More press-free printing

Doesn’t press-free sound more positive than press-less, as if I’m happy not to be encumbered with such a useless item? It does give me an opportunity to experiment. After abandoning the walking press I mentioned in the last post, I turned to Gelli prints and then, laden with leaves and flowers from my garden and a new stainless steel rolling pin, to rolling out prints with a lot of pressure.  I also went back into some prints, inking the leaves and flowers and applying right onto the paper.

I placed a few flowers after inking the Gelli plate.  The flowers are removed before printing, leaving an impression in the acrylic paint.

I placed a few flowers after inking the Gelli plate. The flowers are removed before printing, leaving an impression in the acrylic paint.

Abounding flowers sm

Here is the same print with an overlay of directly printed flowers.

Geranium 2 sm

The geranium print I showed in the last post, now over-printed with leaves and flowers directly onto the print. I rolled over the leaves with the rolling pin.

Red flowers sm

Another Gelliprint with over-print. I think this is my favorite.

 

I inked a Styrene plate with block printing ink and placed a Queen Anne's lace directly on top.  I used the rolling pin to print. The process left a disappointing big white blob on the paper, so I applied paint to the flower and reprinted, then added leaves from another type of flower.

I inked a Styrene plate with block printing ink and placed a Queen Anne’s lace directly on top. I used the rolling pin to print. The process left a disappointing big white blob on the paper, so I applied paint to the flower and reprinted, then added leaves from another type of flower.

I then printed the "ghost," or second print, after removing leaves.  They leave a nice pattern on the inked plate.  However, it was very faint, so I reinked the plate with a greener version of the background color, wiped out the area where the flower would appear, and reprinted.  Fairly satisfactory.

I then printed the “ghost,” or second print, after removing leaves. They leave a nice pattern on the inked plate. However, it was very faint, so I reinked the plate with a greener version of the background color, wiped out the area where the flower would appear, and reprinted. Fairly satisfactory.

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Printing without a press, Day 1

During a week at the Ringling College of Art and Design’s summer program at Wildacres retreat in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina learning the rudiments of printmaking, I fell in love with the process.  While there, I had the use of beautiful Takach presses. But now I’m back in my studio, sadly a studio without a printing press. Until I come up with a few thousand dollars (no doubt from selling hundreds of my press-less prints), I’m experimenting with various non-press methods.

My first thought was to try relief printing, or linotype. I’d like to be able to make a good number of prints that I can then finish in different ways–watercolor, new print layers, all sorts of possibilities. I armed myself with linoleum blocks and Speedball inks, cutters, etc.  I did not realize how difficult it is to cut linoleum so this block will likely take me a few months to finish!  My arm and shoulder start to ache pretty quickly.  A couple of tips help–just mask that big open area (sky) at the top.  And heat the linoleum.  I applied a hair-dryer and sure enough, it is much easier.

old barn block sm I have a lot more cutting to do, but I ran a proof just to see how it looks so far:

old barn proof 1

Giving my arm a rest, I turned to the “walking press” idea I’d read about.  I inked a plate with Golden Open Acrylic paint, which doesn’t dry fast, and placed some geranium flowers and leaves as well as a few wildflowers on the plate.  On top I put printmaking paper which had been soaked and  blotted, then put the sandwich into a folded sheet of newsprint and onto a board cushioned with newspaper.  More newspaper on top and then–lots of fun–I walked back and forth on top as heavily as I could. The result, along with some other attempts:

geranium 1 sm

I added watercolor and a direct leaf print to the “walking print” as it really didn’t show up too well.

 

After peeling off the leaves and flower parts, I made a second, or "ghost" print, to which I added some watercolor.

After peeling off the leaves and flower parts, I made a second, or “ghost” print, to which I added some watercolor.

Last week a friend, artist Carol McGraw, visited my studio, where we tried out Gelli printing, a method of monoprinting.  Lots of fun, very messy, allows for multiple layers. I’ll save these for the next post.

Starting an art blog

The first big question was why have an art blog at all.  Isn’t it a bit pretentious to think anyone might be interested in what I have to say about art? Will people laugh and criticize my writing errors or the shallowness of my reflections? I already have a website to show my finished work–isn’t that enough?

I decided to go ahead because I wanted somewhere to organize my thoughts and talk about my experiments and struggles, rather than just show the results, the product of said struggles.  After posting some of my art on Facebook, I felt frustrated by the randomness of who sees the posts, people who are interested and those who are not (but who no doubt feel compelled to click “like” even if they don’t like what they see!), and how scattered the posts are.  Here I can write and keep all my posts together and in chronological order.

The second big question was what to call the blog. Artful blogger came immediately to mind…taken already, of course.  Okay, how about MagnaArta? Nah, too pretentious, and would everyone “get it?”  MangoArta?–getting silly.  Art Reflections, ArtStrings, all taken.  I wanted to get across that I’m just writing about my thoughts while creating art rather than anything deep and universal, something introspective…Artrospective?  Taken!  Finally I thought of adding the s….Bingo.

So here we are, and now the big question is, “What do I write?” (and can I keep this up?).  Stay tuned.