Friday, March 26, 2010

Drypoint prints with a plastic plate

For today's post I thought I'd take you into my studio to show you what I've been working on lately.

Although I'm a printmaker, I've never really been too fond of pulling an entire edition. It's for this reason that I keep my editions quite small; usually under 12 per image. Besides the wiping of plates, I really find the prepping of intaglio plates to be tedious. I have found various ways to work around my laziness and still be able to print. For example: I use the cut window remnants of my matts for my collographs because they are already bevelled. For my drypoints, I have been known to use tin which is so thin that it doesn't need any bevel at all. My quest to make plate prepping easier continues. One day when I was cleaning around the house I re-looked at some plastic Ikea bin lids and wondered if I could cut some plates out of them. The plastic is quite soft and can easily take the marks of a scribe well. The lids were as thick as my steel plate so I put a 45 degree bevel on the edges with a utility knife. Easy! That's my kind of plate prep.

Below are some photos of the process I used to create a drypoint print with a plastic plate.

This is a plate in progress.  I will finish the print by hand-coloring with watercolor.

I've been really happy with the variety of line and tone I can create with these plates and because I don't create large editions, I'm not concerned with the plate wearing down.

The major drawback to using this softer plastic versus a styrene or metal plate, is that the oil from the ink softens the plate a bit and it becomes hard to wipe the plate clean after a while. To compensate for the fact that I am only able to print three times per plate before having to clean the plate completely, I print 2-3 different plates at the same time. As well, the plastic gives a lot of plate tone which I have been using to my advantage and wiping it much like I would a reductive monotype.

Here are a few pictures of some pieces I have created using the plastic plates. Fun and cheap. You might want to give it a try too. I would love to see what others come up with.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

A Honey Beehive cake for a six yr. old

The time has flown by so fast and I've made another sculpture cakes for one of my daughters. The pick this time was a design from Debbie Brown's book 50 Easy Party Cakes. I thought the design was going to be pretty easy to pull off and it was until I had to drape the enormous and continuous piece of marshmallow fondant onto the cake. I found it a bit tricky to smooth out the fondant without it wrinkling and overlapping. Worried about creating tears, I decided it was best to live with my many imperfections.

Once the cake was covered I saw all the errors in my carving calculations and cursed a couple of times under my breath. It will still taste like cake, right? As always, the kids had a lot of fun creating the final touches like the bees and the flowers. I was pretty happy with how much control I let go of with this cake as I know from previous birthday cakes, the kids will be "helping" no matter what.

So once again, I have a renewed sense of admiration for professional cake decorators. Art in the form of sugar. Here are a couple pictures and links to some cake artists that I have been following. Aren't they impressive? They are my cake inspirations!


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Friday, March 12, 2010


Today's post is about the one-night, fun-for-all show I participated in a couple weeks ago called CARDED!. This year's hosting venue was the Jacana Gallery on Granville St.. 

 I found it to be a little nerve wracking because I'm someone who is kind of shy but I made myself talk to the other artists and hunt out the cards I enjoyed the most. I was only able to stay an hour but by the time I had left most people had traded for their favorites and the gallery was shoulder to shoulder with people. I felt like I got a pretty good response to my trading card and most people had started to dub it as "Robin". Below is a photo of my submission "Superboy".

 If you would like to take a peek at the other 49 participant's images, go here. All in all, I found it to be a really fun show with a great concept. I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for next year's call for submission.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I don't know about you but I'm pretty excited to see the new Alice in Wonderland movie by Tim Burton. It's been a long time coming. I have been fascinated by the story for as long as I can remember and I've worked on various images over the years on the theme. I know I'm not alone in my admiration because I'm seeing "Alice" things everywhere. There are even Alice in Wonderland groups on Flickr. I thought I would put up a mosaic of some pieces that seemed Alice inspired to me. Click on the artist's name to view the rest of their Flickr photo stream.

1. several times changed, 2. if:Leap, 3. Untitled, 4. Back into Wonderland, 5. Untitled, 6. Ego, 7. sweet little Alice, 8. Alice, 9. Alis, 10. Frankie, 11. Mary Blair - Image10, 12. Bellamy and the Birds

And we can't forget about Tom Petty's Alice in Wonderland video. I would always be mesmerized by this. Enjoy.

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