as reguarly as you’d like, you will also find photos, updates and snippets of what I’m doing on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/againstthewoodgrain is where I hide so if you like anything here, you can go like it there as well.
Thanks to everyone who has bought, looked at or gave me feedback on my woodcuts over the last year.