Saturday, September 24, 2011

Silkscreening at home update

For today's post I thought I'd show you some more silkscreen projects I have been working on. As you know, I have been stretching my own screens with old frames and chiffon fabric and using Mod Podge as a screen filler. The drawbacks to this method is that I'm not able to get a super fine mesh and once the Mod Podge is dry it can't be removed from the screen and I have to stretch a new screen for every new image. I have quite a few more silkscreen ideas so I thought I would spend a little money and buy myself the Speedball Silkscreen kit. I figured the mesh would be tighter and I would also get a screen filler that I can remove.

Well.....I haven't been impressed. I'm going to show you a bunch of photos of a current project where I'm trying to use the drawing fluid which is used a resist with the screen filler. The instructions say that the filler may dissolve the drawing fluid if you brush over the same spot more than once. A single swipe with a squeegee is the recommended application. I've been finding the filler so watery and inconsistent that I wish I had just carefully brushed it all on without spending time with the drawing fluid resist. I'm going to need two coats at least. When I used the Mod Podge I only need one coat with some minor touch ups. I will finish applying the filler because I hope to save the frame but so far the Speedball products don't seem worth the extra time.
Drawing fluid in blue and red screen filler. This is the second time applying both because the filler dissolved all the drawing fluid.

Here you can see how thin the filler is. There are holes everywhere.

My screen made with chiffon and Modge Podge. The negative spaces were easily filled.

I've used this screen over and over. I haven't had any of the Mod Podge come off over time.

Below are a couple pictures of a t-shirt design I did with the chiffon fabric and the Mod Podge. In the close-up you can see how the weave of the fabric obscures any pixelation created by the mesh. I'll be printing up a couple t-shirts with this design just in time for Halloween. It's creepy cute, don't ya think?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Going back to school

Now that both the kids are in school full time ( 2 days), I've been busy as a beaver. I would like to say that I've spent it all in the studio but I haven't. I can easily see how the housework and errands can take up the entire day now that I don't have to worry about anyone else being bored with the tasks. I'm at the start of my work week so I will have to wait to get back in the studio again.

On Sunday's though I have started taking a Children's Book Illustration course at Emily Carr University and I'm hoping that the course will give me the confidence and push I need to approach publishers. For years I've said that I'm not ready or skilled enough to submit my work but that's just fear talking. My instructor, Lisa Cinar, graduated from Emily Carr ten years (!) after me which doesn't do much for my fear that I'm too old to pursue this career. Why have I waited so long and let so much time pass? I fear the rejection and the criticism. That I don't have what it takes. You can't fail if you don't try. I also fear that I may not enjoy the process of illustrating a book. Sometimes the fantasy is more enjoyable than the reality. But I really don't know the reality of being a children's book illustrator because I haven't done it. I do know that I have a deep affection for children's illustration and it's a genre I always come back to.
The truth is that I want my art to be in books that are cherished by children and fondly remembered by them when they are adults. I want my art to inspire future artists just like the illustrations that I loved and that spurred my desire to create.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

La Calaca International Print Exchange

In a past post I had shown how I was trying to adapt my studio for silkscreening. I had tried sheer curtains and the embroidery hoop frame technique but I found it wasn't as consistent as I needed. After finally adapting an Ikea RIBA frame and chiffon fabric I was able to create clear silkscreen prints.

A while back I began following printmaker Carlos Barberena and I have been continually impressed with his posts about his printmaking techniques and the courses that he teaches. Early this summer I saw that Carlos put out a call for printmakers to submit to an international print exchange with the theme La Calaca, Day of the Dead. How cool! I thought it would be a great chance to explore silkscreen again as well as give me the chance to use my Wacom tablet to work out the preliminary sketches.

As tempting as it was to go crazy with multiple colored screens and create a sugar skull, I kept my design simple and more in keeping with my own style. Below is my print "Never stop dancing". The paper size was restricted to 9"x12" for an edition of 15. I printed on Stonehenge paper . I adhered a different piece of decorative paper to each print to depict the skeleton's dress. I like how the intricate patterns mimic what you might see on a sugar skull for La Calaca.

If you look closely you're able to see the weave of the screen and while it's not as fine as any professional screen I've used, it has been a very good substitute for the home studio at a MUCH lower cost. I should note that while you see pixelation on paper that it disappears when printing on fabric. Stay tuned for future posts and I'll show you what I mean.

If you're interested in seeing other submissions to the exchange you can view them over here. You never knew skulls could look so cool.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How the Bird on a Wire show went

Last Thursday, on September 1st I was fortunate enough to have my art presented by Bird on a Wire Creations on Main St along with Rachael Ashe.  Store owner, Karen Unger-Strickland and her team, did a fantastic job promoting and organizing this inagural private showing of our artwork. The opening was well attended and our guests were treated to snacks, treats and wine while Jodi Doidge sang a couple sets of music with her guitar. Jodi was a fantastic addition to the night.

Rachael and I each had a table of our featuring our work in the centre of the room. I was really happy with how the work was displayed as the viewers could get up close to the pieces and take in their details. The pieces felt very approachable and accessible in this gift shop setting.
Front window

If you didn't get a chance to attend the opening our pieces will be on display for the remainder of the month. As for next month, you'll get another chance to partake in some music, wine and art again as Bird on the Wire will be having previews every first Thursday of the month. Cheers to art!

Beautiful pieces by Rachael Ashe

A selection of my encaustic work

Jodi Doidge and friend on guitar

The room filling up with viewers