Thursday, December 17, 2015

Drypoint and Carborundum

I'm currently working towards an exhibition in March at Grassland Art Gallery in Tambo with fellow artist Jo Taylor from Barcaldine.  The exhibition is titled "Big Smoke Little Smoke' and explores our personal relationships of where we live in relation to the natural world around us.

I'll be posting snippets of my progress to my blog as I create new works for the exhibition.

In the past week I've been working on a large drypoint for a piece titled 'Call of the Currawong, Brisbane CBD'.  This work is based on a personal experience - I observed a pair of Currawongs living in the Brisbane city area amongst the tall office buildings.  It struck me how very different that landscape is to their natural area in the Great Dividing Range, and I wondered how they had adapted to it.  And why did they choose the CBD as their habitat?

The essence of the work is the feeling of the movement of the birds as they fly between the buildings and their calls echoing off the solid structures, as opposed to the thick lush canopy of the forest.

So in my drypoint I used flowing lines and imagery of currawongs in flight, with carborundum grit to add dimension and tone.

The plate is a cardboard product I hadn't tried before, though I have used homemade plates of sealed mat board.  Its slightly bigger than A3, so quite a job to ink up.

My first few attempts to print onto tissue weren't overly successful but it did print nicely on soaked fabriano.  I plan to cut and collage the finished prints onto boards - this would have been easier with the tissue but I'll sit and think some more about the next step before I proceed.  Such is the nature of art and experimenting - things don't always go to plan and I always need to keep an open mind when on the 'journey' of creating!

Wiping off the ink to reveal the imagery

The inked plate

Finished print (detail)

Finished print (detail)

I took this photo as I cleaned up the plate,
I loved the tones left behind

Friday, December 4, 2015

Collaboration and Exchange

In late October, I attended a workshop at Noosa Regional Gallery, facilitated by artists Susan Bowers and Fiona Dempster in conjuction with their exhibition 'pas de deux'.  Their exhibition featured a series of artists books that they had created in a collaborative partnership.  I traveled up to the gallery to attend their very inspiring artist talk and workshop, making a full day of 'me time'.....a bit of luxury.

The project for the workshop was to 'collaborate' with either Susan or Fiona to make an artist book - they provided some of their own precious artwork plus some blank papers, and we were given permission to use their work in our books.  They also supplied inks, graphite, glue, thread etc for us to play with. Heaven!  I also took along some of my own prints so I could include them if needed.

There wasn't enough time to fully complete my book on the day, so I took my 'work-in-progress'  with me on holidays to Kangaroo Island a couple of weeks ago to continue working on it.

I did some drawing, stitching, and of course, gelli plate printing.  I discovered some wonderful bird netting at a local handware store on Kangaroo Island, bought 90c worth, and had a ball printing with it.  Definitely my new favourite toy!

The book is now finished, many thanks to Susan for allowing me to work with her etchings.  Her blog is here, she creates beautiful, sensitive work.

I very much enjoyed being on the receiving end of a workshop where I could play freely with someone else's materials and work.  It has opened my mind to other possibilities.

The restricted colour pallet was definitely a deviation from my normal choices so it was a challenge for me to keep it muted and earthy.  Hmmmm, I suddenly feel the need for some bright aqua blue and olive green!  I'd better get back to the studio  :-)

Printing using the gelli plate and bird netting

Printing in my 'studio' in our motorhome

Loose drawing to echo Susan's markmaking on her etchings

Some of the book pages - stitching, layering, printing, painting

Susan's work on the left, mine on the right

A piece of Susan's work stitched to mine

I stitched a couple of pieces of Susan's work
with crosses to echo the crosshatching of her etched lines

One of my favourite pages - gelli print with watercolour and pen

This page opens up to Susan's work

I used the gelli plate to echo Susan's lines

The finished book

I added some 'bling' on the coptic binding