I am a mixed media artist, and so not a printmaker! Having put the time & energy into this large “proof” print, I need to make it a finished piece. There are so many other tools of the trade! So far, a bit of watercolor, soft pastels, and colored pencil… I think the key is shading, especially to “flesh out” the dancer. I am rather liking this now, with the work so far:
The paper, at 22″ x 30″, is slightly smaller than the plate so the edges are cut off. The full print above is a photo; I have only scanned the shaded figure, and that still took multiple scans. Wish I had a professional large scanner, but the cost would be prohibitive.
Here I decided to use my rotary tool engraved steel panel as a printing plate. The piece is experimental; more of a sampler of textures than a finished art piece. But I am sufficiently amused by the results!
At 24 7/8″ by 30 3/8″, this panel/plate is far too big for my 18″ wide press bed, so I hand rubbed this first proof. Also I don’t have paper soaking trays, and my paper was spritzed and put in plastic, but not for long enough. The paper was much too dry, so I spritzed it during the inking in order to get something I could see (no release agent at hand).
I inked the plate “a la poupee”, unfortunately rather unevenly, using a tightly rolled & taped sock as my dauber. Then I wiped rather badly also… It was a case of “inking after drinking” a couple of glasses of wine with dinner!
So the proof print is light, uneven, and speckled! Oh well! At this point, I am not sure if I will work the plate a bit more to try for a decent print. I am not sure how much I will like the result, even with a good print.
Adding color to an older polylitho black ink ghost print… and then going digital! In addition to some digital transformations, I have added a digital variation of a drawn & colored figure for a bit of fun.
“Wooden ships on the water, very free”. Or maybe there is just the one ship, and the one fishing net, there in the top two 3″ x 3″ prints.
I think the double print is quite different. So probably the lower image is not a wooden ship, but a plant; a fern in the ground, with five fronds newly emerging above the surface. And I suppose the upper image is not a fishing net at all, but a sea creature submerged below the surface of the ocean, with delicate tendrils reaching up to find plankton in sunlit layers above it.
OK, despite my own claims sometimes I do have story for my artworks. But generally the stories come after, not before, the making. The images must come first, then the story. If I start out with a story line and a plan, the artwork will likely never be completed, never be satisfying. The joy, the exploration, will probably be absent, and there will be only work and frustration.
The above pieces are all tweaks or revisions or completions of older work. I stash everything, especially old prints that I never saw as finished works. Generally I printed several prints from various plates, and after working into a few to complete them as mixed media pieces, I would tuck away a few still incomplete. It is interesting to see these again, and work on them years later. Sometimes I can compare my newly finished pieces with ones I finished the same year I printed the starting images. Not sure I learn much, but I do have fun!
These magical ghosts are derived from my favorite photograph of my grandparents. Years ago I created a series of linocut prints, using various inking techniques and color combinations. These are new variants: digital art created from one of the old linocut prints.
I modified the oil based ink print, using watercolors to create soft curtains of transparent color, before working on the scanned digital image.
I continued to fuss with the shading etc. on the original, trying to modify the color saturation. My final effort there is shown in the second, lower, row above, along with a digital variant. I prefer the second version of the original, but I liked the digital variant of the earlier version. So I kept working on the digital variants from the final version, to get back a bit more impact and drama.
It is wonderful to transform an unfinished/unsatisfying artwork into a finished piece. I need my work to take me somewhere, if only for a moment; art should magnify, or otherwise transform reality, creating another space for our emotions. And now this piece brings me joy! Now I see again the magic I found in the original photograph that inspired me: the magic I want to put into, and take away from, all my art!