Back to the print room…
Here we go again.
Etching away at the plate…
First pass of the plate
Vignette ink job
A night sky…
Act 2. Classes have begun and I have long days – Very long days ahead of me on campus. This semester I’ll be tackling more printmaking techniques (specifically monoprint) plus a few other new methods under Toru’s guidance.
Our theme this semester is “Crossing.” Our class is split between half monotype students and half etching students, but for our first intaglio assignment, we all started out together working on copper plates. Etching my first plate reminded me of working on a giant copper penny. I started thinking of those machines that make new tourist impressions on old coins. I just love those! I always wanted to draw the Golden Gate Bridge as though I was a tourist myself because I still do feel that way a lot. I’ve realized recently that it’s been 20 years since I took up residence in the Bay Area. Often I still feel like there’s so much I have yet to discover because there’s always more to see and do. With neighborhoods changing at such a rapid pace, many of my favorite haunts are now gone, but the bridge – She’s still there, as beautiful as ever.
I wanted my overall imagery to feel like an old postcard when printed. Working with the plate was challenging. Learning to burnish out scratches, and adding drypoint technique was hard on my hands. Yet printing an etched plate is flexible in the sense that once the plate is burned with the illustration, it allows the maker to ink the surface in many different ways. Essentially it’s playing with light and shadow and controlling your ink flow by wiping. I was able to try many variations which created a feeling of day to night and night into day. I could ink the waves choppy, or still, and even produce a rounded vignette appearance as though one were looking through a lens. Each and every print was slightly different from the next. It was the perfect introduction before beginning monotype to understand how manipulating the ink on a plate will produce such unique and varied results. And off I go… This should be a very interesting semester.
Santa Rosa Peanuts Museum
Charles Schulz’s Desk
California Masonic Memorial Temple Endomosaic Mural by Emile Norman
A perfect Winter day at the Legion of Honor…
A golden wall of Klimt <3
Portrait of a Lady
Portrait of Ria Munk III
Can I take you home?
Experimental printmaking works by Jean Dubuffet
Veronica de Jesus Illustrations at BAM
Frankenthaler & Carrington <3 by Veronica de Jesus
Walker Evans at SFMOMA
Fisherman’s Shack by Walker Evans
Winter break meant I headed straight for the museums. It’s literally my favorite past time whenever I have any real downtime. Walking, thinking, journaling, sketching and keeping the creative flow going… It was just what I needed to do to catch my breath and recover from end of the year burn out before classes started up again. So many big shows, so little time. It’s been kind of amazing around here lately… There was the incredible Klimt & Rodin show at the Legion of Honor which literally took my breath away. The astounding Walker Evans and Rauschenberg retrospectives at SFMOMA, and the brilliant Veronica De Jesus illustration tribute collection at the Berkeley Art Museum. I even had time to sneak into the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa to see the Peanuts gang again. One of my all-time favorites. I also can’t shake the after-effects of seeing “Loving Vincent” at the movies… The world’s first fully painted feature film with so much to say. That was mind-blowing. As life picks up again, it’s such a bonus to have this special adventure time to reflect on when I’m feeling tired or short on inspiration. I find it more difficult to enjoy this kind of leisure once things get moving again - But one image, a journal entry, or a loose sketch can take me right back to that moment when I’m burning the midnight oil. Certainly one of the very best things about living in the Bay Area is having access to so many beautiful works of art. It’s hard sometimes not to take these masterpieces for granted. Shows go up and shows come down so fast. My advice - Treat yourself to a creative museum date whenever possible. Chances are you won’t regret it.
MY FINAL WOODCUT OF 2017
Carving the block
Inking the block
Pulling the first print
Full Speed Ahead!
New Year’s Day always feels like a giant tidal wave passing over me. I especially felt the effects of it this year because 2017 was so heavy, fast-paced, and just plain exhausting all the time. I think many of us can agree it was difficult to keep our head’s above water because there was so much being thrown at us constantly. The state of the world just seems to be this way now, and it’s learning to deal peacefully and effectively with our day to day stress and anxieties, and not letting them rule and ruin our lives. The end of a year is usually a time of reflection, and consideration of the future. I know I can only speak for myself here, but my reaction this year was to not dwell so much on my past, but to look forward to a new year full of exciting, unpredictable possibilities.
Before the year came to a close, I made a promise to myself to transition my way of thinking and my fears about moving forward with my work. Like most artists, I juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet, and my work must often take a backseat (as time allows.) The truth is - It’s all about priorities. I no longer wish to stress and overthink my projects and make the coming year happen for myself - NOT the other way around, where I walk around feeling like I’m letting the year happen to me, and reacting to it. Otherwise known as the creative pitfall of (getting in my own way.) The moment I truly committed to this new belief system and changed my way of thinking, I felt a lift which grows stronger with every new day. It’s been a powerful, healthy, and necessary shift (and one of the very reasons why I am now able to even write this blog.)
Having these optimistic feelings all poured into carving my last woodcut of 2017. This silly block I call “Full Speed Ahead” was the art for my final print exchange with my classmates, and a personal creative mantra for myself. A reminder of what I’m supposed to do when I start to feel overwhelmed… Put my helmet on, step on the gas, and GO!!! Ideally it means leaving my fears behind, and not overthinking the journey either. Easier said than done, but this print now stays on my inspiration board to remind me of the commitment. The art was completely inspired by my love of old children’s storybook illustrations, and made me chuckle the entire time I was carving it! Being a six color print, it was messy, but I had a blast (and I think my pals who received it enjoyed it too.)
Farewell 2017. Blessings and a happy creative new year ahead for us all to thrive in!